HangOut – App Profile

IntroductionHangOut logo

HangOut is an app that gives users a new way to find and share plans.  The app is currently available for free on the Apple app store.  HangOut was created in 2014 by four college students, Daniel (Danny) Guthrie, Mitchell Trulli, Hunter Knepshield, and Daniel Harrington.  The app is ideal for college students looking to see what events are happening on or off-campus.  HangOut falls under Mitchell and Danny’s holding company, Masterminds Holding Company LLC, in which two other companies fall under; EquityOwl and Market MI.

The App

HangOut combined pics

Our Conversation

It was interesting speaking with Mitchell, especially since I recently spoke with Ryan Shaw, co-founder of EquityOwl, where Mitchell is also a co-founder.  Typically, StartupConvos only interviews early-stage startups, but this app seemed interesting and after learning about EquityOwl, I thought it would be good to also learn about another one of Mitchell’s projects.  The thing that made this conversation really interesting is the fact that Mitchell is currently studying abroad in Barcelona, Spain (to date StartupConvos has only interviewed people that are currently within the United States).

High-Level Description

Mitchell described the app as a semi-anonymous serial planner that allows users to see what is going on in the area.  Users can post events to their area and other users can see events that are happening around them (5-15 miles away).  Currently, the app has been downloaded around 3,000 times.  HangOut is trying to disrupt club events and is utilized in Boston, Tampa and Barcelona right now.

Idea Generation

The idea came about when Mitchell started seeing a lot of cool events happening around him.  He determined that there really wasn’t an effective way to plan things out (event-wise).  The purpose of the idea was originally to just be an app that would allow people in Boston to see what’s going on in the area.

Competition

HangOut is one of the only location-based, social event apps on the market, according to Mitchell.  He did mention that WIGO (Who is Going Out) was a big competitor that had received successful funding, but the app shutdown recently.  When WIGO shutdown, Mitchell said that many people dubbed HangOut as “WIGO’s replacement.”  However, he mentioned that he feels HangOut does location-based social events better.  The app allows users to post parties, meetups, beach trips, etc. by using user-driven information.

Entrepreneurial Influence

Mitchell’s first entrepreneurial experience was in 3rd grade.  In 3rd grade, he ended up placing 2nd in ExploraVision – a science-based competition that deals with bringing ideas to reality.  Mitchell created a belt for blind people that would vibrate when they got too close to objects.  Along with this entrepreneurial experience, (as mentioned before) he also co-founded EquityOwl and Masterminds Holding Company LLC.  Entrepreneurship is nothing new to Mitchell (if it wasn’t obvious).

Name Generation

The name “HangOut” came about from sitting around tossing name ideas around.  The co-founders eventually decided to just call it HangOut and they could always change it later if they wanted to.  Mitchell, Daniel and the other co-founders ended up keeping the name instead of just using it as a placeholder like they originally thought they would.

Entrepreneurial Challenges

One of the biggest challenges HangOut faced was being labeled as WIGO’s replacement, according to Mitchell.  Another challenge with the app was including it as the first application within Mitchell’s holding company.  Some more challenges that the application faced according to Mitchell were the following:

  • Building small active user bases
  • Being careful not to expand too quickly
  • Focusing on small communities
  • Starting small and growing larger

Conclusion

HangOut is an interesting app and should become popular amongst college students and many others if executed properly.  On top of learning about this app, it was also very interesting to learn about yet another young entrepreneur.  Mitchell’s background is already quite impressive and I look forward to seeing what other ventures he creates over the next few years.  Students need to take a page out of Mitchell and Ryan’s (co-founder of EquityOwl) book and become student entrepreneurs.  Please be sure to check out HangOut’s site at http://www.officialhangout.co/ and follow them on Twitter @officialhangout. Also, you can follow them on Instagram @officialhangout

*StartupConvos has no investment in this company

 

The app can be downloaded on iTunes

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