If you kind of liked the idea behind viral sensation Bang With Friends, the controversial Facebook app that lets you privately nominate friends you want to hook up with, but balked at the idea of using an app that’s all about the sex, then you might find newly launched Trintme to have some appeal. The name, a combo of “true intentions,” is not as clever, sadly – seriously, people, stop making up silly fake verbs! – but the app is similar in spirit. And a little classier, too.
Like Bang With Friends, the app works on top of Facebook, allowing users to privately indicate their interest in their Facebook friends or friends of friends using one or more simple icons that express how they feel. These include things from the more platonic “you’re cool” and the casual “let’s hang out” all the way up to the player-baiting “hook-up” and the seriously hopeful “romance.” The company worked with its advisors, Stanford Sociology professor Dr. Daniel McFarland and relationship expert Dr. Karen Ruskin, on the app and how to properly translate people’s feelings into these clickable emoticons.
Your true intentions are never revealed to others on your network, of course, or embarrassingly posted to your Facebook Timeline. Instead, everything is kept private until there’s a match. Then, both users are alerted via email and can proceed further if they so choose. After 30 days, your “trints,” as these digitally expressed feelings are called, are discarded so you can start over again.
Based in Mountain View, founder VS Joshi said he had the idea after catching up with a woman he knew from his past asked him why he had never asked her out when they were in college. “I thought of asking her out a hundred times,” he says. “But I didn’t take the next step because I didn’t want to spoil another good relationship.”
He candidly explains that his experiences with women didn’t typically go well back in those days. “When I took my next step, it was always a disaster. That’s okay, you get rejected. But my relationship with these girls was never the same after. There was always this awkwardness,” he says.
Feeling awkward while navigating the messiness that comes with living a real life? That sounds like a good app idea.
Joshi began working on Trintme about 18 months ago. During private testing, it seems there are quite a few people out there who can relate to his experiences – for example, a test in April saw 1,420 students register over 2,500 intentions on the site, and produced 301 matches. But here’s the promising metric: of that original user base, 60 percent returned the following month to the site to try, try again.
Right now, the idea is to see if the app can go big, not worry about the revenue. (Classic). But if things work out, there’s room for monetization options like charging users to see matches, working with partners on offers for date night, automatically resetting intentions monthly for a small fee, and more. None of these ideas are set in stone, however, and currently the app is free to use here.
Trintme is not the only app to run off with the Bang With Friends concept in recent weeks. UK-based Would Love 2 just launched a similar product. But Would Love 2 is an iOS app, while Trintme is just a website for now.
The company is basically bootstrapped, having won a couple of startup competitions following its participation in the Babson College Venture accelerator program. There’s just Joshi, two engineers and a designer involved.
Bang With Friends went viral because…well, it’s hilarious. It’s also easily understood. But there’s a chance that it wasn’t just the joke that caught on with people – it may have also tapped into users’ dormant desire for a more dating-focused layer to Facebook. If that’s the case, then there’s potential for a new breed of apps to carve out a niche in the online dating market – a market that doesn’t always work. I’m not sure that one with a name like “Trintme” will catch on, but stranger things have happened.