Miami Tech & Startup News

In a sea of contacts, FriendApp helps users focus and find their tribe

In a sea of contacts, FriendApp helps users focus and find their tribe

By Riley Kaminer

When life gets busy, friendships often take a back seat to family and work obligations. But research suggests that friendships can help us find purpose and meaning, stay healthy, and live longer. The specific type of intimacy, support, and equality we derive from friendships’ emotional bond is unique.

Chuck Walter realized the value of friendships firsthand at the onset of the pandemic. “I had recently become single, moved to Brickell, and started dating again,” he told Refresh Miami. “But something just didn’t feel right.” That’s when he found a book called Single On Purpose.

“The book had a very simple concept: focus on finding your tribe and doing things that you enjoy.” That message resonated with Walter. “I started realizing that while I knew a lot of people in Miami, I didn’t really know who I’d consider my tribe: the kind of people that I could just send a message and say, ‘Let’s go grab lunch or dinner.’”

Equally, Walter noticed that he was spending an increasing amount of time after work on social media. “My default action would be to just open up your Facebook or Twitter and start liking or commenting on posts, but I wasn’t actually building deeper connections with people.”

Walter decided to refocus on making in-person connections. But that required some digital communication, of course. Text messages became the main medium of communication, yet keeping all those contacts organized in his phone proved difficult.

So Walter – who had been a product manager for Tigo and Univision, where he helped launch the media company’s first website – began to devise a technical solution. That initially came in the form of a spreadsheet, which Walter said helped him focus on the people with whom he actually wanted to nurture a relationship.

Fast forward to early 2021, and Walter decided to build FriendApp: an app version of this tool in an attempt to help others build more meaningful friendships. In July 2021, Walter left Tigo to work full time on this project, which has been bootstrapped up to now. Currently the team consists of Walter, one full-time dev, a part-time dev, and a part-time designer.

FriendApp enables users to organize their friends by where they live, prioritize certain friends, and group friends by mutual interest. Once users import their contacts, users can ask FriendApp to check for new contacts that have been added to their phone. That is helpful, for example, to remind users who they met at a recent conference. The app also has a ‘contact of the day’ feature, which prompts users to reach out to a person in their digital rolodex. 

“Ultimately, we want to build features that take us towards the future vision,” said Walter. “To help people in deciding who to check-in with, and making the most of their free time with others.”

Walter is highly active in Miami’s tech community, having worked at Rokk3r Labs as their Director of Growth. He organizes the Brickell Tech Tuesday happy hour on the last Tuesday of each month, which has a mailing list of over 1,000 local tech enthusiasts. Walter is passionate about this meetup since it provides an opportunity for tech people to meet each other in an ecosystem that he said can feel a bit fragmented.

“There’s a lot going on” in Miami tech, he said. “It’s just a question of how we can see exactly what’s going on, and what it means for job opportunities.” 

Download FriendApp for iPhone for free here.


Riley Kaminer