In pre-internet days, if you were at home and ran out of a vital cooking ingredient, you simply knocked on a neighbour’s door and asked to “borrow a cup of sugar”. These days many people don’t even know who their neighbours are. A couple of Shoreditch entrepreneurs want to change all that, however, using a new phone app.
They’ve developed Bubbles, a messaging app aimed at putting people in the same neighbourhood in touch with each other and helping communities to develop a neighbourly feel.
Bubbles co-founders Paul Amar and Romain Dautricourt got the idea after discovering they had been living in the same building just off Bethnal Green Road for over six months without ever meeting each other.
The surprising revelation came during their first conversation together: “After half an hour, we realised we were neighbors. Literally, if I open my window, we can speak to each other,” said Amar. That’s when they decided to develop Bubbles, enabling them to meet people living close by and develop communities and local businesses.
He continued: “Messaging apps are becoming by far the biggest channel of communication, and Bubbles is the local chat app that was missing.”
The app mainly targets Londoners aged 18 to 29, an age group that represents over half the users of messaging apps, including Whatsapp, Viber and Tinder. Its creators hope that Bubbles will help people to meet their neighbours. They also say it will develop the local economy, as shops will be able to connect directly with their customers and advertise in their immediate area.
Amar told Eastlondonlines why they chose to launch the app in Shoreditch: “That’s where we live and needless to say, Shoreditch is booming. All kind of events are [being] organised, pop up stores are flourishing everywhere in East London. Moreover, locals and travelers are actively looking to meet.”
Bubbles’ beta version is due for release at the end of February. The trial version will be exclusively available in London for users to test before it is launched nationwide.