Young Upstarts

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So you’re interested in a particular topic – say, Bikram yoga, monocycling or Tantric sex – and you desperately need to find someone to talk to. Of course, you can try trawling numerous online forums or engage in potentially dangerous chatrooms where the person you’re chatting with may not be who they claim to be, but we don’t particularly recommend that.

Here’s where AnybodyOutThere comes in. Tel Aviv, Israel-based AnybodyOutThere (, launched in January this year, is a conversation platform that aims to connect like-minded people to chat in real time on any topic.

“More than anything else we are connecting people online,” says Daniel Sagis, CEO of AnybodyOutThere. “People have a never-ending need to discuss whatever may be on their minds with other like-minded people, but not necessarily within their circle of friends. And, often they don’t have the time or patience for someone to reply to a comment or post. At AnybodyOutThere we’re making it easier for them do just that.”

Here’s how it roughly works: a user posts a message on a particular topic of up to 110 characters. AnybodyOutThere‘s Natural Language Processing (NLP) algorithms then analyze the post and basic demographics of the poster and finds other people who want to talk about that topic, or something closely related. It then recommends a list of other like-minded people for the user to choose from to chat with.

What’s really neat is that aside from using their web interface, you can integrate the service with any instant messaging platform that you already use, such as Yahoo Messenger, Windows Live Messenger, GTalk etc. There are plans to add browser add-ons, website widgets as well as mobile integration, in the future.

AnybodyOutThere is founded by 30-year old serial entrepreneur Daniel Sagis. He had founded a successful trade and outsourcing company in Barcelona between 2003-2006 and prior to founding AnybodyOutThere, Sagis initiated several Internet projects and consulted for leading companies with their internet advertising and go to market strategies.

Sagis first came up with the idea behind AnybodyOutThere when he tried to help his little brother find a music school in the U.S. He spent days signing up for forums and searching through endless chatrooms for someone to speak with on the topic. He finally decided there must be an easier way to find the right people to speak with on any given subject without wasting too much time trying to find the right person to talk to – and AnybodyOutThere was his answer.

Sagis admits that while the opportunities in this space are endless, AnybodyOutThere‘s biggest challenge is reaching critical mass. “In other words, having enough people online so that any given user who posts something will find a good selection of relevant, like-minded people who also want to discuss the same thing,” he explains.

To all aspiring entrepreneurs, Sagis says to never give up on their dreams. “Yes, it’s going to be tough and there are always going to be skeptics, but if you believe in something nobody can stop you,” he says.

Daniel Goh is the founder and chief editor of Young | Upstarts, as well as an F&B entrepreneur. Daniel has a background in public relations, and is interested in issues in entrepreneurship, small business, marketing, public relations and the online space. He can be reached at daniel [at] youngupstarts [dot] com.

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