Kinjoe, a new Vancouver-based startup, today announced the release of its new web and mobile social network available as a free public beta for residents of B.C.
Kinjoe is designed to solve one of the major issues of big-city living, where many people feel alone and anonymous despite being surrounded by millions of people. Vancouver is particularly afflicted by this phenomenon: a 2010 Angus Reid poll revealed that Vancouverites were among the loneliest city-dwellers in Canada, with only 69 per cent feeling well-connected socially.
Unlike Facebook, which only connects people with friends or family, Kinjoe enables people to expand their social network by making new, real-life friends who live within 20 minutes’ walking distance and share the same interests. After connecting online, it’s easy to get together offline to participate in activities that match your interests.
“Ask anyone and they will tell you that Vancouver is a difficult city to make new friends in,” said Emir Aboulhosn, Kinjoe founder and CEO. “Kinjoe takes away the awkwardness and difficulty in finding people who share your interests and live nearby.”
Kaishin Chu, a Yaletown resident and owner of DashOfFood.com, says, “The idea of Kinjoe really interested me because I finally had a tool to help me expand my own social network with real people in my neighbourhood, to help gain back some sense of community that is lacking these days.” Kaishin continued, “I was able to co-organize a game of bocce ball with a fellow neighbourhood resident in a park nearby. I got to meet some great new people and share a fun experience.”
During the pre-launch phase, Kinjoe teamed up with Blenz Coffee in Yaletown to promote the network locally. The partnership resulted in 500 new users from the Yaletown area, and based on the early success, Blenz will now be promoting Kinjoe in its stores throughout B.C. Kinjoe will be rolling out to cities across Canada and the USA later this year.
“Blenz Coffee is proud to support Kinjoe and we’re excited to introduce it to our customers throughout B.C.,” said George Moen, President of Blenz Coffee Co. “Finally, someone is using technology to combat isolation instead of contributing to it.”
Kinjoe features include:
- Browse–able profiles and interests of people who live within 20 minutes of each other.
- A “Me Too!” feature to show interest in an idea or simple stay updated on a discussion.
- A ‘meetup’ feature that allows users to suggest activities that anyone within a 20-minute walk can join.
- Instant polls that allow users to canvass their neighbourhood’s opinion on an issue, place or event.
- A ‘Recommended Friends’ feature that allows people who share similar interests and live close by to find each other.
Kinjoe respects safety and privacy, and never reveals home or email addresses. Users control the information that is displayed to others in their neighbourhood.