Approaching a stranger in a crowded bar has become about as out-dated as landlines and fax machines. In the age of dating apps, you’re more likely to steal a few glances before heading home and reaching for your phone to start swiping left and right.
Adelaide software engineer Rogelio Galdamaz noticed this nonsensical pattern and decided to do something about it. “I’m always coding, I’m always going out, so I kind of blended my two passions,” he tells Broadsheet.
“I’m 40 this year so my friends and I come from a time before the boom of these apps. I’ve been married for 10 years, so I’ve been out of the game for a long time. But it’s interesting to hear friends’ stories of what dating is like now.
“What’s happening with a lot of these dating apps now is everyone’s kind of secluded in their own home and their own spaces … we used to meet people just by chatting. And then you could tell straight away whether you connect or not. Over a beer we thought, what if we could take it back to how we used to meet people and get everyone out again?”
Enter Clink: a “shortcut” to meeting IRL, as Galdamaz describes it. He says there’s “a lot of time and effort that’s wasted” on apps like Tinder and Bumble. “People paint a picture of themselves online and more likely than not, it’s not a true picture,” says Galdamaz. “And you’re not going to know that unless you have a conversation with them.”
The app uses geolocation to track the closest venues to you. Select a venue, tap the “carousel” button and the app brings up other users in that venue or within the vicinity. Then you can send them a “compliment” or an “invite” to meet up and grab a drink. “The idea is you can’t sit at home and see who’s there – we want people to get out,” says Galdamaz.
There’s a small blurb about each venue, directions on how to get there, and access to Uber within the app.
The list of curated venues includes NOLA, Cry Baby, Pink Moon Saloon, Maybe Mae, Bibliotheca, La Buvette, 2KW and more. By this weekend there’ll be more than 100 venues listed – just in time for Fringe.
So why not simply walk up to someone without the help of an app? Galdamaz calls Clink an “an ice-breaker”. “We felt we just needed that trigger. Because people are concerned these days about walking up to someone.”
He also wants to integrate menus into the app, so you can order drinks from your phone. “If you just want to use it as an ordering app and not bother with the dating element that’s built into it, that’s fine.” It might contradict the philosophy of speaking to people face-to-face, but it’s all intended to make life easier.
“There are two elements to it; we’re looking at it more from a venue perspective. We added the social element because they go hand-in-hand.”
The ordering function will roll out in the next six to nine months. Galdamaz also wants to expand the app to enable people to book winery tours and tastings.
Clink is available on iOS. An Android version will soon follow.