Loveflutter: Daigo Smith
Name: Daigo Smith
Staff numbers: 4
Date launched: 01/05/2013
Tell us what your business does:
Loveflutter is an online dating site that’s based all around your interests so you can meet people nearby who share your tastes in music, films, books and sports. Add your interests and tell the story of who you are through all the things you love.
Where did the idea for your business come from?
There’s nothing worse on a first-date than realising you’ve nothing much in common. Hoping it wasn’t just me, I confided with friends and my soon-to-be business partner David, and we all agreed we’d had similar experiences. So, we thought it would be great to create a place where you could meet people who were into the same things as you, so you had lots to talk about on a date.
How did you know there was a market for it?
After some market research (it helped to have a disproportionate number of single friends in London who just happened to be online dating!) we discovered online daters were tired of the standard ‘browse, message and meet’ formula and wanted something new, more fun and with a matching process that led to having better dates with more compatible people, interests-wise.
What were you doing before starting up?
I’ve been a serial career-changer, needing a new challenge every few years. I’ve worked mainly in the field of marketing across a range of brands and channels including radio, TV and magazines. More recently I started my first business, an outdoor fitness company with a team of fitness trainers serving clients across London.
Have you always wanted to run your own business?
Not always. In my early twenties I wanted the stability and regular income a permanent job offers. Turning 30 I was more open to exploring flexible ways of working which give more control creatively.
How did you raise the money?
We’re a bootstrapped start-up. Luckily there were two of us who were prepared to spread the risk and delve into our savings. If you believe in the success of your product enough you’ll feel more secure, knowing that your savings are being invested for the future.
Action point: Search shared workspaces and assess if it could be worth co-working with other start-ups (external site, opens in new tab)
What challenges have you faced and how have you overcome them?
We encountered different challenges at each stage of the two-year development lifecycle. Initially, with a great idea on paper our primary challenge was to get Loveflutter to the MVP (Minimal Viable Product) stage, something we achieved through finding and hiring great talent where our skills were lacking; solid project management and harnessing the latest technology to assist our day to day business practices, from project management software to customer service and feedback tools.
Describe your business model and how you make money:
Loveflutter is a premium dating site with a proven monetisation strategy of subscription based payments and uniquely a more flexible option of pay-as-you-go dating where you pay for each message you send and date at the speed you like, a first for the dating industry.
What was your first big breakthrough?
Finally getting our MVP live so we could go through the all-important testing and feedback process in this ‘beta-launch’ – a key introductory stage of any website launch where you iron out any bugs and improve the site before opening up the site to a wider more public audience.
What advice would you give to budding entrepreneurs?
Never stop believing your product will be a success, you need that belief to see you through the ups and downs of getting your product or business to market. Once you’ve got it to market, relax a little and celebrate, but not for too long, the hardest part is yet to come: making others believe in your product enough to buy it!
Where do you want to be in five years’ time?
We want to be one of the world’s top five dating sites with brand recall as high as Match or eHarmony. We want to be pushing the boundaries of innovation in dating with every new feature we release. As you can see my belief is still strong!