For those interested in making casual connections of a different kind, Superb launches Wednesday on iPhone and offers to spice up one's social life.
Co-founder and CEO Eddy Lu describes Superb as a social network around places, though distinct from Facebook or Foursquare. The app is not about where you've been, but where you want to go, and its goal is to introduce you to people you can bond with over a great meal, drink, or activity.
Superb presents people with a feed of popular places, some selected with the help of Foursquare data and others through data collected by Superb. To use the app, you just more or less follow the rules of: swipe right to save a restaurant or venue to your to-do list or swipe left to forget about it. When you do swipe right, you can see a list of the other people interested in checking out the place -- sorted by friends, and friends of friends -- and you can start messaging them to arrange a get-together, if that's what you want.
On Superb, venues serve as the connective tissue between you, your friends, friends of friends, and even strangers. So, in theory, it's the app you'd pick up before you had plans; the one you'd choose so you could later update one of those other networks on where you've been.
"We think it's a really good use case for your casual connections in life...for the person you've been meaning to hang out with," Lu said. "We want to provide that extra push."
Based in Venice, Calif., Superb is the reincarnation of Grubwithus, a now-shuttered Web service that arranged dinners for strangers. The original idea, which germinated with the help of Y-Combinator and dates back to 2010, was meaty enough to warrant millions from venture capitalists. Around $4 million is still left and will be used to finance the meet-and-greet app of a different kind. Investors are, by way of the pivot, Upfront Ventures, Andreessen-Horowitz, Ashton Kutcher, Y-Combinator, First Round Capital, and Alexis Ohanian.
The Superb application borrows from the Grubwithus mission to connect people offline, but it does so in a less abrasive fashion. The app will show you who wants to go where you want to go, but it leaves the coordination part up to you.
Whether the app lives up to its name will likely depend on how many of your friends or contacts use it. If you're friendless on Superb, your network is nonexistent, which means the app can do little more than present you with a stream of places you can swipe through for safe-keeping. That act is bound to get old quickly -- unless you're the kind of person who just loves to build to-do lists.
Superb is available Wednesday for iPhone and iPod Touch from Apple's App Store. The startup expects to release an Android version in four to five months.