2014 Demo Day startup profiles: KEEN

KEEN is a smartphone app reintegrating social interaction from the digital confines of a screen back into real-life. Users create spontaneous activities, anything from grabbing a coffee to climbing a tree, which then connect with like-minded users through the use of hash tags and a unique “keen” or “nah” response at the click of a button.

CEO and co-founder Peter Chen says the idea came from people’s desire for an intimate social media environment. Peter believes people are fast becoming frustrated with limitations of current virtual interaction platforms, which is driving a new stream of digital products. “They’re not direct competitors, but others are starting to try and solve the same problem. For example, Facebook has added the location matching feature and Four Square has its Swarm paradigm.” 

KEEN is unique in that one of its ideals is to encourage people to meet in real life by making the process quick and easy. “Social media users no longer respond to complexity,” he says. The team have grasped onto the efficient ‘yes’ or ‘no’ reaction seen in other successful platforms like Tinder and created an effective one-degree separated network.

Since launching at University of Otago in March, the team has already experienced considerable growth and community. The first four weeks saw a 50% user increase week in and week out, with half of those returning every week and a third returning every day. Such success has KEEN set to launch in 600 universities across New Zealand and Australia in the very near future, even prompting options in the UK. Prior to Lightning Lab, KEEN was one of 2300 worldwide applicants to New York’s AngelPad programme. Making the top 50 is evidence of a promising future. 

To learn more about Lightning Lab’s Demo Day and see other startups involved in the programme, go here.

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