Inspiration

We are reimagining what social interactions empowered by technology can be. Technology will continue to be a huge factor in everyone’s life, and it is about time it facilitates conversation, rather than acting as a barrier from real interactions.

The first area we will tackle is forming the initial meaningful connection between two individuals. Currently the market is filled with dating apps that gamify meeting people with whom you share sexual chemistry, while solutions for forming platonic relationships are lacking. Not only will our platform provides access to others trying to meet new people, but it goes a step beyond, using data to intelligently predict which people will be compatible.

This means we facilitate new relevant, meaningful, and time-efficient relations. Understanding each user’s preferences, we can go further and recommend a time and location. This is well suited for partnerships with local businesses, to which our app will drive traffic.

The need for this is massive: loneliness is skyrocketing.

What it does

With Munchies you will never eat alone again. Walk into any venue and instantly notify all app users that a new conversation is to be had. You have the option of scheduling it for now or for the future, and choose a location close in proximity. Those nearby can choose to accept, and will automatically be added to your event.

How I built it

  • Node.js backend with an API built with express.
  • Data models designed critically on paper, normalized and beautified in a relational database: postgresql.
  • Front end mobile app in react native. Expo worked well to speed up the development process.

  • GCP for cloud hosting. This was definitely the hardest part -- connecting the Google App Engine with the Cloud SQL datastore.

Challenges I ran into

This was my first time deploying a node app to a GCP GAE. Turns out, ES6 support is not common. I toyed with using AWS, Azure, etc, but found nobody supporing ES6. This was important as my entire backend was built by the time I was thinking about hosting it, and this meant it was filled with new syntax and Async/Awaits...

Turned out, all I needed was Babel. Having never used this before, it took a bit of playing around. Definitely gave me a better understanding of the javascript ecosystem :)

Accomplishments that I'm proud of

Building a fully functioning end-to-end system, complete with a relational db, mobile app, and backend API.

What's next for Munchies

So much! As described above, our world is lacking in meaningful connections. Despite more "likes" on social media then ever, loneliness is skyrocketing, and mental health rates are grim. This can't all be solved by having a lunch companion, but we have to start somewhere.

An easy next add is questions that prompt solid conversation, or at a minimum, ice breakers. Beyond this, an entire platform that matches people based on data. We have amazing insight into what will create a good platonic relationship -- we need to stop leaving it up to chance, and take fate into our hands.

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