There has been a lot of discussion across the tech space over the last few months about applications in the market that aim to connect people, not for romantic interests but rather platonic friendships based on like-mindedness. Opinion is divided on the value proposition for these types of ‘interest-based’ connector platforms, and rightly so – many of those launched in the last two years have failed to make it past a six month lifespan.
Epic Catch is a new platform that allows users to share an experience with someone new. It was inspired by founder Meray Azar’s own personal experiences of feeling frustrated that a shift had occurred within her friendship network where she was wanting to take part in certain activities or tasks but her friends did not or could not.
“I was in a situation where I had the funds to do things but my friends had moved on and started families,” says Azar. “‘I know it sounds really basic but I came to a point where I was like, I’ve got to start finding new friends. The issue was there is just really nothing out there other than going to a meet up group or using dating apps to try and find new likeminded people, and so I thought, wouldn’t it be great if you could just push a button, choose what you want to do, and then there’s a whole list of people that want to go with you.”
When users sign up, they are taken to a landing page where they list the types of activities they are interested in, and then the platform begins to match the user with other members on the platform. For example, if you as a user were really into horse riding, you would be matched with other members that also share that passion; you can then open a dialogue with them and organise a time to meet up and do that activity together, or have an ‘epic day out’.
“What’s unique about Epic Catch is that we’re all about experience sharing,” says Azar. “Some users are very specific. They don’t want to deviate from a specific activity and they’re like, I want to find someone that can go standup paddle boarding with. We offer them a place to do that without any compromise.”
Epic Catch makes its money by also selling the experience that users are wanting to partake in and taking a commission. Right now there are four different genres of activities live on the platform: Outdoor Activities, How-to Classes, Theatre Shows and Other, which allows users to specify an activity that is not yet active.
The startup was part of the NRMA Jumpstart Program this year, run by Slingshot. Over 300 people applied to be part of the accelerator but only six were accepted.
“I loved that the program has the backing of NRMA, that aspect really resonated with me,” says Azar. “I come from a strong corporate background, and my expectation was that the program would be very structured, orderly and process-driven, which is very important when you are in an accelerator program that you have that kind of guidance. That’s what made it so attractive for me personally to apply. I haven’t been disappointed at all. The support that I received, the input that I got, and the people I got to work with are really hard to access usually. That’s quite special in itself.”
Right now a seed round is on the cards and being explored by Azar; she already closed a successful crowdfunding round in the past on Pozible to begin the build for the platform. It is likely that Epic Catch will be aiming for funds in the realm of between $200,000 to $300,000 for this.
Over the next 12 months the goal for Epic Catch is to grow to 40,000 users Australia-wide and begin to build a brand name for itself.
“I think it’s really time for a change and the whole concept of experience sharing in 12 months time should be a very normal thing in our lives,” says Azar. “The goal is for Epic Catch to play a pivotal role in shaping that future.”