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

Finweek English Edition - - ENTREPRENEUR - Kelly Berold

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

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