News / Calgary

Hey Calgary - which pant leg do you put on first?

Calgary developed app helps break down awkward social barriers

Founders Evan Hu and Brian Reimer demonstrate the Knelf app - which as both users answering a series of fun get-to-know-you questions.

Jennifer Friesen / For Metro

Founders Evan Hu and Brian Reimer demonstrate the Knelf app - which as both users answering a series of fun get-to-know-you questions.

Your buttcheeks can go a long way in making new friends – one of the question’s used Knelf’s updated social app is “Have you ever mooned someone?”

The Calgary startup programmed in cheeky questions as a way for people to overcome awkward social barriers, be it a first date, getting to know a co-worker or meeting new people at a networking event. It’s meant to help when neither party really knows what to talk about.

“The more we go back and forth, the more questions we ask and guess about, the more mature our trust becomes,” said Knelf founder, Brian Reimer.

The app connects via Bluetooth and works in batches of five – one person answers five questions, then another answers five questions. The app saves your answers, and allows you to continue chatting with users you’ve already connected with in-person.

“What happens over time, we can actually start using your answers to start pulling threads of things you have in common,” said Reimer, who said the algorithm can find out if both users like chocolate shakes, as an example. “Little, innocuous details, but they help connect people, find common ground.”

In the longer term, the app is capable of pulling even greater details about a user, and how the people they’ve connected with influence their daily life.

Reimer said, when looking at economics and demographics, inferences can be made about how much money a particular group makes, where they may live and what kinds of cars they drive. But the app can identify why some people may make decisions that don’t align with their demographic, by making a social graph of how you might be influenced by your network.

“If you take a social graph, you might be 42 per cent more likely to vote this way or 17 per cent less likely to buy a certain kind of car,” he explained.

Kari Gordon, executive director of Startup Calgary, said Knelf is one of the most promising startups in the city.

“It’s a really interesting platform, a little bit obscure in a way, but I think they’re going to have some legs in 2016,” she said.

Knelf has been putting its app to the test by organizing events like speed dating. It’s currently available for iOS and soon for Android. For more information, visit www.knelf.com.

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