Pingwheel is a free platform that helps users make local friends with common interests. They instantly highlight your shared interests with anyone, in any city. After you set up a profile, Pingwheel uses your information to search and rank local users based on common interests. Finally,they give users the tools to coordinate plans and hang out.
Their largest competitor is Meetup, a platform that facilitates local meetings based on a common interest. While Meetup is very successful, Meetups focus on singular interests and may be daunting for introverted users to join. About.me is a great resource for creating a public profile but it does not do a good job contextualizing strangers or connecting users with shared interests. Finally, Couchsurfing is a great resource that helps users meet local travelers who need a place to crash; however, the UI does not help users differentiate between the multitude of users in every city. Whereas Pingwheel is unique in two ways: they function as search engine by finding locals with common interests (like college alumni, fraternity brothers and ballet enthusiasts), and they personalize interactions by instantly highlighting and ranking users by common interests.
The company is headed by Patrick Arenson (CEO and Founder) & Alejandro Perez (Technical Lead and Co-Founder). Patrick is responsible for the company’s vision, strategy and daily operations. Prior to founding Pingwheel, Patrick worked at Grooveshark where he oversaw their startup incubator, as well as The Idea Center at Miami Dade College. He has authored three books and holds a MS in Entrepreneurship from the University of Florida.Alejandro is the technical tour de force behind Pingwheel, where he builds simple and addictive products injected with fun. Evolving crazy ideas into simple features is just another day in the life for Alejandro. Born in Havana, Cuba, he is Pingwheel’s trilingual reference for English, Spanish and PHP. When he’s not working or studying, he enjoys playing soccer and listening to music.
They initially created Pingwheel to help people transition into a new city. However, they hope Pingwheel becomes embedded in our daily lives, and that people will use it help personalize their first interactions with anyone. Their goal is to make searching for people (with any attribute), as easy and accessible as searching for information.Pingwheel’s profiles dynamically changes to highlight a user’s common interests with yours, helping you gain valuable and relevant information about anyone you encounter. In addition, they are working on very exciting calendar features that will transform how new relationships are created and developed.