Double: Loren Gould, Gary MacDonough and Ben Greenock
Founder Loren Gould tells us why his app is the 'Tinder for double dates' and how they used a Christmas jumper venture to fund their tech start-up
Name: Loren Gould, Gary MacDonough and Ben Greenock
Company name: Double
Location: Greater London
Date launched: 12/02/15
Tell us what your business does:
We’re a location based group dating app which makes dating more fun, less awkward and safer: like Tinder but for double dates. Our vision is to be the dating platform with the most face to face interactions between users.
Double is designed for people who are interested in dating but either do not have the confidence to go on a first date or someone who is a serial dater and is looking for a new experience as they are tired of the awkwardness that is often associated first dates. It is available as a free download from the iOS App Store.
Where did the idea for your business come from?
One of our good friends Sarah would regularly swipe through Glasgow’s finest on Tinder, get matches but would never meet. One Sunday night in March last year we were all at her house and she matched with a good looking guy on Tinder, they chatted but she still said she would never meet him as she said it would be too awkward and potentially unsafe to meet a stranger. However she said she would go on a date if our other friend Rachael could come with her and meet one of his friends.
Right there and then I had the eureka moment.
How did you know there was a market for it?
To test out the idea we set up a very basic pre-launch website and spent a few hundred pounds on Facebook and Google Ads. We were working on another project at the time so we really didn’t spend much time on it at all but when we looked at it again a week later we noticed that we had over 1000 sign ups and we knew we were on to something.
What were you doing before starting up?
Gary and Ben grew up in the same small village in Killearn, Scotland. I met Gary at the University of St Andrews as we were in halls together.Gary and Ben then worked together at e-commerce site Bellezo (where they were the first two employees) and I worked in PR in London.
In 2013 and 2014 we all worked together on a side project, woopwoo, where we sold ugly Christmas jumpers (our big seller was one with a humping reindeer design). It was quite successful and we sold out of stock both years.
Have you always wanted to run your own business?
Very much so. Gary has pretty much worked for himself or been involved in start-ups for his entire professional life. Ben has always been doing various side projects and I have always wanted to do something entrepreneurial and it was just a matter of finding the right thing to do.
How did you raise the money?
Double is currently entirely bootstrapped with all our funding coming from the profits of the Christmas jumper project. We are currently on the look out for further investment.
Describe your business model and how you make money:
Currently Double is a free app but we will be integrating revenue generating features into the app later this year.
What challenges have you faced and how have you overcome them?
The biggest challenge was not coming from a technical background and not understanding the basic inherent challenges of mobile app development: things like choosing the right server to host the app on have proven difficult and caused problems.
We now have a strong tech mentor network who can advise us on best course of action for our tech and software decisions.
What was your first big breakthrough?
Before we officially launched we were unexpectedly featured on Product Hunt in mid-January when someone from their community randomly submitted us.
It was very unexpected and the app wasn’t ready for launch but we received a huge amount of feedback that day and it really boosted our profile. Since then things have accelerated very quickly and we haven’t looked back.
What advice would you give to budding entrepreneurs?
If you have an idea don’t be afraid to test it out. These days it is very cheap and pretty easy to get a website and setup a simple landing page where you can demo your concept to the world and create a basic MVP (minimum viable product) which you can use to validate your idea.
Also with sites there is an established community of entrepreneurs and start-ups where you can get invaluable feedback and advice on your product.
Where do you want to be in five years’ time?
Double’s vision is to create a dating platform with the the most face-to-face dates between users. We don’t want to become the biggest dating app but we do want to be the app that has the highest conversion of online matches to people meeting up in person.