Barry Hinckley brings Bostonians together with his insta-party app, YotMe.
Just how deeply does entrepreneur Barry Hinckley believe in his latest venture? He used it to invite guests to his 50th birthday party. “Literally 40 percent of the people I had never met!” Wait, what? “It may have even been 50 percent,” says Hinckley. “I have to live the brand.”
The brand is YotMe, an app that allows anyone anywhere to host or attend a party in a nearby private home. “It’s a lot like Airbnb,” Hinckley says. “There’s a profile and a rating for each host and guest. It responds to a very simple rule: Treat someone how you want to be treated.” If you don’t? Let’s just say you’re off the holiday card list.
For the rest, however, it’s an insta-party. “My grand vision,” says Hinckley, “[was] to build an app that the minute you decide you want to entertain you can curate the entire event—the food, beverages, cohosts, guests—from your phone.”
Hinckley is no stranger to grand visions. He’s built and sold a company (Bullhorn) and run for the United States Senate, learning the ropes after watching his father and grandfather create Hinckley Yachts, a luxury sailing and picnic-boat company, based in Southwest Harbor, Maine. So far, YotMe has raised $500,000 in funding and boasts 5,000 members. Not bad for a barely four-month-old company. It’s just the tip of the cocktail iceberg, Hinckley says. “I’m trying to create a global society.”