By Allan Maurer
So, you’re at the big game and the Quarterback makes a startling play but your cell phone camera misses the crucial moment by an instant. Throughout the stadium, though, hundreds, perhaps thousands of other sports fans took photos. Don’t you wish you could see their pix?
If you had the Berst app on your phone you could.
Berst, founded last fall at the Triangle Startup Factory on the American Tobacco Campus in Durham, NC, is the brainchild of foudners Matt Ramsden and Caleb Foster.
“We had been working on things together and the idea came up after we were playing tennis one day,” Ramsden explains. “We thought it was a really big thing but also something we could use ourselves.”
Berst makes a mobile app for the iPhone and Android phones that makes it easy to connect with people around you. Unlike many such apps, everything it presents to the user is based on location.
Seeing their photos of the game
“If you’re at an NBA basketball game,” says Ramsden, you can call someone across the country, but not across the stadium.” He notes that you may not necessarily want to be friends with them, but you might want to see their photos from the game.
The same is true of concerts, weddings, and “a lot of experiences like that,” says Ramsden. “This is something we know will exist in the next few years. We want to be the ones who do it right.”
When you open the Berst app, he says, “The connection we use is location rather than friendship or interest.”
Users can, however, invite their Facebook and Twitter friends and those on other services to get the app.
“But with Berst,” Ramsden says, “Everyplace you move what you see is different and super relevant to you.”
So, if you’re at a baseball game, your friends in Rhode Island probably won’t care about the photos you’re taking, but the people at the game care a lot about that homerun that just happened. Berst removes the friction from people being able to do that (share photos, etc.).
Working on monetization
Ramsden says his partner, Foster, “Isn’t formally trained but he’s been coding since he was 10 or 12. He created a video game for his friends at 14. He was that kid.”
The app is currently free, but Ramsden says the firm is working on ways to monetize it. “The biggest thing for us now is to reach scale. The difference between 10,000 users and a million opens up a lot of ways to make money.”
While they’re currently focused on getting the app right and scaling up, Ramsden said they’re weighing their options regarding potential funding from outside sources.
“We think it’s a huge opportunity and market,” Ramsden says.