June 11th, 2015
A few days back we were honored to sponsor another great local hackathon in the Bay Area. AngelHack SF, hosted at the MuleSoft offices in San Francisco, brought together 40 teams to compete over one weekend and build MVP’s (Minimum Viable Products) of their newly developed ideas. There were a ton of great submissions but for Branch-fans, there was only one that we were especially excited about: Huddle.
Huddle is an app that was designed to transform the daunting task of organizing group travel experiences. Instead of lengthy email chains or messy google docs, Huddle aggregates activities, eateries, and places to stay based on where you and your group want to travel. It then shares these choices with the group, allowing each individual to “like” or “reject” an activity.
Once everyone has voted, Huddle then ranks the activities based on popularity within your travel group. You can pick and choose which activities you’d like to attend and Huddle will generate an itinerary. When the entire group decides on a perfect itinerary, Huddle can automatically make all the reservations for the group. Pretty sweet, right?
To top it all off, Huddle integrated Branch contextual deep links so users can easily share their itineraries with friends and family who may not have the app. With this app and Branch’s SDK integration, Huddle took home the first place prize and will move on the tngelHack championships!
We caught up with, Ashwin Kumar, Xander Peterson, and Alice Wang of the Huddle team to learn more about where they came from, why they came together, how they came up with the idea, and what it took to integrate Branch.
We’ve all known each other for years – Alice and I are friends from high school, and Xander and I were fraternity brothers at UCLA. We came together for this event because we really wanted a chance to work with each other and this seemed like the perfect place to collaborate on a project.
The idea initially came from a conversation that Alice and I had a while back. She mentioned she had gone on a vacation with some friends and was frustrated about the trip planning process – especially trying to get every group member’s input on where to go on their vacation. We fleshed out the idea a bit more to address some other pain points we discovered from talking to potential users – sourcing locations & activities to visit, and organizing an itinerary based on group results.
We first saw Branch on the hackathon’s event page and did some research on the product. We mainly used Branch to help set the groundwork for a referral program within the application – since it’s a social app, Huddle’s growth and utility increases as more friends use the application. The implementation process was extremely easy and straightforward, and we had Branch implemented within 10 minutes. The immediate feedback and walk-through for the integration made it extremely simple – seeing the ‘successful integration’ button turn green was really helpful!
We’re doing some more user research and testing to see what features users would find the most compelling. After some more tweaking, we hope to try and get together a beta version that we can test more thoroughly.
Congrats again to the Huddle team. We look forward to watching your app grow!