RICHMOND, Va. – On Thursday local tech startup Spillo announced the upcoming launch of their newest mobile app, Flakr, which allows users to cancel plans and flake on up to four friends with only a few simple swipes.
The brainchild of local entrepreneur and tech developer Spencer Ashburne, Flakr was inspired by the popular Richmond pastime of blowing off your friends at the last minute. Ashburne, a San Francisco native, launched Spillo three years ago after his pet fitness app, FitBitch, was acquired by Facebook.
Below is an excerpt from an interview we conducted via text message earlier this week. It has been edited for grammar and clarity.
The Peedmont: What inspired you to create Flakr in the first place?
Spencer Ashburne: Flakr was really born out of necessity. My development team and I are constantly rescheduling meetings, blowing off friends, ducking out of Tinder dates, and ignoring our parents’ phone calls. Eventually we figured, “There has to be a better way.”
TP: Were you concerned about larger players in the tech world?
SA: We did some research and realized there weren’t any apps on the market that would allow users to cancel plans with multiple people simultaneously. It’s crazy to think no one had figured this out yet.
TP: Did you build the app on a particular platform?
SA: We made sure Flakr is compatible with both iOS and Android devices. It was important to us to ensure the platform would be available to as many Richmond users as possible.
TP: OK, so how does it actually work?
SA: Once you download Flakr it instantly syncs with your contacts, calendars, and social media accounts. It then imports your upcoming events so bailing is easier than it’s ever been. Our developers spent weeks testing out advanced algorithms that cue “smart” excuses to mimic the user’s speech patterns and mannerisms. Your parents, boring friends, and Tinder matches will never know you’re cancelling on all of them with just a few taps.
TP: Can you give us an example of how someone might use Flakr?
SA: There are an infinite number of ways to interface with our app. Don’t want to meet your ex-girlfriend, Jessica, for brunch? Flakr. Not into First Friday with your roommate and his brother from out of town? Flakr them both. Second thoughts about that upcoming Tinder date at Lamplighter? Flakr. Still hungover from the night before and don’t want to go out to brunch? Flakr your crew. With a few simple taps and swipes, users will be able to bail on up to four commitments instantly. We’re working on upping that to five in future updates.
TP: What do you say to people who don’t see a need for Flakr?
SA: Our mobile app bridges the gap between technology and lifestyle seamlessly so users can now embrace their extraordinary laziness, crippling social anxiety, or complete contempt for Jessica, Kelly, and Chad.
TP: Tell us a little about the design and user experience.
SA: We’ve teamed up with the technological visionaries at Mobelux to ensure that Flakr is not only sleek and sexy but also incredibly intuitive and natural to use. The interface is completely user-friendly; a toddler could blow you off in no time.
TP: When can we expect to see Flakr in the App Store?
SA: We’ve had some recent setbacks. Our development team keeps rescheduling and our marketing team won’t pick up. The team of Beta testers also won’t come to our feedback meetings, so we don’t have any firm dates just yet. No big deal.
TP: How do you plan to market Flakr to the broader audience?
SA: (Read 1:09 PM)
TP: Hello? Spencer? Are you there?
TP: Spencer, I just have a few more questions.
(Your number has been blocked)