Jade Brandais on Founding the Renge App - Encouraging People to Actually Meet Up IRL
By Kate Ferguson
Jade Brandais created the location-based app Renge with the intention of making it easy and fun for people to meet up in real life after connecting online. There are a lot of networking and dating apps out there, but the number of lasting connections being made are significantly smaller than they could be. Brandais decided to change the game and rewrite the way we’re connecting online, whether it’s for business or pleasure. We caught up with the app’s founder and CEO about her motivation behind the concept and how we can all benefit from using it.
Tell me about your idea for Renge, what initially inspired the app idea?
Coming from the entertainment industry as a producer and line producer, my next job was highly dependent on my network: “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know” could not ring more true; however, it was always a struggle to find who I needed to know to secure my next project and, thus, a roof over my head.
Spamming people on business- networking platforms and tirelessly meeting as many people as possible at events and LA “hot spots” in hopes of meeting the right people was exhausting and often times ineffective. When I wasn’t meeting people through referrals, I mostly increased my network through serendipitous moments at coffee shops or venues outside of conferences.
Opportunity is always around us but often times missed. Renge germinated from the desire to help people focus their time and efforts when seeking new relationships. Instead of engaging in countless hours of small talk or hopelessly waiting for a message back, Renge helps people meet in real time and in real life with those who share complementary interests.
But, what initially started as a network efficiency platform soon became a mission to reconnect people beyond the world of “likes.” As huge proponents of Tristan Harris’ Time Well Spent Movement, which theorizes addiction to screen-time has a direct correlation to mental health disorders resulting from increased isolation, we saw Renge as a tool to help people combat social media’s unintended backlash by creating deeper, lasting relationships, which only take place when meeting in real life. The advent of social media and the “swipe” culture has garnered staying power in today’s society but, at Renge, we work on improving technology to positively affect humanity by bringing back that irreplaceable IRL experience.
What’s different about it? What do you not like about other apps that you’re trying to address here?
Unfortunately, most platforms designed to “connect” people never get past the DMs. But how can a deep and lasting relationship form without ever meeting? Renge is designed to connect people in real life. At any location, see who’s in the same room and who shares common interests to simply meet up in real time and in real life.
Where and how do you hope people use it?
Our hope is to inspire people to take action in their lives by cultivating new and lasting relationships in Renge. We encourage all of our users to go out, get in Renge, and start meeting new people (and not just their avatar).
What were doing before this, how did your past work experience support starting your own company?
Before starting Renge, I worked as film producer, which is very similar to starting a company. The skills as a producer, leading teams of people in the single goal of bringing to life an idea and sharing it with the world helped vastly when starting a company which also involves leading teams of people in the single goal of bringing to life an idea and sharing it with the world. In both fields, I work on creating a new reality from ideation.
In film, projects are released to inspire an audience which may either succeed or flop. Either way, after one project is done, it’s on to the next. In starting a company, however, we experience the joy of not just inspiring people but helping to make their daily lives easier and better. We also have the luxury of being able to adapt to our users if a product wasn’t well received. A flop is never the end; instead, it’s a measurement of where to improve.
What has the development process been like so far, finding a team and getting the support to make it happen?
The development process has surprisingly pushed personal development and self-awareness. Putting out daily fires and overcoming that struggle has always been engrained in me, especially in film production; but, learning to keep that mental strength throughout this marathon instead of a per project basis like a film sprint has been the most educational and rewarding experience. Not every pitch will be a win and that’s ok, not every metric goal will be achieved and that’s ok; but, how do we learn from these moments (also known as data points) to optimize and do better? Everything is simply data optimization. Through this process, Renge has grown from an idea to a launched product on the App Store with an executive team growing the platform to help our users create meaningful relationships.
What’s an average day like?
An average day is usually comprised of meetings and emails – either selling, pitching, or optimizing with the team.
What’s next for Renge?
Renge is currently growing in the Southern California market, predominantly Los Angeles and San Diego and we’re looking forward to growing the marketing in Northern California and nationally.