A intelligent new app known as Slingshot is combining the serendipity of BeReal snaps with the friends-only picture sharing popularized by apps like Snapchat. However whereas the app’s inspirations are acquainted, the best way you work together with Slingshot presents one thing distinctive. Because the identify suggests, you pull down on the display screen — as if pulling again on a slingshot itself — to disclose the app’s digital camera. Then, with a satisfying launch and a little bit of haptic suggestions, your candid picture flies off the display screen, headed in the direction of your mates’ app the place it arrives as a bouncing bubble.
This form of interplay feels new and recent — and offers Slingshot a little bit of that dopamine rush that you simply may expertise in different apps if you pull to refresh the feed to see new content material populate. Besides on this case, your slingshot picture is distributed out on the planet within the hopes of receiving one in return from your mates.
The brand new app was designed by Tommy Searle, who, after graduating from the College of Michigan, recruited associates to work on a mindfulness journaling app known as Wellnest. The app launched within the App Retailer in January 2021 and the staff shortly thereafter raised a pre-seed spherical to gas their efforts. Nonetheless, after six months of promoting Wellnest licenses to completely different universities, the staff determined they needed to construct one thing extra consumer-oriented.
Over the previous two and half years, the staff rolled out 5 completely different shopper apps, together with a Reddit shopper known as Sideline and a well-liked iMessage extension known as Cutouts for taking images and reacting together with your face, amongst others. With Cutouts, Searle notes, they’d the chance to lift extra funds however he declined to take action.
“I didn’t see a world wherein an iMessage extension was going to be a large enough enterprise to essentially validate that funding,” he says. As an alternative, Searle continued to make use of the pre-seed funds to construct different apps that he hopes to take larger — “apps which are social and that join us in new methods or current new mediums to attach on our telephones,” he notes.
That now consists of Slingshot, a easy and well-built shopper social app that strikes you rapidly by the onboarding technique of validating your cellphone quantity and giving the app the required permissions to entry the digital camera and your contacts and ship notifications. (Searle notes the app hashes cellphone numbers earlier than they go away your machine, so it’s solely evaluating hashes, not precise contact info, to match you with associates.)
After setup is full, you may add associates and start to “slingshot” images to them everytime you please. There’s no push notification reminder as in BeReal that requires you to submit at a sure time.
The app’s digital camera mechanism is so easy, in truth, that it’s virtually shocking if you first use it. There’s little time to pose or body your shot — you simply pull again on the display screen and launch to snap the pic and ship it flying.
Searle says he started engaged on the app simply six weeks in the past.
“I don’t know the place or how the concept of pulling right down to reveal the digital camera got here to me,” he says. “I simply bear in mind drawing it on my Notepad at some point, and I used to be actually on this feeling of immediately having the ability to ship one thing and the concept of releasing to take an image and ship it immediately…It felt prefer it had some components of BeReal and Snapchat and likewise Cutouts, with the round photographs.”
The app’s playfulness isn’t one thing solely out there to the sender. Because the receiver of slingshot images, little balls — or marbles? — bounce throughout the display screen after which settle in a pile. You may faucet on these to disclose the picture after which it disappears. There’s no repeat viewing allowed.
When utilizing Slingshot, you may choose to ship your slingshot picture to “everybody” — the default — or you may select a selected buddy or associates out of your checklist to ship to as a substitute.
The app launched within the App Retailer is basically a beta that Searle now goals to develop additional. He’s toying with concepts like having the ability to sling movies or textual content. Regardless of its similarities to different apps, Searle thinks the app will attraction to excessive schoolers or school college students as a result of it’s targeted on capturing issues within the second — not simply on the time BeReal specifies. And it’s sooner than utilizing Snapchat, he factors out.
“You’re flattening and releasing and it’s immediately sending. So it’s sooner to get one thing from my cellphone to another person’s utilizing Slingshot than it’s on Snap,” Searle says.
If the app takes off, Slingshot could monetize with paid upgrades that may permit customers to prioritize their finest associates within the app by placing them on the entrance of the carousel, for instance.
As Wellnest, the startup raised $750K from Development Fund, a fund that includes many ex-TikTok execs, together with angels like Austin Rief from Morning Brew and Turner Novak.
Now a sole founder — different members have since left Wellnest — Slingshot was constructed alongside founding engineer Sakun Acharige.
Slingshot is at present a free obtain on iOS solely. An Android model shall be constructed provided that the app takes off.