How are you funded? You worked with 88pmh on your previous start-up, CableKiosk. What are the advantages of collaborating with a start-up incubator? Give us some insight into your customer base: Who’s using it the most? How do you plan to expand and evolv
than current models of online dating.
It’s been a huge branding and marketing exercise for us; creating a service that’s cool to do and not explicitly online dating, but rather a really fun way to meet cool new people. We understand that in order to succeed in this air of stigma, Weaver needs to be social proofed first. Word of mouth has been key to this.
So the short answer is yes, we see ourselves as a catalyst that can shift this way of thinking. It has been a combination of bootstrapping and f unding through 88mph, a technology incubator in Cape Town. Everyone in the space kind of helps each other out, shares experiences and often finds ways to form partnerships. You are also exposed to really successful people in industry who offer invaluable advice and direction. Start-up incubators normally also offer investment which makes it a lot easier to get off the ground and accelerate growth. But the key focus from day one was to think big and learn how to build a business that scales. The majority of our users are in their mid-twenties and the split between males and females is fairly evenly distributed. It was interesting in that our first few months, about 70% of our users were females. These users are typically young, working professionals who are looking to network and meet new people. In the near future, we want to be in every major city in South Africa as well as testing out other African markets too. We’ve started taking signups in Kenya so that will be our first international pilot project. There are also niches that we would love to diversify our current service into, such as an older age group.
In the grand scheme of things, we see ourselves as becoming an offline social network. We believe we can extend this into other forms of social meet-ups that involve shared experiences. Things like fitness, cooking, educational, and professional networking. We take pride in our matchmaking. We have member experience officers whose job it is to match, communicate and coordinate all the groups (they are even on standby during the evening so you can message them if there are any questions or issues). The matching is half-algorithm and half-human curation; this we believe is our secret sauce. We’ve had our share of teething problems as the matching has been an ever-learning process, but generally the reception has been great. The big bad wolf in our horror story was having a group not pitch, but luckily it has happened only once.
Kiril Dobrev Andrew Lynch