The SEC regulations prohibit us from guaranteeing you will make a return on your investment, or speculate on how big the return could be in any given amount of years. So we thought we’d share this:
At 29 & 34 (respectively) we didn’t just decide to quit our day jobs making a combined total of $90k, invest over $40k of our own money (including the first $15k for us to hire lawyers to incorporate, and start development) for something we weren’t fully committed to, and didn’t truly believe could solve a huge problem, and make dating better, while turning a profit in a market that is already saturated, with a bad reputation… Unless we saw a MAJOR opening!!
Both of us as founders, being single, had tried many of the different dating apps. Not only were we frustrated by the 3-1 men-women ratio commonly found on free dating apps such as Tinder and POF, there were also the bots and love scammers to contend with on all of these apps as well. As we looked into dating apps further, we noticed violent abusers and sexual offenders could easily create fake accounts, second accounts, or even be allowed on to begin with! There was no accountability.
It became clear to us & others that identity verification and background checking with very limited exclusion requirements, would be all it took to ensure people were REAL, and ease those worries of those looking to date about meeting a bad actor or unsavory character. In addition, there’s an in app reporting system so users can add additional notes to the admin if they end up ‘removing’ or ‘blocking’ someone.
During the course of the first 3 months we polled the name, came up with the amazing icon (credit due to Lauren), launched the initial 2 versions of the website concept and started design and development of the app on the first version of the app. During this time we were constantly growing our network with people, and discussing how to make this a quality dating app / network, everyone was looking for.
We knew we needed more than $15k to fund the development, and market testing of our app, so we set out to do some bootstrap raising. We spent this time joining & creating facebook groups, networking on LinkedIn, sharing our product vision, which helped attract volunteers, and other members of our team, including those who are still with us today! People could clearly see the value a product like this would provide!!
Throughout this initial period we connected with 6 different people* (most of whom we had never even met prior in real life before, and limited interaction with the other 2), who helped us get to the starting line. They came together, providing the $47,500 we at the very least needed to get a standard product out, and get it market tested! *It should be noted 4 out of 6 are in a relationship, but still saw the HUGE opening as well as our commitment!
The ideas continuously flow in, and we love to hear peoples’ thoughts on dating and relationships, and how to make a dating app better!! We created a group of over 200 app testers and company friends to help test our new versions of our app, and are always looking for good people to help test and provide valuable feedback.
As we neared the end of October, we officially launched our app. At this point, we had grown our Facebook Audience to over 3k locally targeted subjects. We knew how important it is for a dating app to have a wide range of REAL members in any given area it’s available, so we’ve concentrated building our audience and target customers in regions.
The meer fact we take the time to connect with individuals looking to participate, and help bring a better dating service to their community, provides us with an opportunity to gain trust, and use local regional members’ photos to promote them, in their own areas!!
Hence avoiding the: “yea right, I live in Miami and I saw that girl was local was in Maine for a year two” comment or the,
“I’ve seen this same woman was local for 4 years now. She’s not I checked, I’m on the app
That's why the 3 most important things for us are:
- Building trust and integrity through honesty & transparency.
- Ensuring that we are the #1 or #2 Dating App in any region we are in.
- Not only look to future technology to implement into our dating network, but contentiously looking for other relevant markets (outside of dating) to bring, or add additional products to our apps and company.
We will also continue to provide & expand our dating and relationships education via our blog Revolutionizing Dating. For the 21st century we feel general education lacks this sort of dating and relationship education. We hope to continously be a source for young adults, and any adults of any ages to see what professionals, and even others in the community think about healthy dating and relationships.
After launching our first version we had over a thousand downloads, of which several hundred people completed the registration page, including the sensitive information we need to conduct a background check. Of those that passed the check (95%), 6% immediately paid for the $15/monthly subscription. We further achieved up to 12% total subscription rate through re-marketing tactics like email, and social/google display ads. We hear this are great for initial numbers with such a small budget!!
We quickly ran out of steam with funds for marketing and user acquisition, but were happy with the results we achieved on a budget on only a couple thousand dollars left at this point.
We also knew our app’s looks and features could be upgraded in many spots, and we’d run out steam as far as marketing capital, so we looked to making improvements on the version we are planning to release soon!!
Covid struck, and we were further restricted with funds, however we had been developing a plan to offer marketing work, and provide development services for other startups, through another company called Justify Creatives.
By July, we’d been approved for our Reg CF raise and took another $20k of our own money to finalize this deal, market the raise, and finish the development of the second version of our app. We are working on making the app smoother, and more enjoyable for the members, as well as adding all kinds of additional automatic integrated marketing tools, and faster more secure automated background checking with our new partnership, with Accurate, for a lower cost.
Lauren (IN) and Ryan (IN) each have an equal drive and passion for the success of Love The Network by bringing a better and safer dating app to the market, and connecting those genuinely more serious about dating, or looking for more than a hook up app.
However during the development process of the App it was determined Ryan had the prior knowledge to handle the technical aspects of the company, his prior project management experience continuously helps with planning and executing development projects.
Whilst each trying to agree to decisions, it became clear that Lauren’s decision making was the superior of the two. Her ability to take time, and look at things from multiple angle’s makes her a valuable asset to being the company’s CEO. Additionally she takes an approach with empathy and kindness, while still ensuring hard decisions making capability.