Undeniably one of the hardest aspects of adjusting to NYU is making friends. Entrepreneur Adam Liebman is out to simplify the process with his new app Squad, which uses an interface reminiscent of Tinder to connect groups of two or more with other groups of friends.
“When I first came here a few years ago right after I graduated school, I knew three people in the state,” Liebman said. “I just happened to work at an amazing company where I formed some relationships, but if Squad had been around then maybe circles that didn’t overlap at the time would have been able to overlap and it would have been easier.”
I can’t deny that I had a similar experience when I first came to New York in August. I immediately hit it off with a group in my dorm, but our “squad” never expanded. So we decided to give the app a try.
After several days of incessant swiping, my squad still had not received a match. My squad members attributed this to the app’s older target demographic.
“I thought Squad would be weirder than it is when I downloaded it,” my friend, CAS freshman Carol He, said. “It’s just hard to get matched when you see the same profiles over and over again. I keep seeing this one profile that says ‘Three ladies drinking and one has an Android phone’. Maybe [it would be easier to make friends] if more people were on it and they had more ways to narrow down the profiles you see, like by your interests. Right now all I see are 30-year-olds who like to party.”
The community the app resonates with the most speaks to Squad’s humble origins as a innovative use of Liebman’s own Tinder profile.
“We were on a boys trip in Montreal and we wanted to find some cool people to hang out with. I had the idea to take down all of my profile pictures and only put up pictures of me and my squad,” Liebman said. “We ended up matching with another group of people who were headed to the same place as us that night. We had this unbelievably fun night that I feel like everyone always wants to have when they go out with their friends but is an elusive thing that you don’t always get.”
Although the app now boasts tens of thousands of active squads in the greater New York City area and nearly 5,000 matches since its launch in October of 2015, it was beginning to look as if my squad was never going to get to experience the sort of “elusive” great night out that inspired Liebman to create the app in the first place.
“When I first heard about the app, I thought it sounded a bit silly but I do know that people will do anything to make friends,” said the third member of my squad, Liberal Studies freshman Juhi Dalal. “It does make me sad that no one has responded to our squad yet. We’re fun people.”
Although Squad aims to simplify the process of finding friends, there is one thing even the most ingenious of apps can’t change — connecting with people takes time.
A version of this story appeared in the Feb. 22 print edition. Email Taylor Nicole Rogers at [email protected]