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Monday, April 29, 2013

Bang with Friends Attracts Investors, Yet It's Still Easier to Text Someone for a Booty Call

Posted By on Mon, Apr 29, 2013 at 2:30 PM

click to enlarge bang_with_friends.jpg

Bang With Friends, the prurient web application that allows you to click on Facebook friends and invite them for a roll in the hay, has evidently raised $1 million in its first round of venture funding. Yep, you read that right -- $1 million for an app that was created by three (probably) drunk tech/bros in a single evening, which is as much as you need to know about the production values.

Needless to say, it doesn't exactly work.

I tried test-running the app this Saturday in a controlled setting -- controlled, meaning

myself and another journalist sat side-by-side on a couch, equipped with identical MacBooks, attempting to get the app to get us to bang each each (who said being a newspaper reporter was the worst job in America?)

After 20 disappointing minutes which ended in no banging, we gave up and asked the "mysterious" Bang With Friends CEO to troubleshoot the lack of banging going on. He eventually made the virtual bang happen,and explained to me that the app doesn't always like the Safari browser (leave your Safari gripes in the comment section). It's also confined to a desktop site, which means that if you were hoping to discretely find someone to bang via your smartphone, you'd have to got through the whole rigmarole of loading the mobile app first -- and that's more effort than actually just banging someone.

In short, emailing or text messaging a potential booty call is much faster and more efficient (yet probably not as reliable), which kinda seems to defeat the purpose of the app entirely.

And yet, Bang With Friends has somehow become the new Saturday night meat market, successful enough to curry favor with deep-pocketed investors including Tim Draper, founder of Draper University of Heroes -- and Great Oaks Venture Capital, Business Insider reported this morning.

It's also coasting on media spin, inspired largely by the 28-year-old CEO's refusal

to divulge his identity. Known only as "C," he's created an allure around Bang With Friends, and spoon-fed the press a mystery calculated enough to give his app the sex appeal it needs. And it's working.

While reporters debate about the moral quality of an app that's covered with penis pictures, Bang With Friends has still earned press in Forbes, Daily Beast, Buzzfeed, Vice, as well as a slew of other publications. It's inspired salty op-ed pieces in the Huffington Post. Reporting on the deal today, TechCrunch writer Greg Kuparak called the app "wonderfully controversial" and said it "seems to be on to something."

Which begs the question: Have we all completely lost our minds when it comes to covering tech? One of the biggest problems with the Bang With Friends myth is that the app actually is shrouded in mystery, because nobody but the three founders has access to the download data or the number of users who are actually getting matched up with friends to bang. "C" reports that Bang With Friends garnered 1 million users in 60 days, and told us that of those users, 90 percent had checked someone off in a Facebook list. Roughly 25 percent had found potential matches. Yet there's no way to really test those numbers.

The app itself is extremely primitive. Like a triangle player in a symphony orchestra, it's given one simple task to perform, and, based on my Saturday night experiment, it can't seem to accomplish even that much. Not to mention, it's still a desktop site in a market that's increasingly shifted toward mobile, so it really isn't well-positioned to be the online matchmaker.

However, $1 million in venture capital just might go a long way. It seems that at one

time, technology was about making life easier, and now it's about making a product

quickly in order to flip it.

Bang With Friends is a new nadir.


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About The Author

Rachel Swan

Rachel Swan

Bio:
Rachel Swan was a staff writer at SF Weekly from 2013 to 2015. In previous lives she was a music editor, IP hack, and tutor of Cal athletes.

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