Launching this summer, fethr is a new app developed by a City University graduate to revolutionise how we form friendships and socialise. With the recent pandemic, fethr Friendship App hopes to use an algorithm to fix the difficulties of forming friendships in a modern world.
While completing a Masters in data science at City, Miguel Bravo used his research to cook up a new app for making new friends. His startup, fethr, uses an algorithm to bring together compatible strangers whenever and wherever they fancy – this is truly the app to revolutionise friendship groups. The fethr team are currently working out of City University’s Launch Labs for a post-lockdown launch this summer. We spoke to Miguel about the future of fethr, and the part City University played in its establishment.
Born in Venezuela, Miguel Bravo moved to the UK at the age of five. Fast forward to Miguel’s career, he spent five years in data consulting which allowed him to take a masters in Data Science. At City University, his love for machine learning and solving complicated problems grew. He was particularly interested in matching friends using a single algorithm. His part-time degree ignited a fascination in recommending compatible people with each other and how that process could be streamlined using machine learning.
Last year, during the first national lockdown in the UK, Miguel explains that the idea to make an app was “no accident”. With his previous roommate and now co- founder, they used their unexpected amount of free time throwing around an array of ideas about possible business ventures.
“In the first lockdown, we were both obsessed with entrepreneurship. So, we spent our time reading books and quizzing each other on new potential business ideas”. When they sat down and began to write on a blank piece of paper, their ideas came alight. Both wrote about what they were passionate about, and they found their most common element was making new friends and socialising. Miguel said: “Why is it super easy to book a taxi with Uber and to book somewhere to stay in another country using Airbnb, but people still struggle to meet new friends.” Thus, fethr was born.
‘Algorithm’ is just a fancy word for a series of steps that a computer takes to complete a task. In fethr’s case, an algorithm is formed with a series of steps to match another compatible user. Simply put, the app wants to know what makes individuals tick.
With the recent events of a global pandemic, people have been left feeling isolated as they struggle to socialise with others. Miguel highlighted how an app like fethr has “never been more important, especially after this gruelling pandemic”. He hopes that an app that matches a friendship or a social group together will help people move towards a new normality post-pandemic and reform great social lives.
As a former student himself, Miguel knows first-hand the difficulties of being a university student, especially in London. He wants fethr to be the app that helps London students create friendship groups, accommodating those new to the city and international students. He commented that these are areas of difficulty he learned about from fellow City students. From these past experiences of being a part-time university student, Miguel knows the “vital need to make new friends and social groups and wants fethr to be the app that encourages this”.
Birds of a Feather
Every business needs a name. Miguel and his co-founders wanted a catchy saying that summed up their intentions for the app. They remembered the phrase ‘birds of a feather, flock together’ and instantly ‘fethr’ clicked into place; they want the app to be the reason someone meets their flock.
Turning a Setback into a Comeback
Failures are always the best ingredient for future success.
Throughout the process of creating fethr, Miguel faced head-to-head with a lack of self-confidence and belief in himself. This made it harder to make quick and easy decisions. Ultimately, he needed to begin to trust his gut in order to move forward with the app’s production. Facing these issues, he wants anyone thinking of diving into the world of entrepreneurship to “trust the process at each stage”.
Where does Miguel see this going?
Readying for its launch in the summer, Miguel has his sights set on fethr reaching the same level as Uber and Airbnb. He wants people to see his app as a daily necessity, making a positive impact on how we socialise in a post-pandemic world.