With more and more talk about how AR and VR will ‘change the future’ we often think of the same old industries that VR may benefit. Thinking outside the box, many of us don’t see AR as the future of dating apps. With the number of young adults on dating apps having tripled in the last three years, people are looking for new ways to meet the right person and this AR app is building the future of dating. The app, FlirtAR, allows users to see each other’s dating profile as you walk down the street, letting you know if you have just passed by your potential life partner. The app is the first of its kind and is looking to pave the way towards a new generation of dating applications.
LA TechWatch spoke with CEO Renan Godinho about the Startup and their most recent round of funding.
Who were your investors and how much did you raise?
We finished the seed round just the way we had originally envisioned and planned by leveraging our friends who share the same values and passions, and that trust us. We have many external investors looking for the opportunity to invest in us, but we want to keep the doors open for the next rounds. We also had the privilege of presenting our project to some of the greatest Silicon Valley VC’s, which will facilitate future engagements.
Tell us about your product or service.
FlirtAR is about connecting people in the real world, making dating simple and in real-time. We combined three innovative technologies to provide the real experience we want to drive: augmented reality (AR), real-time geolocation and face recognition. We see a lot of the same out there, and we wanted to create a distinguished and disruptive experience to empower the users with empathy and innovation!
What inspired you to start the company?
Well, I had been single for a while and hadn’t met anyone worth spending quality time with. The other dating apps were not working out too well for me. I kept seeing this really cute girl around my college campus and I didn’t know how to approach her. I knew I wanted to meet her, but I didn’t feel confident enough to go up to her. I hadn’t found the right moment. As I kept seeing this girl, I jotted down my idea of the perfect dating app. I wanted to meet her in real time, a place we were both at, and maybe even learn something about her before going up to her and striking up a conversation. That’s why I created FlirtAR.
How is it different?
There are many dating apps out there providing more of the same: a gamification process to generate profit. We want FlirtAR to be the icebreaker of connecting people. We want to enable the platform, and our team, to learn as we move forward using empathy to listen and focus on the why. Thus, providing a unique user experience.
What market you are targeting and how big is it?
FlirtAR is for adults looking to connect with others in real-time. These individuals are looking for a cutting-edge dating experience and are adventurous enough to pioneer into the new world of augmented reality (AR) with their personal life. The initial customers will be trendsetters who embrace the changing terrain of the digital world.
What’s your business model?
We want this to be an accessible dating platform, which is why FlirtAR will be free for all users. We will also offer in-app purchases and a premium subscription that unlocks the complete experience of the app.
Why is AR a good match for a dating app?
The future is absolutely related to AR. Smartphones are not a natural device for the human beings and the evolution is going to be on the wearables and different concepts of mobiles. The common denominator is that AR and real-time geolocation will be there, and we are very well positioned in all these areas.
What was the funding process like?
The funding process was easier than we could have imagined. For the first-round investment, we look at our close friends and people who trust us. They quickly connected and developed a passion around the concept and the potential to scale up the business.
What are the biggest challenges that you faced while raising capital?
Our biggest challenge was keeping the development pace while processing the convertible notes. We had to stop the development of the app for few days during the financing process, which was a painful moment for us. Thankfully we recovered fast and caught up with the product roadmap.
What factors about your business led your investors to write the check?
Our investors share the same values and passion for the project, as we do. They also understand how innovative and disruptive FlirtAR is. We have a solid platform that is in alignment with the tech industry in terms of AR, geolocation and real-time products. This is a space we share with Google, Apple, Microsoft, and Facebook.
What are the milestones you plan to achieve in the next six months?
We are getting closer to our current Beta release using our waitlist. That will allow us to validate our hypotheses and learn through the feedback channel. Our target date to release the iOS version is still September 30th, followed by October 30th for the Android version, and we are using an agile methodology to continuously improve the product experience.
What advice can you offer companies in Los Angeles that do not have a fresh injection of capital in the bank?
If you have a great product idea or concept, you should just follow the Startup business phases. The most important advice is to invite the right people to complement the skills and talents you have (product/engineering, business operations, marketing, and sales), and of course, people who share the same values and passion around the product you are already developing. Don’t be shy during the seed stage, and with confidence go talk to your friends, family and angel investors — the last one is always looking for someone like you.
Where do you see the company going now over the near term?
We want to establish FlirtAR as the ultimate dating app for people to connect in the real world – that is our short-term dream. Looking at the future, we are very excited about all the possibilities we are planning to provide to our users. We are ready to connect and learn from them, and build a better product every day.
What is your favorite restaurant in LA?
Fogo de Chao – we love Brazilian BBQ.