Swedish Startup Space

Can CANU crack the ‘social events’ space?

Written by on August 27, 2013

Today I’m talking with Didrik Persson – a young entrepreneur studying at Hyper Island and building a startup called CANU – which he calls ‘the quickest way for you to get together with people around you’.

After spending a little bit of time playing with the app – it’s actually quite cool – and they’ve definitely put some time into thinking about how the perfect event-app should feel. For one, they’ve reversed the order of the feed – which at first feels bizarre – but kind of makes sense. As they state on their website, ‘it’s like a treadmill‘. You start at the bottom of the feed, and work your way up – so the events that appear ‘closest to you’ are those events happening soon. 

They do face the common challenges when it comes to building a ‘social something’ application though. Do people want to discover activities around them, or do they just want to stick to their own group of friends? What I do like, is that the founders built the product based on their own desires. Recently moved to Stockholm and looking for new friends – so they set about a product that could help with that, so that’s always a good start.

The other problem, is this is an extremely crowded space – and like many companies in this space experience – competing with the giants can be tough. On the other hand, the product is well made and slick to use – and their value proposition (“get things happening quickly“) is exciting – so it’s going to be interested to follow their progress over the next few months.

Tell me about your background – why are you an entrepreneur?

To be honest I don’t have much to tell. My journey started a year ago when I moved to Stockholm to study digital media at Hyper Island.

Prior to that, I lived outside of any civilization on a farm in the south of Sweden. I like to think that the isolated life there is what made me creative.

Out of pure boredom I kept myself busy with building tree-houses, building computers with my brother and setting up fake stores in my room with my sister. As any entrepreneur would say I’ve always had a lot of ideas and as a boy I wanted to become an inventor. What I didn’t know back then is that an inventor and an entrepreneur are not that dissimilar.

What is CANU and what problem are you solving?

CANU is the quickest way for you to get together with people around you on the go. It’s a simple idea with a simple solution. It was born when we (the three founders) had just moved to Stockholm and wanted to get to know the locals. We found that there was no spontaneous and relaxed way of doing so. So we’ve created an app that lets you propose what you want to do to people around you. It’s a bit like Twitter for activities only location based.

This is a crowded space – how do you plan to stand out from your competitors?

Simplicity. We want to make the phone a tool for getting together in real life. We found that in order to get our users to spend as little time as possible with the app we need to strip away all the unnecessary features to make the experience as simple and smooth as possible.

We did exactly that  and I like to say that it takes the same time to open the Facebook app as it takes to create an activity with CANU. It’s should be that quick.

Tell me about the team

We’re a multi cultural team of three. A Spaniard,  a Russian and myself who’s from Sweden. The three of us met while studying at Hyper Island in Stockholm. Roger who’s from Barcelona is a natural born coder, he started coding as a boy and never stopped. He combines logic, stubbornness and creativity in a great way. Vitali is from the sunny parts of Russia and had an early interest in design, when he was 17 he moved to Vancouver to study graphic design. He likes to question the norm and create something new, he has a drive to discover the next thing, not just ride on trends.

What are the plans for the next 6 months?

Step one is finding our fourth member, another iOS developer. After that we’re going for first round of investment. As for product, our goal is to add privacy as soon as possible and if all goes well we will have an Android version soon as well.

Thanks Didrik!

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