Hankster matches people with another group who have similar interests, arranges meetings
A group of computer-engineering students at King Mongkut’s University of Technology Thonburi have developed Hankster Club, a group-hangout matchmaking service that pairs up groups of three people each.
Hankster Club matches people with another group who have similar interests and tastes. It arranges the meetings at well-known pubs and restaurant in popular areas of Bangkok such as Thonglor-Ekkamai or Khaosan Road, pre-arranging welcome drinks for six persons, said Amad Suwannarat, the club’s co-founder and chief executive officer.
“People just register at www.hanksterclub.com, choose a night they want to meet and have fun, invite two friends and submit the [matching request],” he said.
Instead of one-on-one matchmaking, Hankster Club came up with the idea of matching two groups of three. It creates a new experience for people who want to form new relationships, socialise and join a community of fun. Nightlife lovers can use this matchmaking service to make this happen.
“Hankster Club offers a new matchmaking experience that is a fun, safe, no-pressure way to form real relationships,” Amad said.
“We believe that real relationships have to be formed outside the home or a computer monitor. We believe that nightlife society is about more than just drinks and bad things. It is about finding good new friends, an enjoyable and unforgettable experience.
“Our vision is to create a society of fun, friends and hangouts that we have never seen before. If we think about finding new ‘real’ friends, new experiences of life and fun, everybody must think of Hankster Club,” he said.
He added that one out of three adult Thais was single, and half of them think matchmaking services are not bad. They are the targeted groups expected to join this service.
Researchers find that small social circles, a lack of relationships, and shyness are the most common reasons people cannot either meet a mate or feel better about being single. Actually there are many ways to find a soulmate, such as normal matchmaking services or online dating services and applications.
“However, we think matchmaking services are quite expensive and put people in high-pressure situations. Online dating is not expensive or may even be free, but we can’t expect much of a result from these services and they are also not safe,” Amad said.
Hankster Club was launched in March. Currently, it has more than 200 members and there have been more than 50 matching requests. The service aims to acquire 1,000 members and make more than 10,000 matches, which could earn Bt3 million in the first year. The targeted users are university and college students and first-jobbers between 20 and 35 years old. The service fee for each match is Bt500 per person per match, or Bt1,500 per group per match.
“We could also make a profit from a margin on drinks and food at the pubs and restaurants where we set up the matches,” Amad said.
After its initial launch in Bangkok, the service is scheduled to expand to big cities throughout the country such as Chiang Mai, Chon Buri and Khon Kaen. It also aims to expand into other countries in Asia in the future.
Hankster Club is one of five finalist teams of True Incube Class 2, a technology-incubating programme for Thai start-ups with creative ideas. The five teams, which were selected from more than 100 applicants, will receive support to become entrepreneurs and grow their businesses internationally. They will receive initial funding of Bt500,000 plus an opportunity to join an intensive 99-day “Boot Camp” as well as full support from True and the programme’s partners.
“We began the idea of Hankster Club last year and have developed and brainstormed it since then. We think True Incube could make our project come true. Besides the funding support, its mentors and advisers have experience in the real business of start-ups and could help us a lot in building our business,” Amad said.
However, he acknowledged that the team had suffered a setback. It tried to start running a software house named Delisoft, selling and developing website and mobile applications. Unfortunately, they discovered it was not going to work, and decided to close Delisoft and start doing something they were passionate with – Hankster Club.
“Once we got the idea of Hankster Club, we researched this kind of business and found that there is a service like this in the US called Grouper. It’s a service to set up drinks between two groups of three. Grouper was a tech start-up in New York. It became quite popular and successful in the US, expanding to 20 states, and then to London. Last year, it made more than Bt200 million.”