Moving to a new city is a unique feeling. I feel intimidated and excited at the same time. We have to move to different cities for reasons like education, employment, business, marriage, or sometimes just for wanderlust. I have always sought a way to easily settle down in new cities. Something that can introduce me to the local culture, food, and places of interest. Some way to build connections, to keep continuing my old interests, and maybe even pursue new ones :) Of course, it's not impossible to do all this, but it sure is hard and time-consuming. When I was in some cities for short internships or work trips, it didn't even feel worth the effort to do all of this by myself.
Having lived in several cities in India, I asked myself which city I knew well and this little exercise made me realise that I didn’t consider myself to know any city that well. My fictitious highest score was probably 8 out of 10 for my home city. Even in my home city, it's a bit of work to be updated about new things and figure out where to go out and socialise.
I remember having this conversation one day with my friend. We realised that there are dating apps, and apps to socialise but there isn’t anything specific that enables exploration of cities and their typical culture (food, lifestyle, collective interests, etc). We also realised that such explorations are better shared, so it'd be nice to have company. An idea sparked in our minds, we both have had a decent experience with hyperlocal businesses in our previous stints, and people were already zoom-sick post-COVID, so we couldn't stop ourselves from giving it a go. After some consideration, we decided to test a couple of hypotheses:
- People wouldn’t mind socialising with like-minded people
- People would love to have options to go out based on their interests
We started with a Reddit post and signed up people in Bangalore for this pilot. The response was interesting. We put our initial efforts towards grouping people based on their interests and demographics (I remember writing a sophisticated matching algorithm), but after some effort, we realised that people don't just want to connect online, they also want to pursue their interests in the real world.
Our efforts then were directed at providing useful and quality information on places Stych members (we call signed-up Stych users as Stych members) could visit with like-minded people. We came up with things to do every week and members started choosing from our list. And with this, we were able to create groups of like-minded people as well. A lot of the members who went on group activities were the ones new to the city.
We had no product till this stage, just a discord server, a landing page, and a form to collect sign-up info. We didn't do any marketing, there was just one initial Reddit post and some word of mouth by existing Stych members. Buoyed by the success, we decided to work on a product that allows people to discover places to go out. It took us longer than expected to build it, but, we are live in Bangalore now and our MVP allows you to explore Bangalore based on your interests! You can create a collection of your favourite places, and share them with friends & family. And optionally, you could choose to go out with other Stych members. To enable informed decision-making and a pleasant outing, we are focusing our efforts to make the information as up-to-date as possible.
Bangalore has been kind to us and we would like to invite you to try our web app @ https://stych.social