Startup develops local chat app


Chalq is a mobile local chat app in the prototype phase. Photo via

A startup is developing a mobile app for chatting with people nearby.

Start Garden, the $15-million seed fund in Grand Rapids, invested $5,000 this month in Chalq.

Local chats

Chalq, which in the prototype stage, uses the location of the user to show relevant messages from within a specific distance.

Chalq is designed to foster connections between local users, by relying on hashtags to determine trending topics.

Hashtagged subjects mentioned in messages are compiled into a list, which users can browse through to filter displayed messages.

All messages posted in the platform are erased after 24 hours.


Chalq will use the funds from Start Garden to develop and launch the chat app.


Andy Peninger, founder of Chalq, said Twitter and other social media are targeted more at global audiences, while Chalq focuses on local communities.

“When people find how easy Chalq is to use and how beneficial it can be, then I believe it will grow,” Peninger said.

The use of chat applications surpassed SMS text messaging for the first time in 2012, according to Switzerland-based Informa, a business information and research company, in April 2013.

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