An Interview with Friendsy Co-Founder Mike Pinsky

First year college students want to make friends, and business partners Mike Pinsky and Vaidhy Murti did just that. But here’s what makes the two unique – they’re helping other people make friends as well.

Friendsy is both a website and app exclusively for college students, which sets it apart from other apps like Tinder. In the app you have the option to “connect” with other students. The student’s profile picture will appear, and you are given the option to become “Friends” to “Hookup” or to go on a “Date.” If the users have mutual requests, a conversation will open between the two.

Pinsky reflected on how the app started. The former Princeton students are both Yankees fans, so naturally they both showed up to watch the game at Princeton’s student center. “It was weird because we were the only two people there.” Over the next few weeks, Pinsky and Murti became close friends, and the two decided to make a website geared toward connecting college students on the same campus. After creating a fundraising page on Indiegogo.com, a global fundraising site, Pinsky and Murti raised $7,500 to get started.

“During the week of its launch, over a quarter of the campus registered with Friendsy,” Pinsky explained, “and we [Pinsky and Murti] stayed anonymous for the first few days.”

Over the summer of 2013, the two traveled to Dartmouth to spread the website to the Dartmouth Class of 2015 that was on campus for Dartmouth’s Sophomore Summer. Both Pinsky and Murti traveled from dorm room to dorm room to solicit the app, and in just one weekend, over 400 users from Dartmouth registered with Friendsy.

Later in the summer, Pinsky and Murti gained another $40,000, two $20,000 installments over the next two years, from Princeton’s summer accelerator. From May to August, the two creators had taken a massive step and their idea had come to fruition.

Since then, Friendsy has exploded. The app has expanded to over 200 college campuses, and Pinsky noted that “the penetration on each campus is very solid.” Over 100,000 use the app, over 15 million messages have been sent through over 750,000 mutual matches, and in May 2015, the Friendsy Team surpassed $1 million in funding.

Pinsky and Murti have now assembled a group of five people who will work full time for Friendsy and about 10 who work full time hours while still enrolled in college classes.

When asked what it takes to form a cohesive and cooperative unit, Pinsky noted it is easy for people to fall behind while still in a college setting. He has managed to assemble a group that stays in touch daily.

Going forward Pinsky believes that Friendsy has the potential to cater to college alumni around the world. Additionally, the team has discussed the possibility of implementing the app in college campuses around the world.

“If you want to make the next great app, you have to create it for the right reasons,” Pinsky noted. He added, “These days some people want to start a company just to have a company.” Pinsky and Murti had an idea that they were passionate about: “We started humbly and went from there.”