We caught up with cofounder Tom Munley to learn more.
What’s the 1-sentence elevator pitch for PingGo?
Ping. Chat. Meet.
What do you do and who are your customers?
We just launched our first, location based social networking app, PingGo, on iOS. Our customers are anyone looking to meet people close to them and communicate in real time. PingGo is designed to let users see who is out there and control who they indicate interest in.
Who are the founders, what are their background and why are they passionate about this company?
Tom Munley, Co-Founder
Tom is busy managing our financials, developing our marketing strategy, and overseeing development. As a co-founder of VLM, Tom is responsible for “monetizing” the ideas and managing the development that is outsourced to iTekk. Tom has a B.A. and M.B.A. in Accounting from Michigan State University, and his J.D. from Thomas M. Cooley Law School. In his spare time, Tom enjoys swimming and spending time with his new wife Carla and their two dogs, Zeus and Duffy, in their home in Dallas.
Mark Lisenby, Co-Founder
Mark is the driving force behind several of the ideas that VLM is working on. Mark’s focus expertise is on the design and usability of our apps and websites where he helps us to differentiate our sites and apps from the competition. Mark’s diverse career experience includes launching his own building and construction management firm, time as commercial real estate agent, and time spent in business development for a B2B software company. Mark has a B.A. in Building and Construction Management from Michigan State University, where he still holds the varsity record in the 50 yard freestyle. When not designing or testing our next big thing, Mark can be found coaching or swimming in East Lansing, or spending time with his dog, Puggy.
What major milestones have you reached and what are your startup’s plans for this year?
First app, PingGo, approved by Apple on February 7th. Started design of second app on February 8th.
PingGo looks an awful lot like Tinder, what makes it different?
People ask us that all the time, but there are several differences between PingGo and Tinder.
First, and perhaps slightly controversial, we allow users to see other users on a map, not just presented with the distance shown.
Second, rather than counting on the app to continue to prompt you with anyone who meets certain criteria and counting on the fact that the other person is interested, PingGo allows you to ping the other user proactively and see if they are interested. This is putting control in the users hands. Once pinged, you can ping back or respond with a text message, or, if they look like they are dangerous, you can block them and they can no longer see you on the map.
Third, we do not use Facebook accounts and thus are not required for login or use of the app.
Fourth, since we use the phone number as part of the login, we allow users to block others that they do not want to show up on their search for, e.g. you don’t want your ex significant other to see you on the app or where you are, you key in their number on the blocked number list and you will never see them and they will not show up on your searches. As it was pointed out to me, this could also be used to block your spouse, but we thought it was a good feature as anyone who has painfully seen their ex show up on Match.com knows.
How can people engage with you and learn more?
Download PingGo and let us know what you think and how it can be improved or email Tom at email@example.com with other ideas we should consider for location based apps.