An Australian social platform designed to help people with disabilities make friends and expand their social circle has launched in a bid to reduce loneliness.
Founded by CEO Steve Bear, Alvie was born out of a first-hand realization of how difficult it can be for children with disabilities to find friends they can relate to.
The Queensland-based social platform was created to break down the barrier of social isolation for people with disabilities. Bear, who ran night camps for children with disabilities for many years, saw the importance of connecting with like-minded souls who share similar life experiences, interests, and hobbies.
“From my experience working with many children with all kinds of disabilities, I understand that loneliness and isolation is one of the biggest challenges these children face on a daily basis, and can lead to a lack of personal and social development, as well as increased risk of mental illness,” Bear said.
“Building Alvie was an opportunity to provide disabled people of all ages with a safe space created just for them, where they feel comfortable, accepted for who they are and experience more social interactions that hopefully will lead to meaningful friendships.”
Alvie’s algorithm is designed to build an experience that matches members based on similarities in interests, location, age, and hobbies.
“Alvie’s aim is to match people with disabilities who have similar interests and hobbies so that they can easily connect, form meaningful friendships and get the most out of life,” said Mr Bear.
In addition to one-on-one online chats, the NDIS-friendly app offers help facilitating face-to-face meetings. There are AI-powered content moderation systems to ensure chats (and potentially harmful content) are monitored.
Bear is focused on user safety, so the onboarding process includes an Australian police check and other steps prior to certified membership.
The Alvie web app is free to users until mid-February, and anyone who signs up with the platform during the 90-day free period will receive a 50% discount on membership.