Making new friends in a city with over 8 million people is easy, right?
It’s difficult to make new friends wherever you are, even in New York City. When John Boese, the Founder and CEO of GoFindFriends.com, moved to NYC six years ago he was surprised at how hard it was to make new friends. It seemed like everyone he met either already had a group of close friends or they were more interested in their career than their social life. After joining social sport leagues, hanging out in bars, and attending meetup.com groups, John still struggled to meet people who were genuinely interested in forming new relationships.
And making friends isn’t just a problem for people who are new to an area. In the United States, social circles are increasingly in a state of flux. As people go through their 20’s and 30’s, relationships often fade as friends get married, have kids, or simply get too busy with work. As people reach their 50’s and 60’s, they often lose touch with friends they knew through work or their friends move away when they retire. With an increasingly busy and transient society, lack of close friendships is becoming an epidemic. Research has shown that the average number of close friends people have has been steadily declining over the past three decades.
Because having a group of close friends is essential to maintaining well being and people are struggling to find these close social relationships, John decided to do something about it. He and his friend, Peter DiBari, started a website to make finding friends easier.
GoFindFriends.com helps people find new friends and join fun activities. It works similar to an online dating site, but it’s strictly for platonic relationships. Users start by signing up and answering a few questions about their interests and what they are looking for in new friends. They can then browse through profiles of other members, message people they like, and set up and join fun activities. To help facilitate the process of getting offline and meeting new people in person, everyone on the site has to describe an activity that they’d like to do which others members can request to join, such as going to a museum on the weekend or a happy hour after work.
The site also brings science to the art of friendship. The team developed a proprietary matching algorithm that helps users find the people they’re most likely to get along with. Based on the data from thousands of friendships made on their site, the team determined the key demographic and psychographic elements that lead people to become friends. Users on the site can see how well that match up with other members based on this data.
GoFindFriends launched in late 2014 in New York City. The site grew quickly and was featured in the New York Post and on National Public Radio. In June 2015 they received funding and mentorship from a startup accelerator, 500 Startups, as part of a pre-accelerator program in San Francisco. This program involved meeting with founders of other 500 Startups funded companies and learning everything about building a startup, such as user acquisition, product development, and fundraising.
Now with tens of thousands of monthly active users, GoFindFriends is in the process of raising their next round of funding. The site is currently available to people in their 20’s who live in the New York City metropolitan area. Based on strong interest from people around the US from all different age groups, the site will soon expand to all age ranges and new cities such as Los Angeles and San Francisco.
John Boese is the Founder and CEO. Prior to founding GoFindFriends, John worked at American Express and led the development and launch of the Amex iPhone app in European and Asian markets. He also has led a Digital Innovation team at the ad agency Ogilvy & Mather and worked as a computer engineer at Intel and IBM. John has a degree in Electrical Engineering from The Pennsylvania State University and an MBA from Duke University.