In an endless sea of apps, it's hard to make a splash. Lucky for Andrew Butash, his was an idea that sparked excitement among investors and potential users alike. Gypsy Circle, a social travel network, allows users to keep abreast of their friends' travel plans, making it easy to see who you'll know in upcoming destinations before arriving. It's a solid concept, delicately and tastefully executed, which Butash readily admits has helped draw people in.
"Our design of the app is clean, elegant, and elevated," he explains. "I think people really respond to that. Especially our target demos, who are millennials, or professionals, or college kids—they're more likely to respond positively to a really beautiful app."
Of course, there's more to a product than looks, and Gypsy Circle delivers where it counts. After connecting with friends, travel itineraries they've uploaded will show up on a feed, and connections will receive a push notification whenever someone uploads new plans. The app also offers free international messaging (in a Wes Anderson color palette, Butash is keen to add), and the ability to "travel stalk" friends, or see where they've been, which makes it easy to reach out for recommendations. It's perfect for someone on the move, allowing users to instantly and easily sync up itineraries with people they've just met. And with the addition of a new travel feed in an upcoming version, all the information you could want is in one place.
Gypsy Circle, which was recently certified by the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, wouldn't have been possible without the support of the LGBT tech organization StartOut, Butash insists. "It's an LGBT entrepreneurial group," he explains. "They give lectures, help you find mentors, host advice panels—it's just a killer network. Without them, I don't think I'd be as developed as I am now. They really nurtured Gypsy." He then adds, "I didn't expect the tech industry to be the most friendly experience of my life, professionally. That was kind of a shock."
Did being gay affect his experience in the industry? Not at all, he says. "In my experience so far, the gay thing hasn't been an issue—either good or bad. No one's been judgmental about it. There's no stigma around being gay in tech because I think tech is such a young industry, it's dominated by millennials or people who are just very liberal anyway."
Ahead of any orchestrated marketing campaigns, users are currently centered mostly in New York City, Washington D.C., and San Francisco, but it's always expanding.