New social app launches for Valencia: Find your buddies!

A new social app launches in Valencia to help you find buddies by creating events and sharing social plans. Eugene Costello speaks to the founders…

A new social app launches in Valencia to help you find buddies by creating events and sharing plans. It’s the brainwave of Gavin and Alina Reid to fill the space between Meet Up, WhatsApp and Facebook groups. The point of BuddyApp is to put the social back into social media.

First, the founders. Gavin, 41, originates from near Belfast, Northern Ireland. He chose the path of teaching English to foreigners, and moved to Madrid in 2010, where he met his wife, Alina, also a teacher. It wasn’t Gavin’s first foray into the hispanic world. He’d spent a year in Colombia doing the same thing previously. Madrid was Alina’s first role.

After a couple of years, the pair moved to Vietnam to teach English. They spent four years there. This really helped the pair gain an insight into the challenges facing expats. Says Alina, “It was ultimately why we left Vietnam. We loved the country and the culture, but forming friendships was incredibly difficult.” What was lacking, they felt, was a solution that allowed you to join others on their plans and events. And equally to invite others to your own events. There was a lack of any way to find like-minded people and invite them along to your own plans. 

After Vietnam, they headed back to the UK, to Brighton. Alina says, “That’s when we realised it was not just a lack of shared cultural outlook. It was also the fact that many people already had their circle of friends. So it became a challenge to find the right people and to insert yourself into their hectic social schedules.”

Find buddies by creating events and sharing social plans

They moved to Petxina in Valencia in 2019 and decided to make it their home. They have been here ever since. Gavin started to teach at some of the international schools, while Alina works for a UK examination board. But the idea had been sparked.

Says Gavin, “Over a beer, Alina asked if I could do anything, what would that be? We had decent enough jobs and a lovely flat, but something still felt missing.” Gavin returned to his feeling that there was a space unserved by existing tech. One that allows people to build social circles and have fun in the real world. Though not historically a tech or app kind of person he began to devise what is now ready to launch. BuddyApp.

Gavin adds, “We were tired of social networking apps that seemed more like a popularity contest than a genuine way to connect with people. That’s why we made BuddyApp. Unlike many apps, the point of BuddyApp is to encourage people to get off their backsides and get out there and have fun in real life.”

So how does BuddyApp work?

It couldn’t be more straightforward. Simply download the app from Google Play or the Apple Store. Once downloaded, you can create a profile with some basic information about yourself. Age, languages you speak, your interests and so on. This helps others to see whether you are likely to click and to form connections.

Once you have created your profile, you can start making plans and sharing them. These can be small or big. Says Gavin, “Anything from meeting up to walk the dog up to heading to Madrid for an exhibition or concert.”

You are free to share these plans either publicly, only with your contacts or even just a select few of your contacts. The app is completely free and ad-free.  

As well as publicising your own plans, you can see what other people are suggesting near you. So it can be as much a tool for inspiration as for planning. 

Make your plan. Find your people

Unlike Meetup, which requires you to become administrator of a group with a specific interest, on BuddyApp it’s much more informal. Says Gavin, “We think it fits more with people’s lives. You’re not constricted by the focus of the group you’ve created.”

Alina adds, “You don’t need to have specific interests to share plans. It could be walking the dog in the Turia one day, playing tennis the next or meeting up for yoga or checking out a new bar or café. It’s incredibly laidback and informal.”

Importantly, it avoids the pitfall of Doom Scrolling that plagues sites such as Facebook and Instagram. You use the app only to share plans and get out into the real world. And – crucially – it’s free and always will be.

Says Alina, “Often on Meetup, you see events that are paid for and are essentially advertisements. We intend for BuddyApp to be more organic. It’s about real people sharing what they want to do. It’s not for professional event organisers to advertise recurring events that require you to pay.” 

From here to eternity

Alina and Gavin are an engaging and passionate couple with a vision. BuddyApp has been born out of their own real-life experiences. The saying “Be the change you want to see” could have been invented for them.

Says Gavin, “We conceived of Buddyapp as a real-life solution to a real need. Its aim is to get people off social media and interacting in the real world.”

And what of the future?

Alina says, “We have devised and built BuddyApp as a social tool in Valencia. After all, that is where we live. But now we have built it, there is no reason why it could not work in any city, from Barcelona to Belfast.”  

The point of BuddyApp is to put the social back into social media. It is a tool to encourage real-life friendships and activities. We wish them well.

  • Download BuddyApp free of charge at or your app store
Get our latest news & Offers