Move fast. Speed is the key to start-up success

GirlCrew is a platform for women to make new friends

Please introduce yourself and your startup GirlCrew to our readers!
Hi there! I am Pamela, the co-founder and co-CEO of GirlCrew. GirlCrew is a platform for women to make new friends, seek advice, share knowledge and network in a social and professional capacity. It is available on desktop, and as a free app on iOS and Android. The social network was founded by three women – Elva Carri, Aine Mulloy and myself.

After signing up, women simply join the group for their area such as London, Los Angeles, Vancouver or Melbourne. There, they can see what events are happening, read posts and comments from other members, write posts themselves and create events. They can also join topic groups such as careers, dating advice, bloggers, travel or entrepreneurs. In the topic groups, members share tips, advice and knowledge on everything from getting a new job to finding a good restaurant for a first date.

How did you get the idea to GirlCrew?
GirlCrew began one Friday night, when my co-founder Elva really wanted to go out dancing but had no one to go with. All her friends were either busy or tired. Believing there had to be other women in the same position, she put a call out for some platonic dancing buddies on Tinder. She had no idea she would quickly garner more than 100 enthusiastic matches. She added everyone to a secret Facebook group in Dublin, where she was based, and GirlCrew was born. Having gained lots of new friends, and a jam-packed social calendar, Elva was going to need help. She teamed up with Aine Mulloy and myself, and the three of us began growing GirlCrew groups in cities all over the world.

How difficult was the start and what challenges you had to overcome?
We didn’t have the money or technical knowledge initially to build our own platform. We learned that you can utilise other platforms to build out an idea, and test if it could be a business before we began developing our own platform. We all kept our full-time jobs and worked on GirlCrew part-time, trying out various revenue streams, growing GirlCrew through Facebook groups, launching in new cities etc. We didn’t quit our full-time jobs until we knew we were onto something.
None of us know how to code, and we had no experience in hiring or managing software engineers. We initially outsourced the development of our app which was a big mistake.

Thankfully we got an amazing technical advisor on board, who was able to guide us through everything. We had to start over from scratch again, but we did it, and brought development in-house. Without our tech advisor, we wouldn’t have known if the developers we were interviewing were bluffing/making things up, and we might have made some more costly decisions.

Who is your target audience?
GirlCrew is aimed at women looking to make new friends, either because they have moved to a new city or country, or because they have found themselves at a different life stage to their friends. Their friends might be settling down, getting married and having children, but they aren’t. The vast majority of GirlCrew’s members are women aged 25-40. While some are younger and others are older, most are in that age bracket. GirlCrew also has an entrepreneurs group for female founders looking to make new contacts or get advice, as well as a careers group, and a travel group for those looking for travel buddies.

What is the USP of your startup?
We have been compared to meetup.com. However, we are different to them in that there are lots of last minute events in our groups. A member can post in the afternoon and see if anyone is free after work to go for food/drinks/the cinema. So many organisations are faceless. We try not to be that. All of the team are in the various groups, and we go to events on a regular basis.

Can you describe a typical workday of you?
I don’t have a typical work day. Its constantly changing. I could be doing anything from recruiting to media interviews, to meeting investors or accounts. The only thing that’s always the same, is our full-team meeting which takes place every Friday.

Where do you see yourself and your startup GirlCrew in five years?
On the Nasdaq stock exchange! We are not truly global yet, but we would hope to be in five years. We have demand for GirlCrew everywhere, and a waiting list of more than 100 cities worldwide where women have requested GirlCrew. We plan to make it really easy for women to find information, tips or recommendations on anything, and to meet other women in their area for friendship and activities such as hikes, lunch, nights out and shopping. We want no woman to every feel alone. No matter where they are, they can join us and chat to other women. Even if we haven’t launched in their city, they can do this.

What 3 tips would you give other Start-up founders on the way?
Network lots. I think networking helps build contacts which are important for everything from marketing your business to hiring to support. It’s always good to meet new people. At GirlCrew we say you can never have too many friends and I think the same goes for professional contacts too.

Move fast. Speed is the key to start-up success. You need to have a clear vision of where you’re going, and you need to get there quickly. There’s a phrase in the start-up world which feeds into this, and its “done is better than perfect”. You can always iterate later.

Do your own thing. We have raised funding. When we were fundraising, some people said “no” to us. It was difficult as they would give different reasons each time. One investor would say no because we didn’t have a certain thing in place. We would put that in place, and then another investor would say no because we had it. Some investors wanted us to focus on growth, while others were more interested in revenue and profits. We learned that you can’t please everyone, so you must follow the right strategy for you.

More information you will find here

Thank you Pamela Newenham for the Interview

Statements of the author and the interviewee do not necessarily represent the editors and the publisher opinion again.

Sabine Elsässer

Sabine Elsässer is founder and chief editor of the StartupValleyNews Magazine. She started her career at several international direct sale companys. Since 2007 she works main time as a journalist. While that time she learned more about the Startup Scene, what made her start her own Startup Magazine the StartupValleyNews.

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