Facebook, LinkedIn, and other social-media platforms might have made it extremely simple to remain in contact with people with have met, but are not necessarily ideal for cold introductions, especially if you are new to a city and looking for friends. Danish startup Plane might not be able to entirely remove the awkwardness that can come with introducing yourself to strangers, but they are giving it a shot with a platform designed to help you break the ice.
The idea behind Plane is that users can send out semi-anonymous “signals” (like tweets, but which disappear after 24 hours), perhaps suggesting a particular activity. If they receive a response, they can then engage with the person in private conversations and exchange “social cards”, which include personal information and links to the person’s Snapchat and Instagram accounts. The service is available in New York, London, Berlin, and Barcelona to start, but the startup promises that many more cities are on the list for expansion. It is also iOS-exclusive, but they are working on a version for Android.
Plane is completely free, but has already begun to think about monetization, with plans to connect local vendors and suppliers with relevant signals “when the time is right”. However, they are holding off on implementing this plan until they have decided that there is sufficient tangible value for both sides.
Tim Allison, who co-founded Plane and currently works as the company’s CEO, says that he experienced frustration in 2014, when he was working in Switzerland and found few avenues for meeting new people. He didn’t want to use dating apps to find like-minded people and did not consider Facebook Groups an appropriate place to break the ice, so he decided to create his own platform. Plane initially self-funded, but then picked up an undisclosed amount of seed funding in August from Hampus Jakobsson, Noemi Kubiak, and Topp. Although the platform is just now formally launching, they have been running a trial in the Nordics over the past 2 months, with business-consultants and expats testing it.