Thanks to one Cobber, there’s an app for that.
The way we communicate with one another today barely resembles the methods of staying in touch employed by previous generations. But one interpersonal holdout from the era of pay phones and pagers still causes anxiety: the icebreaker.
Jake Kohl ’12 is ready to bring the icebreaker into the digital age. His app, Klink, is designed to help take some of the chill out of the cold open by matching users into pairs and giving them a preloaded getting-to-know-you style question to answer. Answer the question correctly by chatting with your partner and voilà, you’ve broken the ice.
“It’s really hard to cold-approach; [Klink] sets up the opportunity to get to know someone,” Kohl says.
Developed as part of Fargo’s Startup Weekend in 2015, Kohl and five partners earned the event’s honorary “Just Do It” award. The team’s aha moment really came, however, when eventgoers used the app to get to know one another at the after-party.
“It was a huge hit. People were using Klink all night,” Kohl says.
The team behind Klink is rolling with the momentum. Since its initial development, Kohl has presented the app at the weekly 1 Million Cups Fargo meetup, a forum for connecting and educating entrepreneurs. Shortly after that, the app was featured in The Forum newspaper in a rundown of local entrepreneurs creating innovative social-networking apps.
“We want this to be more than just a side project,” Kohl says. “We all believe we have a $1 million idea.”
Kohl, who works as a quality assurance engineer for Intelligent InSites, is grateful for the community’s support of entrepreneurs. He believes that events like 1 Million Cups Fargo and Startup Weekend put the right people together to open doors and create opportunities.
“We have a ‘yes we can’ attitude,” Kohl says. “The startup spirit lives on in Fargo.”
Eric Lillehaugen '11 is a content specialist and CMS administrator for Concordia College.