A pair of NBA players are looking to take their decisions to fans with a new social polling app being developed in Baltimore.
Former University of Maryland basketball great Steve Blake and Sacramento Kings player Anthony Tolliver are the first big signees for Arbit, which allows people to poll fans by comparing two photos side-by-side.
Cofounder Alex Bullington, a Loyola University Maryland grad, has been an increasingly familiar face at tech events while working to build the app over the last year. Signing the two basketball players, who also invested an undisclosed amount, marks a milestone as the startup is gathering feedback from a closed beta. The startup is aiming to launch the iOS app in November, followed by Android several months later.
While established social networks like Twitter and Instagram have tried social polling, Bullington and Austin-based cofounder Greg DiNardo believe the driver for Arbit is to use it as a tool to help fans weigh in on what athletes and celebrities should do.
Any user can upload two photos and pose a question. An example would be a poll in which Tolliver asks which shoes he should wear for a game. The questions could even be about non-sports stuff, like what food they should eat. Likewise, it offers a chance for the athletes to break down the walls with the public.
“They’re always looking for a way to connect more with fans,” Bullington said.
In the app, fans can vote and also comment on the polls being proposed by the athletes.
Bullington said he hopes the initial two players will help spread the word about the app to other athletes. Blake is not currently signed to a team for 2016, but the season has yet to start.
Once the app launches, the next challenge is to grow the user base so people will keep coming back.
“We realize how big it can grow, but nothing can be taken for granted,” he said.