Any team athlete knows that trust and friendship are built in the locker room. It’s not just a damp and smelly room for changing, but rather a place where teammates support and motivate each other. Stephanie Slatt, a former college athlete at the University of Notre Dame, recognized the value of this environment and wanted to replicate it in the digital space. Thus in late 2013, Speshio was born.
“The idea is that you already have these small groups in your life, whether it’s your family, a work team, your group of friends, or people trying to lose weight,” said Slatt, Speshio’s founder and CEO. “You naturally create these little groups in your life, and we just want people to use this system to better communicate with them.”
When users sign up for Speshio, they can create or join any number of teams or join any that they have been personally invited to. Each team has a designated “locker room,” which has a team board that everyone can share to and view. Each member of the team also has a private locker, which only he or she can view. Members can post motivational quotes or video clips to the team board for the whole team to see, for instance, or one member can share something more personal to another member’s locker, which only he or she will then be able to see.
“We live in a world where everybody broadcasts their lives to everyone and that’s great if that’s what you’re in to. The larger social networks allow you to connect yourself with anybody and everybody, but trends are showing that things are starting to go smaller again and people are wanting to communicate just with certain people and share with certain groups,” said Slatt. “While we do incorporate a lot of the same functionality as Facebook Groups or even maybe a group chat, our true differentiator is the unique setup of both a team space and a private space for each team you’re on. I have yet to see that in today’s digital tools and it really does support a more intimate and dynamic way of sharing.”
The app focuses mainly on media sharing—pictures, videos, notes—but Slatt was always adamant about including chat functionality as well. “I didn’t want comments in the app because that clutters everything,” she said.
Once the team decided to use Sinch to enable chat, they found implementation extremely simple. “We just followed the Sinch and Parse tutorial that was online and it ended up working great. We had it up and running in a weekend.”
In the future, Speshio hopes to integrate voice call or video call through Sinch. “Not only was the service really great technically, but the presentation of the service is what got me hooked,” said Slatt.
The Speshio team just returned from Web Summit in Dublin where they showcased the app to thousands of attendees. “It was awesome—a very energizing environment—and we got a lot of good attention from a variety of sources,” said Slatt. “It was great to get feedback and see what other people from all over the world are doing in the space.”
The app is currently available on both iOS and Android. The main goal at this stage is mass adoption, said Slatt, and the team is partnering with a variety of groups to begin, including a nationally ranked volleyball club in Iowa.
In the first quarter of 2016, Speshio will seek Series A funding, at which point it will move its headquarters from Seattle to San Francisco.
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