Imagine yourself on a Sunday night. After a weekend of fun, all you want to do is unwind to a nice TV show or movie. You fire up your streaming platform of choice and begin to browse. But after just a few minutes, you are overcome by decision fatigue. By the time you make a decision, it’s bedtime.
Danish entrepreneurs Markus Straarup and Morten Schroeder are tackling this so-called “Sunday night problem” head on with their new startup, Friendspire, based in Miami.
Friendspire is an app that lets users create a profile detailing their favorite movies, TV shows, books, podcasts, and food & drink spots. The idea is that users share their profiles with their friends, making it easier to share recommendations.
“We thought we could create this really cool community where people would love to come and share things that they’re super passionate about,” Straarup told Refresh Miami. That user experience stands in stark contrast to finding a movie on IMDB or a restaurant on Yelp, where reviewers are random people and your preferences are not taken into consideration.
“The friend aspect is really big,” said Straarup, noting that some of the best recommendations he has received were through conversations with friends who know what you do and do not like. “We don’t want to replace those conversations; we want to foster them,” he asserted. In that sense, Friendspire augments the natural way friends make recommendations to each other – with the added benefit of this information being recorded and accessible when you need it.
Straarup and Schroeder (pictured above) are longtime friends and were college roommates. Their entrepreneurial journey began when they both ended up in the US for professional reasons. Straarup lived in Princeton, New Jersey and was working at global pharmaceutical firm Novo Nordisk. Schroeder was at BCG in Chicago.
The duo started building Friendspire in mid 2019, while both stayed in their jobs and travelled back and forth between Chicago and Princeton to work on product development sprints. In late 2019, they began working on the project full-time. That’s when they decided to move to Miami, taking advantage of the growing tech scene, affordable rents (compared to NYC or Silicon Valley), and cultural diversity.
Initially, the app revolved around a social media-style feed. However, the team came to realize that the most important aspect of Friendspire is its usefulness as a repository of content. “We did a little bit of a pivot in how the app worked and made it less like social media and more like a social tool,” Straarup reflected.
As of writing, Friendspire has 120,000 users who have collectively made 1.5 million reviews. While the startup has a global user base, Friendspire has managed to gain the most traction in the US, UK, and Denmark. Straarup said that their typical user is in their late 20s to mid 40s and is “passionate about engaging with content.”
Those figures have attracted the attention of investors. In May, the startup secured a round of bridge financing to the tune of $580k – or 15% more than their original target of $500k. Straarup signalled that the company plans to raise a Series A round in the first half of 2022. The company has not yet monetized the platform, but they are looking into different revenue options, including affiliate links and advertising.
Readers can try out Friendspire for free by signing up on their website.
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