Have you ever lived in an apartment building or community? I have, and I’m sure if you’re like me than you probably know maybe one or two neighbors. Perhaps you recognize a few faces at the pool, the gym or on community day, but besides that you don’t know who lives next to you, above you or under you. Well Minneapolis startup CribFrog is hoping to change that.
Right now they are beta testing under closed beta, but when they debut to the public it will be in the form of closed social networks based on apartment and other housing communities. It will be a great way for neighbors to get to know each other.
For some reason people don’t talk to each other theses days without a social networking ice breaker. I’ve actually met about 15 people from my local community just be using the “near by” tab on Google+. A few have been following me on Twitter for years.
We got a chance to interview CribFrog’s founder Alex Reilly. While some may feel that face to face communication is best, and it is, CribFrog will facilitate face to face meet ups, outings and new friendships in ways people haven’t seen in the past. Check out the interview, below the break.
Briefly tell us what is CribFrog?
One Liner: CriFrog is a private social network for neighbors.
CribFrog is a private social network for neighbors for people who live in multi-family buildings. In our beta form we will be exclusively user driven allowing the tenants to create a community for their building and promote it within. In a future release we will allow property managers to take ownership of their building to leverage a set of friction free communication tools for better tenant relations.
Who are the founders and what are their backgrounds?
I am the only founder. I co-founded a company back in college called A & D Lakeside Services. A & D is a dock company; we put docks in and took them out. I was involved for about 4 years. My partner is still running the business today and it continues to grow. For the past 3 years I’ve been a part time consultant for the Small Business Development Center in Central MN where I help clients leverage technology to add value to their businesses. I also worked for ING Direct for 2 years where I was primarily a VMware admin.
Tell us what you mean by getting to know your neighbors? Does CribFrog solve the problem of living upstairs with someone for ten years and never knowing their name?
I’ve lived in 8 different homes since 2005, 7 of these homes have been apartment buildings. Each time I would move it was like starting over. I didn’t know anyone in my hyper local community. I had to re-learn where the good happy hour bars were, I had to create a whole new routine. Basically I was sick of being a stranger in my own neighborhood so I decided to create CribFrog to solve this problem.
CribFrog allows users to see a simple profile with about me info their neighbors so that they can get to know who that person they walk by in the parking lot every day is. They also can post content in a shared feed, schedule events, direct message their neighbors, and even urgently reach out to them via text messaging for safety concerns or to borrow some sugar. CribFrog provides built in notification features that bring CribFrog activity to your phone and email inbox so that you don’t have to constantly be checking another social network for updates.
What’s your target market? Is CribFrog going to be available globally?
Our target market includes middle to upper income apartment and condo buildings.
What inspired CribFrog?
Since 2005 I’ve lived in 7 different apartments. Each time I move it’s a new challenge getting to know my way around the area. I am building CribFrog to solve that problem.
Are you bootstrapping it?
We participated in the Project Skyway seed accelerator. Project Skyway (http://projectskyway) provided seed money, office space at CoCo Minneapolis (http://cocomsp.com), developers, connections to mentors, access to investors, and an education in starting tech companies. We have not raised any other money at this point.
What are your plans for monetization?
We plan to charge property managers a subscription fee to use CribFrog.
Tell us one lesson you learned while launching CribFrog
It takes twice as long and three times as much money to launch a product.
Where do you see CribFrog in three years?
I see CribFrog being the standard for communication within apartment and condo communities.
Do you live in a community that could benefit from CribFrog, Sign up here for their Launch Rock here
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