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activitypal1Some say that social media is actually making us less social as we spend more time scrolling through Facebook and Twitter feeds on the Internet, rather than physically hanging out with one another in the real world.

Now a new startup wants to change that — with the help of, ironically, social media.

ActivityPal recently launched its mobile app that uses social networks to help people find likeminded individuals who enjoy doing the same real world activities.

“It’s a bridge between your virtual social network and the real world,” co-founder and CEO Ike Singh told GeekWire.

Singh and Indiabulls Group Chairman Sameer Gehlaut, who has poured in $5 million to fund ActivityPal, came up with the idea for the startup over a dinner in London last year.

“We are very social people and have a lot of friends and acquaintances, but there are so many times when we want to do a particular activity — check out a new movie, play golf, go running, etc. — and can’t seem to find or think of the right person to do it with,” explained Singh, a former Microsoft manager. “So, this concept was an answer to solve this challenge.”

ActivityPal CEO Ike Singh.
ActivityPal CEO Ike Singh.

The idea is to quickly gain access to thousands of potential hangout buddies. ActivityPal uses your phone contact list as the network, and as you invite friends to the app, the people in their contact list also become part of your network.

For example: Say you have 300 contacts on your phone, and 100 join ActivityPal. Then, say, each one of your ActivityPal friends has 100 of their contacts join the app. Suddenly, you’ll be connected to 10,000 people — a fraction of whom likely share common interests like sports, dining or travel.

Similar to any other social network, ActivityPal lets you message individual users and post updates to a social feed. By tapping on a category like concert or fitness, you can see who also has the same interests.

I just spent a few minutes playing with the app. It reminds me of Tinder with a few more bells and whistles, but without the dating aspect — though it could certainly turn into that depending on how successful a given hangout session goes.

Speaking of Tinder, ActivityPal certainly faces tough competition from existing social networking apps that help people meet each other. But Singh, who previously founded a Seattle-based ed-tech startup called Social27, said that his app combines the best features of apps like Twitter, Facebook and WhatsApp into one service designed to set up in-person meetings.

“Think of ActivityPal as the perfect fusion of the best features of those apps, but focused on planning real world activities with people you know and their immediate friends,” he said. “It’s a perfect circle of trust.”

ActivityPal is headquartered in Seattle, but has offices in San Francisco and London with 35 employees total worldwide.

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