Back in October of last year, I wrote about one of our early CrunchFund portfolio companies, Everyme. At the time, they were rethinking social networking through the lens of the original digital social network: your mobile phone address book.
They put an app out there and a lot of people were testing it, sending feedback. That’s when the team had a realization: they were onto something, but they weren’t quite there. So they went back to the drawing board and rethought their rethinking of social. The result is the Everyme app launching today.
Address book information is still key, but it’s no longer about recreating your address book to make it social. It’s now about using the connections in there to create small, private networks — called yes, Circles. By syncing your address book information with Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn, Everyme can automatically cluster people together and populate some key Circles for you. Your hometown, your college, your current city, your work, etc.
This is similar in concept to what Google does with Google+ Circles, but the key is that most users won’t have to set up their own. And managing them is much simpler. The concept of Google+ Circles is right, but no one is going to manage them. No one does. It’s flawed.
With Everyme, the idea is to keep the Circles very small. And again, private. There are no options to share things to Twitter and Facebook — this is on purpose.
Everyme Circles are actually closer to Facebook’s Smart Lists, which the social network also populates for you based on relationships. But for many people, Facebook has become too large. It’s a network about sharing as broadly as possible for many now. Everyme is about the people you really know and care about — again, those in your address book.
In using the app and seeing how people are using it today, they definitely have some onboarding issues they need to work out. One great thing about the service is that you don’t need to use the app to use it — you can use email or SMS to interact with Everyme. But the flipside is that people are getting pinged to sign up and have no idea what is going on. They’re undoubtedly working on this.
The fact that so many people are working on smaller, more personal networks is a good sign for Everyme. They’re clearly onto something. With investments in Path, Just.me, and Pair, we’re obviously following this whole space closely as well.
In the age of the Facebook IPO, the smaller network resonates. And that’s especially true on mobile, which is the most personal form of computing. My hunch is that Everyme isn’t an app that will easily win over the early adopter tech crowd, but it’s something a more mainstream audience should love.