In the third part of this series, GirlCrew chats to the team at Luvguru who recently got the Competitive Start Fund grant from Enterprise Ireland.
Luvguru is a match making app that allows you to play cupid. So whether you’re single, or not, you can help set up your friends and get rewarded for doing so. “Essentially, Luvguru is a matchmaking and dating platform that allows users to find “true love” by placing the onus on their closest network.”
Louisamay, thanks for taking the time to chat today. Could you tell us about who you are and what your business is?
We are Louisamay Hanrahan, Liam Grant (CEO), Niamh McCabe and Sam Boles and we are the founding team of Luvguru. Luvguru is a mobile dating app that allows friends to match make friends.
When did you get Competitive Start Fund (CSF) from Enterprise Ireland and have you any tips on the application process?
We confirmed CSF in January 2017. We were lucky to get it first time around.
Our shares on CSF:
- It takes a several months for the money to come in and it comes in two installments. Important to factor in, when planning your budget.
- The one chance at the video recording was a challenge, in making sure to include everything you want to say. You need to prepare for it!
- In the application process under commercial milestones, a clear long term vision and strategy of bringing value to the consumer is as important as sharing projections on general revenue, retention and growth. Think big, share the vision and show your value!
- Showcasing your research and visibility of overseas markets as the next stage in the business development plan is key to positioning yourself as a scalable business worth investing in. E.g. We identified countries, which have a history of matchmaking in their culture as high potential growth markets.
- On being called to interview for CSF, researching the interviewing panel of experts in advance helps you to shape your presentation and speak in their terms of expertise. It also helps you prepare for any curve ball questions!
How has CSF helped your business?
It was a cash injection at the right time. Also on getting CSF, Enterprise Ireland gave us ten business mentor hours. Aisling McCabe, Director of Strategic Platforms and Partnerships at RTE, was one of our appointed mentors and has been a great support.
How did your business idea come about?
Liam was on the one who came up with the idea originally. Liam, who happens to be my cousin, is from Lisdoonvarna. His idea for the App came from the matchmaking festival that happens there yearly. Typically people are matched up at the festival. So the idea came about to leave it to friends to do the choosing.
Liam has an entrepreneurial background and was just exiting a surfing business, when he suggested I jump on board. Niamh and myself were in San Francisco at the time. We had good jobs over there and were enjoying it. But we decided to go for it. So we quit our jobs and came back to Dublin. Last September, we decided to go full time with Luvguru.
I come from a background of working in helping startups with the Web Summit and was involved in tech related startup ventures, such as VentureBeat and Patreon. I was also part of the team of five who set up Deliveroo’s first international office in Dublin. So it was only a matter of time, before I took the leap to start my own business.
Niamh has a background in web and product design and Sam came on board later as our Software Developer. Both have been instrumental in designing the look and feel of the App and building the platform.
How did you get the business up and running?
We were accepted onto NDRC’s Launchpad Programme in September, after a second time applying, and once on the programme, things gained momentum. It really helped us position ourselves for applying for Competitive Start Fund (CSF).
From there, we built the platform, and just last week , we released the app on the play store and app store.
In the first three days we had over 500 downloads. We are getting really good feedback on it so far. We have set up Intercom on the App, so people can give us feedback on it as they use it. Our plan is to continue improving it as we go.
Who uses the LuvGuru App?
We have had all types sign up. The App is open to anyone of any age group, sexual orientation or relationship status to sign up to.
The beauty of it is you can use the App and be in a relationship, as you are matching friends. Most friend circles are talking about the dating scene. It’s a chance for people in relationships to get in on the fun of it and help out friends.
It is also for those who are not finding the right connections with current dating Apps. One of the biggest things we address is the trust issue of not knowing, who you are connecting with. When it’s a friend of a friend, there’s a slightly stronger trust factor with the type of person you are connecting with.
Anyone can access it around the world.
What have been your biggest highs to date?
- Getting CSF first time round gave us self belief that we are onto something with the business idea
- Getting onto the NDRC Launchpad programme
- Being listed as one of the top 100 startups in the Sunday Business Post
- Being listed as top 30 under 30 in the Sunday Business Post this week
- Launching the App
- Planning our Dublin launch party for June 14th
Do you have any tips to GirlCrewers thinking of starting a business?
Talk to your Local Enterprise Office. That’s a great place to start.
Picking the right team can take time, and once you have that in place, then it’s about making sure everyone is happy and supported at all times. We are having the best time of our lives working on the business together!
You will have days when you doubt it all, and are worried about failure.From experience, you have to keep faith to make it succeed. Having a good mindset, despite the rollercoaster moments, is necessary.
Do you have an ask of GirlCrewers reading this?
Download the LuvGuru app! 😊 We are especially keen to hear feedback from the natural born matchmakers among you, who like connecting friends.