First published on 13 Jun 2012.
It’s a story of ingenuity that reads like the plotline of Endless Summer, one man in search of the perfect wave. Marius Krämer came to Australia from Heilbronn, Germany, in 2010 to study, but his immediate goal was to learn to surf. After searching in vain for a buddy to explain “natural stance” from “goofy”, and point out the best local breaks, Krämer threw in the towel and developed his own high-tech solution to his networking problem: the Matewire Mobile application.
The Matewire app allows users to search for and post social and outdoor activities happening in their area. The concept is simple, and the ways in which it can be used are pretty much endless. “Eating, drinking, outdoors, special interests, it can be expanded into anything. At the moment we are focusing on impromptu, small activities, for when you find yourself with a few hours to spare, and nothing to do."
For example: a group of mates organise a game of soccer in their local park but they’re short a few players. What to do? Post the time and location of their game on Matewire. An open invitation to join the game is now available to any Matewire users in the area. “Imagine there are hundreds of people living in your area that share your interests, they could be your best friends, your soul mates, but you don’t know them because you’ve never had the opportunity to meet," Krämer says. "With Matewire we can make that connection."
Over the last decade, countless companies have emerged in competition for our online identities. Krämer explains that while it is great to see people connecting, the online community has also brought negative side effects. “Many people spend way too much time online. I also do it because it is easy: with one click you can see what your friends are up to, and feel like you are close to them. With Matewire, we can use technology in a positive way, to bring people back into the real world and make them socialise physically – with real people.”
In the first two weeks after its launch, the Android format of the application attracted 400 active users. With the iPhone app released today, Krämer and his three-man team hope to accrue 5,000 users within the first week. The more users who join up, the more useful the app will become. “In one or two years I want every place in the world to be covered by Matewire, so that anywhere you go in the world, be it Africa, America, Israel or Canada, you can just open up Matewire, and there will be hundreds of activities put up by like-minded people around you.” Grand aspirations indeed.
The development of the app has not been seamless; Krämer was initially rejected three times by the Push Start Accelerator program, which now provides crucial seed capital and mentoring to the Matewire team. Despite this hurdle, Krämer has nothing but praise for Sydney’s entrepreneurial community, which he describes as friendly, non-competitive and full of successful entrepreneurs who are happy to share their wisdom.
Krämer’s advice to anyone aspiring to launch their own project is to be curious, open to new ideas, to never have a restricted mind set, and this last part he says is crucial, to attend the Silicon Beach entrepreneurial meet each Friday at Bar 77
“Everything for me started here: I got to know all the people who taught me a lot about how to run a start up, how to register a business and how to build your first product without having an overload of features. You can learn everything from here, it’s a great group of inspiring people."
For more information or to download the app head to www.matewire.com