Our Vancouver

Vancouver app maker helping young workforce stay social

What do you do when you work in high tech and your strange work hours make it hard to hang with friends? 28-year-old Nash Kassam made an app for that.

Want to hang with friends in real life? There's an app for that too

App aimed at helping young workers stay social in real life 6:38

There's a certain irony in the lives of  thousands of young people working in Vancouver's high tech industry, particularly those developing products for social media companies.

They work long and often strange hours. And then they struggle to keep their own social connections alive in real life.

It happened to 28-year-old Nash Kassam.

"When I was working at my start up ... I would get home at nine or 10 p.m. I'd need someone to go eat with, but my primary circle of friends had already eaten or they weren't nearby."

Kassam decided to fix the situation himself. He started working on an app that allows you to chose between three activities: eat, exercise or go for a drink. You can write something specific such as "I feel like pasta." on the update. 

The circle of Facebook friends using the app would see this and perhaps respond.

The Want To app connects you others who want eat, drink or work out when you do. (CBC)

"What the app does is show you the list of Facebook friends who've used the app and said they also want to eat the same time as you".

If there are no existing friends wanting food and the user is willing to meet new people there is a setting to widen the circle to friends of friends.

Kassam says it is a more focused way of finding people who want to socialize they way you want to at the same time you do without messaging everyone on your contacts list.

Since most people have contacts in many different places and time zones, "we're helping people find the right friend at the right time," he says.

Right now the app has 7,000 users, mostly in New York, L.A. and Dubai. Like most online user experiences, success will depend on the number of friends signed up for the app.

Helping doctors and dentists too

This isn't the first real life inspired invention for Kassam. He got into the app-making world with his twin brother after their father, a dentist, couldn't make it to a graduation ceremony.

The boys asked their dad why he couldn't find another dentist to take the clients for just that one appointment. Their dad said it wasn't easy to do that and would take too much time calling and coordinating.

So they made an app that connects doctors and dentists to each other and their clients for appointment referral. 

"Connect-the-doc" is a company now run by Kassam's brother and Nash has moved onto his own company NK Media.

Watch the conversation between Nash Kassam and guest host Jason D'Souza on Our Vancouver.

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