Startup Pilots a Social Network for Condos

Bazinga Technologies Inc. founder Joseph Nakhla | BCBusiness
Bazinga Technologies Inc. founder Joseph Nakhla

Looking to connect with your condo-dwelling neighbours? There’s an app for that

“We think that neighbours should be neighbours,” says Joseph Nakhla, founder of Bazinga Technologies Inc. Compared to his grandmother’s native Egypt, where her relatives regularly used their neighbour’s landline—the only at the building—at all hours, living in Vancouver can be an isolating experience. A 2012 Vancouver Foundation report found that more than half of us have never so much as picked up the mail for our neighbours.
Nakhla’s company is trying to rectify that problem with a social media app purpose-built for the condo-dwelling population. “Bazinga!” is an app that connects people living in the same building with one another and with property managers. And it’s just connected a lot more people: on Wednesday the company announced a partnership with Toronto residential giant Tridel, which adds 100 new buildings to its network. Nakhla expects the total number of condos using his network to hit 100,000 over the next few years. It currently sits at 55,000.
“It’s the biggest validation we could get,” says Nakhla.
Users of the app can message their neighbours publicly and privately, book amenities, and look up building information such as lease documents. Nakhla claims the app is used by 75 per cent of the residents where it’s available, and that on average those people are checking it twice a day.
Chris Severs, who sits on the strata of his townhome complex in South Surrey, recently convinced his strata to sign on. Although there is a cost, which he did not disclose, he estimates it will save the strata 15 to 20 per cent in office costs.
“It was a pretty easy decision to get it going,” he says. The strata has yet to start using the app, but he sees it being used mostly for telling residents about things like incoming maintenance or landscaping contractors.
Severs did, however, encounter pushback on privacy matters. Residents were hesitant to hand over sensitive data without knowing how it would be used. Their concerns are not baseless: social apps are routinely hacked, and Bazinga holds sensitive information that could make a user an easier or more appealing target for break-ins. So far the company has not reported any security breaches.