Don’t be too shy to ask for help

Piña Colada brings dating back to real life- great food in San Francisco´s best restaurant

Please introduce yourself and your startup Piña Colada to our readers!
About Kati Schmidt, CEO & Founder of Piña Colada (34, German): Kati is passionate about immigration, female founders, and gluten free food. As an early former employee of Airbnb, she left the company in November of 2017 after 6.5 years to pursue her own venture, Piña Colada, to create meaningful connections between groups of six like-minded singles over great food.

About Piña Colada:
Piña Colada brings dating back to real life by connecting groups of six like-minded singles over great food in San Francisco’s best restaurants.

How did you get the idea to Piña Colada?
In 2014, together with my friend Katharina, we decided to take luck in love into our own hands. We started organizing group dinner dates for ourselves and our friends in Berlin’s best restaurants: Sauvage, Katz Orange and Clärchens Ballhaus. The events were very popular and word of mouth spread quickly – we even had to remind some friends that they could not attend while they were in a committed relationship.

Two years ago, after moving to San Francisco, I met my partner on Tinder. I was lucky. I was not looking for a serious relationship but I was swiping out of curiosity. I remember that his pictures were not great, they were old, blurry and showing a bunch of friends. However, he mentioned he liked cooking Paella. That made me swipe right. After all, the way to the heart is through the stomach. It took a lot of back and forth until we finally met. I applaud his persistence. We have been together for more than two years now and food is the common thread in our relationship.

After leaving Airbnb, I wanted to start my own business that combines my passions for connecting people and for great food. I fundamentally believe that online dating is broken and that a curated offline experiences in a group setting is much friendlier and ultimately more successful.

How difficult was the start and what challenges you had to overcome?
Initially I only wanted to host one dinner as a pilot as see how it was received by the participants. I got great feedback and have kept going on a weekly basis ever since. I am hoping to host more dinners and expand to other markets across the world soon.

Who is your target audience?
Piña Colada is for everyone who is interested in connecting with like-minded singles over great food in San Francisco’s best restaurants. There is no focus on a specific age group, sexual orientation or other demographics. It doesn’t matter if someone is tired of swiping or has never used dating apps before.

What is the USP of your startup?
Creating meaningful offline dating experience in a group setting over great food.

Can you describe a typical workday of you?
As a one-woman-show, I am in charge of everything: from sales and marketing, to PR, to working on the product and technology etc. However, everyday I spent some time matching singles for upcoming dates. I also post on social media once a day and engage with my followers.

Where do you see yourself and your startup Piña Colada in five years?
I would love for Piña Colada to have launched in multiple cities around the world and have successfully matched many couples.

What 3 tips would you give other Start-up founders on the way?
Get started: There is no perfect timing and there are no excuses for not at least doing a pilot.
Listen to your customers’ feedback: It is more important than what others think.
Don’t be too shy to ask for help: Especially here in Silicon Valley, there is a great ecosystem of support for entrepreneurs.

Photo credit: Todd Westphal

More information you will find here

Thank you Kati Schmidt 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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