Or, on the flip side, you’re the person on the street, and you see that car drive by. That car’s driver just happens to be a fairly good-looking person, too.
Or, if you were the driver, you kept driving, hoping that by some magical happenstance you might someday see that same bystander on the side of the road staring at you again. Then all of the stars would align and you’d fall into each others’ arms and live happily ever after.
Marcus Ackerley, though a thoroughly happy and long-time married man, came up with a solution to each of these problems. A Brit who happens to drive a fairly nice car, Marcus got a call one day.
“Were you out driving today?” his car dealership asked. And he had been. The seed was planted.
Fast forward four years and Marc’s created PlateWave, an app that helps people find and connect to each other using registration (or license) plates. Savvy, eh?
His first aha moment came when he ran a little math through his head, though.
“What are the chances of someone knowing someone at the dealership I bought my car at? Now what are the chances of someone knowing someone at every one of the hundreds of dealers across the country? What kind of chances exist that I’m driving in my own town and not traveling across the country at the time when they see me? Altogether, they’re virtually zero.”
“What we’re talking about here is visual social discovery,” Ackerley said, “You see something or someone and you’re interested to the extent that you’d like to make some kind of comment. And if it’s easy enough for you to send them a message…it’s a whole new, easy way of contacting people.”
And that it is. It kind of reminds me of a Tinder for cars, actually.
His second aha moment came when he met his technical partners. “There is a way of doing it. It’s just a really, really big project,” the tech side of the project, Sean Wilson and James Black of Underground Creative, a UK-based web development firm, said. And though it’s been roughly four or so years in the making, they’ve done it.
Tyler Sondag is a startup connoisseur with a hand in anything and everything you could imagine. Hailing from the ever-developing Northwest Mississippi, an alum of Saint Louis University and currently a transplant to St. Louis, Missouri, one of his main missions in life is to get and keep young people engaged in the entrepreneurial ecosystem. Follow him on Twitter: @MrSondag.