Founders close to running out of cash
Double dating app founders join ESpark
The founders of a ‘double dating’ app that has been hailed as the next Tinder have joined the Entrepreneurial Spark programme and opened an office in Scotland.
The company, whose app enables shy singles to ‘double up’ with a friend on the dating scene, received backing this week from BBC Dragons’ Den investors Nick Jenkins, who is behind Moonpig, and Bebo founder Michael Birch.
They are investing tens of thousands of pounds to push the already popular app Double on to international success after the self-financed founding team admitted they were running dangerously short of cash by the time they appeared in front of the programme’s panel.
Co-founder Gary MacDonough said: “By the time we went to film Dragons’ Den we only had £2.36 in our bank account. We weren’t taking salaries either so just living was getting quite difficult. For quite some time, Ben was even living under my stairs in true Harry Potter style!
“However, we knew we had a great product, making the dating experience to be more fun, less awkward and safer. We just needed funding and business know-how to really scale it up, as it has the potential to become a household name among sociable singles everywhere.”
Double’s three founders, who turned up to the Dragons’ Den in eye-catching matching suits, were spoilt for choice after three of the Dragons vied for a stake in their business.
Gary MacDonough, Loren Gould and Ben Greenock were seeking £75,000 to further develop and market their app. They were offered all the money for a 15% stake in the start-up. After turning down offers from Dragons Deborah Meaden and Touker Souleyman, they accepted the offer from Nick Jenkins as they wanted to tap into his consumer tech experience.
Mr Jenkins has been actively involved in the company since the deal, offering guidance on everything from marketing to tech. He also helped the entrepreneurs raise further investment from Bebo founder, Michael Birch.
Since filming the TV programme, Double has grown significantly. It has more than doubled its user base, brought its tech team in-house and opened a second office in Scotland where it is developing a version of the app for Android.
The start-up is also due to enter Entrepreneurial Spark’s business accelerator programme when it opens its new Edinburgh Hatchery in the former executive wing at the Royal Bank of Scotland HQ at Gogarburn.
Jim Duffy (right), founder and chief executive of Entrepreneurial Spark, said: “We’re excited to be welcoming Double into our Edinburgh Hatchery. It is an exciting business with enormous potential and we think they will find our Hatchery an ideal environment from which to launch themselves to a wider market.”
Mr MacDonough added: “It was a very tough decision to turn down the additional offers from Deborah and Touker in the Den but it turned out to be the correct decision.
“We are very excited to have Michael Birch on the team. He has great experience with building viral products and his technical background will be invaluable to us. Both Nick and Michael are very knowledgeable in their respective fields and have complimentary skill sets. They will be a huge asset to the business.”
Mr Jenkins said: “Their pitch was definitely unusual but I immediately liked the idea. Having named my company Moonpig I can appreciate their unconventional approach to marketing. I was impressed by their ingenuity and I feel that they have a unique offering in an otherwise saturated market.”
Mr Birch said: “The Double guys have an awesome team and great product execution. They are also fun people to work with!”