Staying connected with friends and family has never been easier than it is today. Although, over the past couple of years, creating memorable experiences with loved ones has become increasingly more challenging as the pandemic continues to keep us apart. But with the New Year now here, resolutions to stay connected with those we care about could be made far less challenging thanks to the launch of one innovative new app.
Founded by three brothers from Orlando, Florida, the OpaLink app stands to be the first of its kind, offering virtual dining experiences at ten locations across Orlando. Set to launch in the first quarter of 2022, OpaLink has already seen hundreds of signups from users, prompting the brothers to look into expanding the app’s features into the Tampa area in the near future.
“The OpaLink application was built from the heart,” says Rohan Doodnauth, one OpaLink’s co-founders. Because Rohan and his brothers’ family live in different areas all over the world, the three brothers became determined to help bring others together and help them to create memories, regardless of the distance between them. “No matter what part of the world you live in,” Rohan adds, “OpaLink can help you stay connected with the ones you care about most.”
Linking connections to form a new experience
OpaLink’s origins began in early 2020, when Rohan and his two brothers and co-founders, Teddy and William, were faced with fears around extended quarantine mandates brought about by the pandemic. Teddy, unable to celebrate his best friend’s birthday with him, called the restaurant his friend was celebrating at, hoping to surprise him by ordering a bottle of wine over the phone. However, the restaurant’s staff declined to take Teddy’s credit card via phone. So, in true entrepreneurial fashion, Teddy turned his disappointment into an idea, spending the remainder of his time in lockdown brainstorming with his brothers on ways they could turn that idea into a tangible and valuable business model.
Because Teddy, Rohan, and their brother William were all finance graduates from UCF who have spent their careers working in the tech industry with the nation’s Big 4 account firms, the brothers used their collective competencies to begin drafting up the model for what would eventually become the OpaLink app. William created the app’s mission, vision, and niche advantages. Teddy created the road map for OpaLink’s product and helped lead the app’s engineers in delivering a finished for it, and Rohan designed the app’s strategy for monetization and long-term financial plan.
OpaLink’s innovative model serves to be a boon for all of its customers. Not only can the app’s general users rely on it to create deeper emotional connections with others while dining out, but the restaurants that partner with it can create additional revenue streams while simultaneously fostering more meaningful dining experiences for their customers.
A one-stop-shop for bridging meaningful interactions
When others are unable to be present for a celebratory dining experience, this is when OpaLink’s platform steps in. As the first mobile app of its kind that allows users to gift food or drinks to their loved ones at a restaurant without having to be physically present, OpaLink bridges the gap between far-flung friends and family in order to help them remain connected to those they care about who cannot celebrate in-person with them.
OpaLink works by providing users with a social timeline where they can inform others of the restaurant or bar they are currently located at through a virtual check-in system. Through the app’s patented technology, loved ones — even from thousands of miles away — can then send each other food, drinks, and other gifts back and forth nearly instantly. In this way, the app serves as a one-stop-shop that grants users a means to interact with one another via its integrated social timeline, connecting directly with the stand-alone device at the establishment to streamline the process of gifting food or drinks. Photos can be shared through the app’s social timeline, which also allows users to message or video chat with others.
“We are on a mission to make celebrations both fun and stress-free—a mission to inspire you to continue making those uniquely human connections and memories,” Rohan told Miami Wire in December of 2021.
What’s next for Opa?
Rohan and his brothers are currently planning to celebrate OpaLink’s launch at one of the app’s participating restaurant partners in their native hometown of Orlando early in 2022, each with their own plans of how they will celebrate the app’s launch; William plans to gift a meal to his parents, Rohan will send a round of drinks to those who doubted them and the others on the app’s development team, and Teddy will finally send his best friend the bottle of wine he still owes him.
Following OpaLink’s launch in Orlando, the Doodnauth brothers plan on heading to the Tampa Bay area of Central Florida where they will begin partnering with additional bars, restaurants, and other establishments throughout the remainder of 2022.