Sometimes searching for the perfect bar or a challenging hiking trail can be like searching for a mythological creature.
Unless you’ve already found Yeti.
The new app from the makers of At the Pool aims to help you discover new things and converse with people of similar interests nearby.
Yeti looks a lot like the Tinder dating app with the topics organized into photo cards — except that on Yeti, you run into a lot fewer Myspace-style mirror selfies. Users are presented with related topics based on their location, and just like Tinder, they can swipe left to pass on a topic or swipe right to join in a conversation.
Co-founder Alex Capecelatro tells me the app has been particularly popular among travelers, and I can see why. In the last six months, I’ve lived in three cities. Through all of those moves, I’ve time and again drained my phone battery searching for nearby coffee shops open at 10 p.m. on Yelp or trying to find a nearby convenience store on Google maps.
Although those apps help and are a modern day essential to exploring any new city, I rarely would specifically search for an eclectic bookstore or a cafe with a stand-up comedy show during happy hour online. I would come across them while walking around and exploring.
But it seems Yeti could aid that. While playing around with the app, I found conversations about where to find the coolest view of the new Bay Bridge and where you can find a cafe with great tea, all within a few miles of my apartment. These are things I might check out now, but I never would have thought to seek out before using this app.
Beyond just discovering new places, Yeti gives you a chance to just talk with others around you. Some other topics I swiped right for were a thread about Uber vs. Lyft and the best TV shows on Netflix. Even when not traveling, I could see myself swiping through Yeti when I’m bored.
My only complaint about Yeti is that sometimes the pictures take a bit long to load, even when I’m connected to a pretty strong WiFi signal. That said it’s not a surprise the app today is featured as number one new app in blogs and forums.
Capecelatro tells me he and his team arrived at the idea for Yeti with a lot of trial and error in their last venture, At the Pool. Capecelatro has been interested in how he can connect people with technology, especially in light of reports that show increased use of technology leads to people feeling more isolated and depressed.
At the Pool started as a way for people to make friends and meet people with similar interests using information from Facebook. At the time, Capecelatro called it a “sort of a mashup between Meetup and Match.com.” But the company began to pivot away from that in November when it discarded the option for users to login using Facebook and became mobile-only.
“At the Pool just had too many features,” Capecelatro said. “What we found what really worked the best was content-based [...] when users were talking about things like their favorite restaurants. With Yeti, we said let’s really double down on that one feature.”
The Yeti team got the idea to use the Tinder-like interface from CEO Sean Rad himself. He suggested it to the team, and they ran with it.
“It really forces the user to focus on what they’re doing,” said Yeti’s designer Jason Hsin. “It’s all about the content.”
Capecelatro said by using the swiping system, the forums can organically monitor themselves. If users repeatedly swipe left on a card, that card will stop coming up. If your swipes are similar to another user’s, Yeti will make more of the topics that user joins come up for you.
Yeti is available in the app store now. It’s funded at just under $1 million, including investments from Clearstone Venture Partners, Canyon Creek Capital, David Carter of Amplify and Dennis Phelps of IVP.IMAGE BY Yeti