TORONTO - A Vancouver company is hoping condo-dwelling Canadians have room for one more social network in their lives.
On Wednesday, the company Bazinga announced it has inked a deal with Canada's largest condo developer, Tridel, to integrate its social media platform into the real estate company's new and existing projects.
Bazinga is a little like Facebook â€” allowing residents to chat with each other and building staff â€” and also lets users book amenities, access important documents, and receive news about their community.
"Think of it as your building's (Facebook) wall but it's very interactive," says Bazinga founder Joseph Nakhla.
"You can post things, there's alerts â€” like keep an eye open on this issue, did anyone lose a bag, is anyone looking for a car pool partner â€” information on nearby businesses. It's very specific conversations that are occurring on the platform, what differentiates it from other platforms is there's heavy utility in there.
"And it's private, it's secure, it has only the people who are owners or tenants, there's no such thing as an anonymous presence on the platform."
Before the Tridel contract, Bazinga was connected to more than 500 buildings, says Nakhla, noting that the social platform is also being used by builders of subdivisions and gated communities.
Securing the deal with Tridel, which he called "a blue-chip brand," is a huge win for the company as it works to expand the concept not just in Canada, but in the U.S. and abroad.
"The No. 1 thing is validation," he says. "And it gives us access to essentially the largest community developer moving forward in the country, which increases our home portfolio."
Developers are excited about the ability to start communicating online with homeowners before their building is even built, Nakhla says. Digital tools include an app to manage the pre-delivery inspection process on a mobile device.
Developers of new buildings pay a licensing fee to implement Bazinga up front, while existing properties that want the service will have the cost paid by the property management company or maintenance fees.
Nakhla says Bazinga costs no more than $2 per user per month, which he says compares well against the typical costs for photocopying and postage that condo boards pay.
"Just eliminating paper and photocopying and postage costs you pretty much save money," he argues.
"We're all about suppressing paper and killing that cost out of everyone's budget."
Nakhla says he eventually wants Bazinga to be free and monetized by selling other services on the platform. He imagines integrating the offerings of other companies â€” like insurance brokers, for exampleâ€” into the website and taking a commission when users pay for services within Bazinga.
As for the social network's name, Nakhla says it is a nod to the "Big Bang Theory" catchphrase popularized by the character Sheldon Cooper and notes that it was legally cleared.
"We have an agreement with the show, we're not stepping on their toes and vice versa."