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Sidekick: New social app developed by Rochester native aims to foster authentic connections

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  • Staff Report 

A new mobile application, Sidekick, introduced by Sidekick Enterprises, Inc., co-founded by Pittsford Sutherland graduate Robert Illig, is challenging the conventional social media model. Released for iPhones in February, Sidekick encourages users to forge real-life connections through shared interests, moving beyond the digital sphere to facilitate genuine friendships. Illig, alongside his wife Laura Krebs Illig, initiated Sidekick amidst the COVID-19 lockdown, aiming to counteract the increasing social isolation exacerbated by traditional social media platforms.

DiSanto Propane (Billboard)

The app, devoid of likes, comments, or follower counts, promotes a stress-free environment for building relationships. With the support of Rochester’s community, including a seed funding of $380,000 primarily from local investors, the Illigs envision growing Sidekick from their base in Rochester. Their mission is to create a social catalyst, enabling users to engage in activities and form in-person friendships, a stark contrast to the prevalent online interaction model.

Sidekick introduces unique features such as “Discover” and “Explore” to match users with similar interests, along with “Kickit” invitations to reduce the anxiety of meeting new people. Focused on security and user-driven development, the app aspires to be shaped by its community. Engaging with educational institutions, religious organizations, and health clubs, Sidekick is determined to become a platform crafted by and for humans, fostering a new era of social interaction.