Klink. It’s the sound you hear when ice cubes mingle in a glass, easily bumping and colliding with each other. It’s also the name of a new app being developed by a team from Startup Weekend, as a way for people to comfortably interact with each other at social gatherings – kinda like ice cubes.
“It removes the uncertainty of talking to people you don’t know,” said Jake Kohl, who will be presenting the app at 1 Million Cups this Wednesday.
The project spawned out of Fargo’s Startup Weekend in March, where both Muhammed Saho and Amanda Booher pitched similar ideas for icebreaker apps.
“I go to a lot of events in the area and I noticed that I always end up interacting with the same people,” Saho said, noting that other groups seemed to stay in their own cliques as well.
For Booher, moving to Fargo showed her how hard it can be to strike up conversations with people you don’t know.
“It was a lot of effort on our parts to try and engage and meet people in the community,” she said. “And now that I am on the other side of being the new guy in town, I see the importance of engaging individuals who might attend events like Startup Drinks, and not have anyone to talk to.”
Both she and Saho agreed to merge their two ideas, and together with their team – Blaine Booher, Vincent Mammana-Lupo, Kyle Weik, and Jake Kohl – they created Klink, an app that solves the clique-y tendencies at events by gamifying the networking process.
How to Klink
How dost one Klink? The method is simple:
1. You sign in with an e-mail or Facebook.
2. You input a question about yourself and provide three answers, one of them being correct.
3. After that you are free to, as they say, “Get Klinky.” A large colored icon will fill your screen, such as a red heart or a purple power sign. Somewhere in the room, another Klinker has that same icon. You must find each other!
4. Once you find your match, the app will reveal your match’s questions and multiple choice answer.
5. You ask them the question, they give you an answer, which you can then select and verify that you have ‘klink’ed with your match.
6. Keep talking!
Although the Klink team’s presentation earned them Honorable Mention at Startup Weekend, the team wished they could show the judges what happened when they shared their app at the after party. That’s when things really got klinky.
“It started with one or two people, then before we knew it there was a house full of people Klinking with each other,” Kohl said. “The cool thing was seeing people that would Klink up, and then I’d look back later and they were still talking.”
The app was also successfully used at a few events by local club 20/20 Fargo, with similar results; people waving their phones in the air, yelling things like “Whose got a green X?” finding each other, and striking up a conversation, often having never met before.
In the three months since Startup Weekend, the team has continued to move forward with developing Klink, working in their free time outside of their full-time jobs. Recently, they officially launched Klink – under the name “let’s klink” for Android and iOS.
“Download it and be prepared at 1 Million Cups Fargo this Wednesday!” they write.
The format for Klink lends itself to many potential features in the future, according to Klink’s back-end developer Blaine Booher. It currently supports geolocation, to automatically associate the Klink user with a nearby event. In the future, it could also provide real-time analytics for event organizers to see how well their guests interacted using Klink.
A next generation “matching algorithm” could also allow organizers to ensure certain attendees meet others with similar interests, or gain points for speaking with MVPS like keynote speakers, Booher said.
On the less business-y side, Klink could also be used as a party game platform, Booher said. Rather than a personal question, Booher said the team is toying with ideas for real-time mini games.
Some examples, he said, could be “a quick match of pong between the two participants on their mobile devices, trivia questions about the event that both participants must work together to solve, or even something more creative, like gaining clues for a murder mystery type game.”
In any case, the Klink team is certain that their app will continue to grow in popularity. Already they have seen attention coming in from people they don’t even know, and that’s without a single ounce of marketing.
“I think it has the potential to go beyond what we are comprehending right now,” Kohl said. “It’s one of those things like, we really hit on to something here.”
Come be part of the first debut of the Klink Android app (if you don’t have an Android phone it works through the website), at 1 Million Cups Fargo this Wednesday! 9:15 am at the Stage at Island Park. Don’t forget to bring a mug!
Photos courtesy of Klink and Zach Davis Photography.