Caleb Elston, of the Class of 2005 at The Gunnery, a private school in Washington, and his business partner recently co-founded Yobongo, an iPhone application.

Mr. Elston, CEO and co-founder of Yobongo, said the app aims to offer people "a place for making new connections" from their mobile device.

He said he hopes the app will "overcome the social pressure to go up to someone and say hello."

To date, tens of thousands have downloaded the Yobongo application, which has been available for a little over a month.

It is available in three cities, San Francisco, New York City and Austin.

"We are doing this at the city level to control growth and to see that conversations stay high quality and don't turn into a bathroom wall," he said. "We don't want this to turn into a creepy AOL chat room."

Yobongo's genesis began several years ago, including Mr. Elston's years at The Gunnery, where he saw people every day.

"When I went to the University of Miami, I thought I would meet my new best friends because there were so many people," he said. "However, it was more like a big city, where you can't talk to people. You don't see people enough to build familiarity."

Mr. Elston has noted a significant change in human interaction within the last five years.

"People will check their smart phones hundreds of times throughout their day," he said. "My sister sleeps with her phone in her bed. It is an extension of her now. For me, my PC is a work machine. My phone is where I socialize."

For more information, e-mail Mr. Elston at or visit