Since saying the final farewell to Loco2 three years ago, it’s safe to say that my life has changed a lot. After over a decade in Hackney I moved to Machynlleth in rural mid-Wales, became a father, experienced my first pandemic, chaired lots of board meetings, and became a director of a new local electric car club.
I’ve recently spent a lot of time on a startup which I’m excited to now make public:
Squaddle is a new tool for organising group sports and other social get-togethers. It works with WhatsApp (or email), so there’s nothing to download.
Building an app focused primarily on sport is quite a departure from my previous professional focus on sustainability and so I’ve been a bit nervous about announcing it to the world. I don’t want people to think I’ve given up on trying to tackle climate change as I still care passionately about building a low carbon world. However, after spending my life trying to convince people to take trains instead of planes, it’s been refreshing to focus on something different for a bit.
Playing non-competitive football has enhanced my physical and mental wellbeing since childhood and was a particularly important part of my weekly routine during the most stressful periods of Loco2.
So when faced with the pain of organising a weekly kickabout (it would often take a couple of hours every Tuesday to confirm who was playing and chasing up late payments), I couldn’t help but start building something to solve the problem. It soon became clear that Squaddle could have applications outside of sport, and that there was an opportunity to help people spend far less time on their phones when organising a wide variety of group activities.
Taking inspiration from the Center for Humane Technology (and my own direct experience of phone addiction), we’ve designed Squaddle to minimise notifications and screen time, with the goal that eventually activities and events on Squaddle can become entirely self-organising.
I’m lucky to be working with some great and passionate people who have been designing and building Squaddle with me. We’ve been testing as we go, initially with a single group in Hackney, and now with a number of groups around the country.
We’re now going public and are opening our beta to new signups. So if you know someone who organises sport or another group activity, please tell them to head to squaddle.co.uk (you can also follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn).
I’m really excited (and nervous!) to hear what you think!