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5 For Friends: Family Tragedy Turned Inspiration

by Ryan Waller

Have you ever neglected to call a friend because you were worried about being on the phone too long? Have you ever called a friend to catch up, left a voicemail, and played phone tag for weeks before finally connecting? Finally, have you ever spoken to a friend after a tragedy and said, “We shouldn’t have to wait for a time like this to talk”? If yes, 5 For Friends was designed for you. This social networking mobile app, based in Fairburn GA,  is designed to make it easy and convenient to verbally keep in touch with family and friends.

We caught up with Founder/CEO Scott Speed to get the full story:

Year/Date Founded:
April 29, 2014

Number of Employees:
0

Founders/Execs:
Scott Speed Founder/CEO
Aparicio Giddins Co-Founder/CFO

Funding or bootstrapped:
Bootstrapped & Crowdfunding on Indiegogo to build first version of app. Additional funding rounds will follow.

How’d You Get The Idea For It?
I was inspired to create this app concept after the death of my 3rd child due to my wife giving birth to our daughter pre-maturely. I received several text messages and social media messages offering condolences. However, a handful of friends who I had not spoken to in several years actually called to speak with me and that was very meaningful. With each friend the sentiment was “we shouldn’t have to wait for a time like this to talk.” I began to brainstorm a way to use technology to make it easy and convenient for people to verbally keep in touch with people they genuinely want to talk to periodically but just can’t find the time. Within 20 minutes of getting off the phone with a friend from college, 5 For Friends was born.

Revenue Model?
Subscription based. Free for first year then $0.99 per year basic or $2.99 per year premium.

Who are your competitors and how do you stand out?
Our competitors are Skype, Whatsapp, Facebook Messenger, Google Hangout, Kik, SnapChat, GroupMe, and many more. What makes us stand out is that 5 For Friends gives users the ability to coordinate verbal communication in an efficient and intelligent way. Users will never get a voicemail or play phone tag again when trying to catch up with family and friends by phone. Users can simply press a button which sends out push notifications to their “Connections” that they have 5 minutes to talk and sit back and wait for someone who also has 5 minutes to talk to call through the app. Or a user can simply browse their contacts list to see who has indicated they’re available and choose who to instantly connect with through the app. Since our technology will limit calls to 5 minutes we envision users talking to more friends more often without the worry of it taking too much of their time.

How does ATL weave into your story?
I am a member of ATDC at Georgia Tech and I have a mentor, Lior Weinstein, who has really helped us a lot.

What kind of mentor could you use the most right now:
Lior is a great mentor. I would say that we are open to speaking with anyone who could provide additional insights into navigating the process of scaling a consumer app.

Is there anything else you need (that money can’t buy)?
My business partner and I are both business men however we are not technical. We are in the process of trying to find a lead developer who may be interested in partnering with us if our visions and goals align.

Currently Scott and Aparicio are pre-selling their app concept through a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo. The $25,000 they hope to raise through Indiegogo will be used to complete the design and development of the first version of 5 For Friends on Apple IOS. They plan on initiating Android OS development within 3-6 months of initial launch. They have already begun the process and have secured the services of an experienced design and development team. Scott Speed states, “We believe that 5 For Friends will enhance friendships by allowing people to connect on a deeper more meaningful level.”

[Photo Credit: https://images.indiegogo.com/file_attachments/663896/files/20140620175940-5forFriends_Mockup_p1.png?1403312380]

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