Tell me about Lets Meet At?
It’s a new online platform that connects foodies together one-on-one. It’s the first of its kind in Australia and members can join and find new foodie friends (or love) and the only expectation is to share an awesome food or drink experience. There’s no cost to join, it’s free. There is a gourmet plan if they’d like to get lots of extra features.
Do you have much of a tech background?
I have worked on an online dating site before about ten years ago so I understand how it works. In terms of development, I’ve hired an amazing we developer who has not only been building but testing the site. I’ve also tested that at every stage along the way.
Do restaurants list on there?
We only connect people with people. So at the moment, in terms of restaurants being featured, there’s opportunities for advertising, whether it’s a restaurant or another business with a foodie focus and is interested in the lifestyle market. On our social media and in our blog we’ll be profiling more restaurants and places to dine with foodie friends.
Why did you decide to start it?
I found a huge gap in the market. I’ve wanted to build an online dating site for about ten years, since I worked in one. And one of the things I noticed when I moved to Melbourne six years ago is that there’s actually nothing to connect friends together. Through a long research process, I found everybody talked about food and that’s how I came to the decision to actually not make it about online dating and more about connecting people through food and giving them the opportunity to make friends in a way that you don’t necessarily get on a dating site even if you say that you’re looking for friendship.
What would you say some of your biggest challenges are?
The biggest one, and probably the earliest one was actually finding the technical skills to help me build the site. That took a really long time. I knew how big of a build the site was and I was never under the illusion that it was going to be easy and I knew that it had to be from scratch as well, so trying to find somebody that would do that for a cost that I could afford, having financed the whole site by myself.
Did you use all your own savings?
Yep. I also had a successful crowdfunding campaign. I had a really tight budget so it took me a year to find someone to design the site and then I was looking for both design and development at the same time. But I found a designer and I made the call to start the design of it just to move it forward, and then we found a developer. Both the designer and the developer have been fantastic, and really, they’re both experts in their area. From the start I decided that if I was going to build the site it was going to be user friendly, because that was one thing that suffered from other sites that I’d researched.
What’s your best advice to other aspiring entrepreneurs?
Build a great team and surround yourself with experts in the area. It’s also never too early to get a business coach. Especially for me as a sole founder, it provided an opportunity to bounce ideas off someone and for guidance. I don’t think there’s ever really a good time or you’ve never ever got enough money to do it, it’s just about making that call and that decision and just doing it. Finally, remind yourself of the why. That will carry you through all those times where you can’t see the wood for the trees.
Every day, KBB’s Dannie Doughan chats with an entrepreneur and features their story on our website. If your business wants a ‘Date with Dannie’, email us a quick bit about your biz!