Periscope is the Twitter alternative to Meerkat, which allows users to watch and stream live video from anywhere in the world. The app is where people watched a gas explosion and fire burn through a building in the East Village of New York. It’s also where Sam Kessler pitched his new app, Anchor: The Discovery App. It started out with two young guys streaming from their apartment in attempt to try the hottest app in the iOS store, but it quickly turned into them pitching their app to anyone who would tune into the stream.
I’m always getting startup and app pitches, but this was different because it was the first time someone pitched me via Periscope. I was truly interested, and the app these two guys built isn’t half bad either. Anchor is where users can take pictures and share in real-time what’s happening at the bar, restaurant, park or other place of business. The built-in review system uses a tags-and-tally system instead of stars and long form reviews from users, like Yelp. It’s dead simple and competes against Yelp, Foursquare, and other venue and business review apps. What sets it apart is the use real-time pictures to share what’s happening at the dog park or brand new bar nearby to you. Along with pictures, the review system makes reviewing a place a 1 minute process instead of the current 5 minute process. Sam and Andrew claim that no one has time to read long Yelp reviews, and he’s not far off from the truth.
They caught my attention and managed to talk me into download their app. They had users interacting and asking them questions for close to an hour. They switched between three or four different streams, but managed to attract close to 20 viewers each time. The app gave them a chance to perfect an elevator pitch and have real users asking them real questions about the app. One users asked about gender ratios at the bar, another asked if they had full-time jobs, and another asked if they were with a seed accelerator like TechStars or Y Combinator. These questions are all questions that a potential investor could ask these young men during an elevator pitch.
Sam and Andrew are working in beautiful Austin, Texas, where thousands of other startup founders have moved to grow their startup. They work full-time jobs when they are designing, developing, marketing Anchor, or of course Periscoping with potential users. The app plugs into Instagram images that have location data in the post to overlay on the Anchor app. They now have close to 15,000 users and the biggest area of users in Austin, but the app is open to any city in the World. The use of Instagram pictures mean thousands of people are helping populate the app even if they aren’t using Anchor, and this helps when no one is using the app in a new city. The hard work users have to do is rate venues so new users have recommendations and can better decide what to eat or where to go when they travel or just want to try a new place.
I normally don’t recommend apps to y’all because I hate having too many apps that do the same basic idea on my phone, but the Anchor founders have not only created a great app but managed to catch my attention for more than a few passing minutes. Download the app and tell us what you think about the app, and leave comments below on Sam and Andrews ingenious way of marketing Anchor.