A young entrepreneur has overcome dyslexia to set up the world’s first truly social network.
Hayden Bailey, along with fellow Teesside University graduates Adam Green and Michael Kirby, has launched Orca Mobile, an app designed to encourage users to put down their phones and tablets and meet up face-to-face.
Orca has already secured seed funding worth £32.6k from venture capital fund manager Rivers Capital Partners for the innovative app which contradicts conventional thinking about how online users should interact.
Orca allows users to find and create social gatherings and activities, ranging from gigs to sporting events to pub crawls, or just meeting up for a drink.
Users can meet like-minded people that share their interests and once they have marked that they are attending an activity they can chat within the app to finalise arrangements.
The team were inspired to create the app in order to find new ways to get to get together and socialise.
Hayden said: “There are recent studies which link the increasing use of social media to a rise in depression, as people are not communicating with each other directly.
“Instead, social media encourages you to remain logged into their network.
“In many ways, they are anti-social networks. We’re different, we want people to be truly social. We want people to get out of the house and off their computer or their phone and find new experiences and meet new people.”
The company is now based in Teesside University’s business incubator in the Victoria Building at its Middlesbrough campus.
Orca has already got a community of users within the Tees Valley, particularly amongst the student body at Teesside University, and the team plans to have 20,000 registered users within the next 12 months.
There are variety of ways the app can be monetised either by targeted advertising or by taking commission on tickets sold to events.
The success of Orca represents a personal triumph for Hayden who has lived with dyslexia.
He added: “I’m dyslexic, always have been and always will be. Dyslexics often choose to be the joker of the class to shy away from the academic stage, which is nothing more than a defence mechanism, it’s this defence that means many fail to reach their potential.
“In my time at the University, the staff had a monumental impact on my academic self-belief and I owe them a huge amount for this.”
Orca is available to download on the App Store or Google Play.