New entry into social media market makes Real Business Future 50
By Grant Banks
September 29, 2011
The team at Floxx Media Group are attempting the unenviable task of trying to crack into the social media market. Recently named in the Real Business Future 50, the young and ambitious company from London's Silicon Roundabout have two apps in the market, its namesake application - Floxx (aka the new FitFinder) and the more recently released MapChat. Does Floxx Media Group have what it takes to crack the seeming impervious social media market held so dominantly by Facebook and the fresh competition of heavyweight Google? Here's a look at what the Group has to offer.
MapChat is described by by Floxx Media Group founder and CEO Rich Martell as "continuing to build on the core concept of connecting people via a location." Where it differs from other location based social networks such as Gowalla, Facebook and Foursquare is that MapChat steers away from check-in based models, instead using real-time location based connections by geolocating the user via the phone's GPS system. It uses location and push notifications to instantly share messages with people that might be either in your area or halfway across the globe. Currently MapChat is only available for iOS and not Android.
Features of MapChat include the use of Avatars rather than real-life photos which the developers say makes the app feel less like a dating or hook-up service (they cater for this with Floxx), the choice to control discoverability and to block users, and the ability to start up a conversation with complete strangers either in your immediate area or on foreign shores.
"Of course, there are those who question whether or not users want to talk to people they may not know. However, the popularity of sites like Chatroulette and Omegle shows that there is an interest in the type of service we are offering," Martell said.
Floxx is being marketed a new social media tool aimed at students and other young adults on the lookout for some "extra‐curricular activity." The app maps out the best‐looking people in their area via people posting or geocaching the location of people they find attractive. The producers say the app allows users to flirt with eachother and could even provide an opportunity for real-world hook-ups, although interaction is only possible through commenting on posts and there is no chat function available. Floxx is available on both Android and iPhone.
Floxx, or FitFinder as it started life, was originally supposed to be an inside joke and it's history has a familiar ring to it. Developed by Martell while he was studying Computer Science at University College London (UCL) it was designed for him and his friends to give each-other the "heads up" on the location of attractive girls at the school. No-one outside of the group was meant to find out, especially not the girls, but they did and within hours the site had 2000 users with the traffic crashing the server. Martell got the site up again, this time with greater capacity, and within days he had 20,000 users. The demand kept coming and within a month the site had a quarter of a million users and had spread to universities across the UK. Unfortunately the joke was lost on the UCL and Martell was pressured into removing the site for "bringing the University into disrepute." FitFinder was taken down in May 2010.
Step in Doug Richard (formerly of Dragons' Den) and Silicon Valley investor Kevin Wall. Seeing the viral potential of FitFinder these guys knew Martell was onto something. A quick name change (because some users might not get what they bargained for if signing to FitFinder looking for the nearest gym) and Floxx was born, an app that locates "flocks" of good looking people Martell says.
Floxx has flown the college nest and Martell now wants to crack the US and Asian markets as well as attracting attractive users across the UK and the world.
Have you tried Floxx or Mapchat? We'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments section.
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