Formerly known as Estimeet, the group behind the app is already garnering huge support, having won the innovation section at Microsoft’s Imagine Cup world finals in Seattle last year (earning them $50,000 in prize money) and a spot on Lightning Lab’s recent Demo Day pitch event this year.
The brains behind the invention, Hayden Do and Jason Wei first met in high school, sharing an interest in technology. They were then introduced to third Tomato member, Chris Duan, through the Microsoft Student Accelerator where the team worked on web applications for The Warehouse over the summer holidays.
The rest, as they say, is history.
Do says that as people’s day to day commitments increase, ‘catching up’ for some people now involves little more than commenting on friends’ Facebook posts. He also says that relying on triggers such as Facebook leaves the task of maintaining friendships essentially up to chance. That’s a problem Tomato is designed to change.
“There are a lot of big players in the market,” says Do, “but no one has gotten [the real-life relationship aspect of social media] quite right yet.”
“We want to become the bridge between the digital and real life. We see a world where people are truly connected and relationships are stronger,” he says.
Image: Team Tomato, formerly know as Estimeet, winning the group innovation section at the Microsoft Imagine Cup.
Their inclusion in the 2015 Lightning Lab programme (for which they received $18,000 seed funding and an undisclosed amount from interested investors) gave the group an opportunity learn from some of the nest mentors in the country and to make some valuable connections in the process.
“We had a lot of people who approached us after the event – all interested in what we’re doing. There’s been people who want to invest, people that want to help us, and people who want to be updated on our progress.”
Do believes that the secret behind getting investors to support your idea is having a vision and have a great time in the process.
“The people that have supported our idea are those who believe in us as a team and see the big vision that we are going after.”
Do says that Tomato is still in its early stages, and currently available only for Android users, but the team are working around the clock to develop the app for use across iOS and Windows and adding features all the time.