• Vancouver Tech Journal
  • Posts
  • Startup Spotlight: Connectcz is the new Vancouver-based app for introverts looking to make new connections in 100 countries

Startup Spotlight: Connectcz is the new Vancouver-based app for introverts looking to make new connections in 100 countries

Founder and software engineer, Amit Goldy, shares why he risked leaving an award-winning Silicon Valley startup to bootstrap Connectcz

Welcome to Vancouver Tech Journal’s startup spotlight series, where we dive into companies building in Vancouver.

Growing up in Patna, India, Amit Goldy used to say he wanted to be like James Bond.

“I thought he invented the steam engine,” Goldy explained. “I remember telling myself I, too, wanted to build something that everyone would use one day.”

In pursuit of this goal, Goldy became a programmer right when the internet and smartphones became available in almost all corners of the world. To him, the timing was lucky.

“It’s never been easier for someone to build something and put it out there for everyone to use than for someone who writes code today.”

Goldy studied computer engineering at the University of Pretoria in South Africa before moving back to India. There, he became drawn to cognitive science — which had just been introduced at the time — and decided to get a master's degree in the field.

In just two years, Goldy was introduced to psychology, neuroscience, linguistics, decision-making, and behavioural economics. He wanted to pursue a PhD in computational linguistics and received an offer from Edinburgh University, but due to financial constraints, he moved to Bengaluru for work.

Goldy would join Flipkart, an e-commerce company and the biggest name in the Indian startup ecosystem. After moving up from a product solution engineer to software development engineer, Goldy packed his bags again and moved to Vancouver — just a few months before the COVID-19 pandemic hit.

In Vancouver, Goldy worked as a staff engineer for Motive, the San Francisco-based fleet management platform for trucking and logistics. While it was a well-paying job, Goldy eventually left to pursue his own startup journey with Connectcz.

After launching and sharing the news on Reddit, the app gained some traction, garnering about 100 sign-ups in less than 36 hours and extremely positive user feedback. Amid the momentum, Goldy sat down with the Vancouver Tech Journal to share his story and plans for growth.

What’s your elevator pitch?

Socializing doesn't always mean events and large gatherings. Many of us find it challenging to make meaningful connections in crowded settings. It's also hard to find an event that matches your schedule and preferences when you have an impulse to go out.

Connectcz is a platform for connecting people through low-key activities like walks, drinks, hiking, coffee, gym, and more. We’re building the most frictionless platform for connecting people in the physical world, without the overhead of managing groups and events and with a strong focus on individual preferences and spontaneity. We have also made it free for anyone to post new invitations.

When did you start your company?

I’ve been tinkering with the idea since early 2023. I quit my job and started working on it full-time in late November 2023.

What was the catalyst behind starting your company?

Just a few months after I moved to Vancouver, we were hit by COVID-19. I had to wait three years before I could start making some local connections. 

As many of us do, I turned to meetup events. Walking up to random strangers in a crowd, starting small talk, and asking for their phone numbers has never been my way of making friends. Doing that over and over again and flitting through the crowd was incredibly draining. What added to the exhaustion was pinging each new person I met individually to check their availability the next time I had an impulse to go out. 

I quickly realized I had to find another way to meet new people, but I couldn’t find an app that allowed me to do it in the way I preferred: through small, low-key activities like coffee or drinks and with room for spontaneity and individual preference. Eventually, I decided to build an app myself.

What problem is Connectcz solving?

More than 50 per cent of us identify as introverts. 

Introverts tend to find it hard to make connections at crowded gatherings. This makes them the largest underserved segment of users by the current popular meetup apps. Loneliness is at its peak and is, by some estimates, as bad as smoking 15 cigarettes a day. We need more inclusive and innovative social tools.

Making spontaneous connections over informal activities also has a general appeal beyond introverts. Today, many people post on social media groups asking if someone wants to go for hikes, biking, or coffee — but those posts aren't searchable and often get buried among other random posts. Users have no control over who sees them in their feed, if at all, and when.

Connectcz is building the most frictionless and inclusive social networking platform for connecting people in the physical world.

What markets are you in?

We’re active primarily in the Metro Vancouver area. Our platform is designed to cater to adults of all ages. We aim to expand to other major cities in Canada and the US over the next year and eventually into international markets.

How big is your team?

Right now, I’m working with a few contractors who help me with design and marketing. I've been using GPT-4 and Github Copilot so extensively that they almost qualify as team members.

Are you hiring?

Yes, we’re looking to hire two marketing interns in Vancouver. I’m also searching for a co-founder with experience in marketing in this domain and, ideally, in international expansion. We plan to bring more engineers on board over the next three months.

Have you raised money?

No, we’re fully bootstrapped. Our app was made generically available just a couple of weeks ago. The feedback and engagement on the app have been highly encouraging. Now that we have data establishing people want what we are building, we have started approaching investors and accelerators.

Are you profitable?

Not yet. Based on our projections and current burn rate, we expect to become profitable once we reach approximately 10,000 users on the platform. Our operational costs are very low, which supports our path to profitability.

What does Connectcz need right now?

Right now, we have two needs:

  • Visibility: We're actively seeking alternative channels to tell more people about what we have built, especially the expats, students, and seniors.

  • Funds: Additional funding is critical for us at this stage. It will enable us to scale our marketing efforts beyond organic growth. We’re tapping into a large, underserved market here. With the right investment at this stage, we can grow very rapidly.

Where do you want Connectcz to be in 3, 6, and 9 years?

If you look at the revenue of the largest meetup platforms today, it’s nowhere near what the likes of Facebook are generating. I think that can change with a bit of innovation. Here’s how I visualize the future of Connectcz.

  • 3 years: Connectcz is now present in about 100 countries. It’s the global name that comes to mind when people talk about making local connections. We’ve developed robust search and target engines. Users can post invitations and specify who the target audience is. For example, my mom visiting me in Vancouver just posted a coffee invitation with targets specified as ‘Females’ in their ’60s-70s’ who speak ‘Hindi’ and live within ‘10km’, and immediately found someone to talk to.

  • 6 years: Connectcz has developed an accurate recommendations engine from the data gathered over the years. This engine can predict which invitations a user may enjoy more and bubble them up. We’ve developed an in-house ads platform. When someone wants to grab dinner, local restaurants offer them deals through our app.

  • 9 years: With the state-of-the-art search, targeting, and recommendations engine and an in-house ads platform, we’re the largest and the most frictionless platform for connecting humans IRL. Our biggest challenge is companies offering AI companions (laughs).

Looking back on the early days of starting Connectcz, what was the biggest challenge faced? How did you overcome it?

The biggest challenge for me has been multitasking. When I code, I don’t do well with interruptions. I think most programmers are like that. But as a founder, especially a solo one, you have to constantly switch hats. There are so many things that cannot wait.

To solve this, until we can hire more engineers, I try to code at night and keep my days open for all the ad-hoc work.

How can people connect with you?

I’m available on LinkedIn. You can also find me on Connectcz with a coffee or a beer invitation around Burnaby on weekends.

Don't miss out on what’s happening in your backyard. Subscribe or become a member of Vancouver Tech Journal.


or to participate.