For Sonya Kreizman and Natasha Nova, love is more than just a concept–it’s serious business.
These two Jewish innovators are reinventing what is means to be strong, women entrepreneurs, with their tech startup Crush Mobile, which offers a suite of dating apps designed for singles on the go. And what sets their apps apart from the myriad of dating applications already on the market? In a word, demographics.
Kreizman and Nova have pinpointed what it takes to attract serious-minded singles looking for lasting relationships, and have designed apps that specifically target users based on demographics. JCrush, the women’s first app, was created for Jewish daters and saw an overwhelming explosion of success, drawing more than 100,000 users since its inception. Kreizman and Nova realized that by appealing to singles based on their religious, ethnic or cultural background, they could create communities of mobile tech users that were committed to finding love.
We caught up with the pair recently to learn more about how they’re broadening their company, as well as gain insight into how two nice Jewish girls are pounding the male-dominated pavement of New York City startups.
What’s it like being female entrepreneurs in the male-heavy world of tech startups?
As female entrepreneurs, we break the misconception that VCs are not funding women. A Babson College study found only 2.7 percent of the 6,517 companies that received venture funding from 2011 to 2013 had women CEOs. Those numbers become even more surprising when you consider that female-run startups produce a 31 percent higher return on investment than startups run by men, according to a Kauffman report.
We hear from investors all of the time, “Finally, there are female entrepreneurs who understand what women want.” While we think the apps speak for themselves and stand on their own as quality products, we’re glad we can also shatter barriers and inspire other women to break into this male-dominated world of tech startups.
Most dating apps are created by men. What benefit do your dating apps have in being run by women?
Most dating apps are run by men, which may have contributed to the problem we see today of mobile dating being overrun with the hookup culture. We’ve seen how men use other dating apps, swiping constantly without reading too much into the profile. We’ve heard from so many women who were discouraged with this trend, and we realized that by creating dating apps targeted to specific demographics we would attract men looking to form real relationships. By appealing to men seeking out serious connections, we’re ultimately making for a better user experience for our female members, as well.
We’ve also developed a technique to promote “mobile chivalry.” In each of our apps, we have a special instant message feature that allows men and women to jumpstart the conversation without waiting for a match. This lets men take charge, while allowing women to go after what the partner they really want. Want to be pursued? No problem. Want to be the pursuer yourselves, ladies? We’ve got you covered.
Why does each community need its own specifically targeted dating app?
JCrush was our first dating app and it was targeted to the Jewish community. We saw tremendous success with that venture, and realized this was a need we could fulfill within a number of different communities. Each demographic deserves a way to connect with likeminded singles looking for love, and our studies have shown that relationships formed on common backgrounds are more likely to last. So we have apps based on demographics like ethnicity, including our MiCrush app for Latinos and UrbanCrush for African Americans, and apps based on mutual interest, like Voof for dog owners and 2ndCrush for divorcees, widows and mature singles.
As women, what was the most awkward meeting with an investor?
We were once approached by an investor who tried to convince us he was ready to write us a six-figure check, we just needed to make him co-founder of our company and join him on his boat in the Bahamas. The more he tried to contact us, the more we realized he had some seriously sinister motives. It just goes to show you how level headed and ahead of the curve female entrepreneurs have to be in this industry. We’re proud to be representing smart Jewish women in the world of startup tech, and we’re not afraid to push back to any men who might be intimidated by that fact.