Wilmington tech startup Likeli launched the beta version of its app this week by dropping cash on University of North Carolina Wilmington students from a helicopter at Wrightsville Beach, part of a weeklong promotional blitz targeting local young adults.
The app is available to anyone on the App Store and Google Play store, but company founder and CEO George Taylor III said the goal is to focus on local audiences for now.
The hope is to get a couple thousand users in the coming days, he said. The company will then evaluate feedback and performance before doing a larger rollout in the Raleigh area in November. A full national rollout is expected to be ready by late January, he said.
Founded in 2015, Likeli – a winner in the Costal Entrepreneur Award’s
Internet-Related Business Category this year – puts a new spin on social connection and dating apps. The company touts its “social radar” feature, which looks a weather map showing clusters of social activity in a given area.
The app will display the number of men and women, and their average age, in a location, while a news feed will share their social posts and how they are connected.
After the helicopter stunt at the UNCW Beach Blast on Tuesday (which got the company in trouble with Wrightsville Beach police), other promotional events targeting college students this week include a downtown concert and pool parties. Taylor said events specifically for Cape Fear Community College students will come soon.
But he said he’s learned the app could have appeal beyond 20-somethings.
He showed the app to his grandparents recently, and they said they loved it. “They said, ‘Now we can avoid you guys!’” Taylor said.