After the enthusiastic response received in Chennai for Brigge’s (pronounced ‘bridge’) basic version last November, the team is now organizing a ‘Hobby Week’ in Bengaluru from August 26 to September 4, to bring people together for community-based hobby activities and workshops.
Co-founded by Chennai-based Prasanna Jagannathan, his brother Sampath, and his brother-in-law Murali Satagopan, Brigge is a web and mobile application platform that allows people to register activities and find others to do them with or make groups and then do activities.
After the first launch of their full version in Chennai this April, Prasanna chose Bengaluru for the main launch, given the mutli-cultural diversity of the city.
“Bengaluru is home to many travelers and non-localites as well, which means that there is a lot of variety and innovation here. But there are two kinds of people – one set does really interesting, passionate things and the other, doesn’t move past drinking and watching movies for pastime,” says Prasanna. It is the second group which Brigge is targeting, hoping to give them options of what to do in their free time.
Prasanna has high hopes from the Bengaluru launch, which has an interesting line-up of events conducted by ‘community champions’ or influencers in the subject.
For instance, cocktail-making and nail-art workshops are on the cards along with beer appreciation workshops and rooftop film festivals. Most of the events are marked walk-in after registration. Some, however, like the cocktail making workshop may have a fee (because alcohol isn’t free, laughs Prasanna) which can be redeemed on the drinks you make.
“We want to jumpstart local activity-based community here through the week’s events,” says Prasanna.
Although you can sign up on the platform only through a referral code, there is no age bar technically. However, Prasanna points out that their terms mandate that joinees must be over 16 years of age. “We follow the referral code system to encourage people to share. There shouldn’t be empty groups with no activities or vice versa,” he explains.
Their Chennai launch provided the Brigge team with some interesting insights. Some of the most common activities were musicians collaborating to jam and film enthusiasts getting together to watch movies. However, there are also wackier activities like water balloon fights on the platform. Parenting meetups and pet meetups are fairly common along with camping trips too.
Prasanna believes that a range of activities indicates that a variety of age-groups are using the platform, although his conclusions are based only on users from Chennai so far.
The idea came to Prasanna and Sampath, both of whom returned to India from the US in 2013 after 12 years. Having lost touch with most of their friends in India, the brothers did not have people to do the activities that they were interested in.
“We felt like there was no ‘social’ in social media. Ironical that everyone is constantly on it because so often, it’s taking us farther from really interacting and bonding with people,” says Prasanna.
While 32-year-old Sampath and 34-year-old Prasanna have a background in product management and leadership (among other things), 27-year-old Murali, Sampath’s brother-in-law, is a theatre and stand up artist.
They collaborated on Brigge and it was after they got funding in September last year that they began designing the platform. Currently, their seven-member team consists of five engineers and two marketing personnel.