If you’ve ever inwardly fumed over the sheer volume of texts it takes to arrange one night out or berated yourself for letting months roll by before catching up with one particular friend, you’ll be relieved to hear that help is at hand. Or rather, in hand. With your phone, to be precise.
Amigo, co-founded by friends Eliza Nguyen and Ashley Granata, is an app attempting to tackle the present-day affliction of finding an opportune window to hang out with our friends In Actual Real Life after repeatedly trying (and failing) to catch up with one another.
“I had been working on a project to quiet my phone down when planning nights out with my friends,” says Eliza, who was looking for a new venture after Soundtracking, the music app she previously launched, had been acquired. “It was taking 50 texts to get five people together for one night and I thought ‘there has got to be a better way’.”
It was around this time that Ashley moved to San Francisco, where Eliza was already based, and the pair began making plans to get together for drinks. “It took us three months of back and forth – ‘How about this day in three weeks?’ ‘How about this Thursday next month?” We’re both busy young women with careers and boyfriends and families but, I mean, it was ridiculous,” laments Eliza.
However, the arduous process paved the way for the idea of Amigo, which essentially serves as a social secretary for you and your friends. Coming up with the concept, says Eliza, was the easy part. “I called a hacker friend to see if he was up for helping out and he built our first prototype,” she explains. “I used that and raised a small friends and family round to hire a small team and get going and here we are.”
Eliza and Ashley are now focused on improving the product to make it easier to use. Currently, you input 10-15 friends that you like to see regularly upon downloading the app. After picking an event (Amigo can provide some inspo, should you need it), date and time, you can invite one or more of your friends from your list. Instead of 25 emails back and forth, they will receive one text message and can RSVP with one click. Simple. What’s more, you also have the option to set reminders to set up events if you’re prone to letting long stretches of time pass between hangouts.
“It’s up to everyone individually to determine how often they want and need see their friends and family, their support system,” says Eliza, who notes that spending time with friends and family triggers our body’s release of the happy hormone dopamine. “Our goal and number one job is to make sure you don’t have to sacrifice your support system to whatever is getting in the way.”