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How My Co-Founder’s Gender Change on Tinder Launched a Startup

By Áine Mulloy, CMO of GirlCrew:

Tinder doesn’t seem like the most natural place to find female friendship, but for thousands of women worldwide it worked. Back in 2014, Elva Carri found herself bored at home one Friday night. With her friends and family otherwise busy, she did what many people do and turned to the internet. In this instance, she chose Tinder and through it, GirlCrew was born.

It all began on Tinder. Check out the @GirlCrewHQ #startup story: Click To Tweet

Friends in an Unlikely Place

By now, pretty much everyone will have heard of this dating app. You create a profile and swipe through eligible matches in your local area. At the time it was quickly gaining popularity in Ireland and Elva figured this would be the perfect place to meet new people. However, she turned the rules of the platform around so that instead of appearing to men, she’d appear to women. After changing the gender settings on her profile, she created a little graphic explaining that she was female and not looking for dates but for some people to go out dancing with. And it seems they needed little encouragement. She quickly garnered over 100 matches.

As Tinder was restricted to one-on-one messaging, Elva shared a link to a closed Facebook group with her new matches. And GirlCrew was born. By switching to a group, everyone could chat together, create events and get to know one another. It was so easy to do, and such a simple concept to grasp that the first event happened without Elva’s input at all. In fact, she’d left her computer to do some chores and when she came back the first event had been arranged. It was clear her call to go dancing had struck a chord.

The Beginnings of a Startup

From that initial group GirlCrew just snowballed with new members joining every day. Having gained lots of new friends and a jam-packed social calendar, Elva was going to need help, with myself and Pamela Newenham joining as co-founders. Whether you were in Dublin, London, New York, San Francisco or Sydney, GirlCrew groups quickly sprang up across the world. It was such a simple idea, people immediately grasped and fell in love with the concept.

How Tinder helped @ElvaCarri, @AineMulloy & @PamelaNewenham launch a global network by women & for women: Click To Tweet

GirlCrew is now a global network for women where advice can be shared, recommendations sought and given and friendships made. It’s a place where you can find your next gym buddy, dog sitter, plumber or dating advice. Members advertise jobs through us, have found bridesmaids and even shared beers in far flung places like Japan. One member even found her estranged father through the group! From there we’ve gone from strength to strength, even launching our own app in the summer of 2017. This is a space designed for women, and by women. It’s a space for people to chat, but also to meet. Whether you want to go for a coffee, check out a restaurant, go hiking or even on holiday, you’ll find others who want to do the same thing through GirlCrew.

Áine Mulloy

Find Áine on Twitter and LinkedIn!