A group of high school friends, now UC Berkeley engineers, have created an app called Bash to make it easier for friends to organize hangouts, meetups and other events. Launching today on the App Store following a small beta test on the UC Berkeley campus, the idea with Bash is to offer a less cumbersome alternative to using text messages or emails to organize these sorts of activities by allowing users to post event details, invite others, comment and quickly RSVP while also keeping track of who’s attending an event, receive notifications about changes, and more.
Explains Bash co-founder Danish Shaik, the team behind Bash has been working together on various projects since the beginning of high school, including their TechCrunch SF 2013 Hackathon win with Spruce, a dictation service for online reading. Shaik says that as the team moved on to college, they found themselves messaging each other constantly in order to arrange get-togethers, but the process soon became frustrating.
“Rather than ending with a time and a place, those conversations ended with hundreds of unrelated messages and a confused group of friends,” says Shaik. “Messaging wasn’t made for organizing hangouts, so we built a platform that was.”
The app itself works something like a standalone version of Facebook Events, as it allows you to create an event with just a few taps, by filling out things like the event name, location, time, and description. To get started with the service, users sign up with their Facebook account information and then confirm their phone number via text.
For those who had already been invited to events via Bash before installing the app, their feed will automatically populate with their list of upcoming activities. In addition, to cater to its local crowd, Bash is launching today with a “Berkeley” tab aimed at those new students just starting school who want to invite friends to various “welcome week” activities.
Unlike some of its prior competitors, Bash also works with those who don’t have the app installed. In that case, event organizers can invite friends by text message, which will link out to the Bash web version. Here, friends can view the event details and RSVP without downloading the app.
However, for those who have the app on their phone, it’s even easier to respond – you just swipe on an incoming iOS push notification to indicate whether you’re “Not Going” or “Going” to the event in question.
While there have been a number of attempts in the past to make it easier to find or organize hangouts between friends by way of a dedicated mobile app, including apps like Wigo, Ketchuppp, Jigglist, Gather, Weotta, and more, there hasn’t been a breakout hit in this space beyond Facebook Events or perhaps Meetup.com for more public group activities. In fact, Facebook Events has grown so large – it now has 450 million users – that’s it’s said to be next in line to be broken out into its own standalone app, following Facebook’s similar moves to break out Messenger and Groups into their own apps.
That could prove challenging for a smaller startup like Bash, which will need to figure out a competitive advantage. In the future, that could be working to partner with other organizations through its “special activities” tab, like it’s doing now with Berkeley, for example. Or it could ditch the Facebook login requirement in order to offer users an alternative way to organize or join events outside of the large social network – something that could appeal to the college-age demographic which is gravitating toward private mobile messaging apps rather than the bigger, more public social networks like Facebook when it comes to communicating with friends.
Bash was built by Shaik along with Zuhayeer Musa and Jimmy Liu, while they attended school and during the summer, following their participation in UC Berkeley’s Foundry incubator on campus. The app was privately tested with 100 people on the UC Berkeley campus ahead of today’s official launch. The startup is currently bootstrapped and free to download from iTunes. An Android version is planned.