Banjo mobile app keeps travelers in touch

June 24, 2011

A missed opportunity to connect with friends at an airport was the impetus behind a new social discovery service targeted at smartphone users.

The free service, Banjo, is the brainchild of 38-year-old tech entrepreneur Damien Patton. It launched this week and is available for iPhone and Android owners.

“It was started because I missed out on a personal connection,” Patton said. “It brings all the social information together into one convenient place on the mobile device.”

Banjo aggregates information from a variety of sources, including popular social networks like Facebook and Foursquare. It keeps users apprised of social activity in a particular spot, whether that’s where they’re currently standing or some 1,000 miles away, Patton explained.

Users decide whether to connect with others or just browse what’s going on at the chosen location, he added, describing his overlay app as having a “ripple effect.”

“It’s like a pebble dropped into a pool of water,” he said. “It brings it back to you.”

Palo Alto, California-based Banjo received an undisclosed round of venture backing late last year led by BlueRun Ventures. For now, Patton said Banjo’s full-time team of five is focused on increasing its user base. Whether the future business model will be revenue or advertising based is yet to be determined, he said.

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