A few weeks ago, after Alexandra Amin, an associate at Warner Brothers, split up with a real estate agent she have been dating for a year, her friend informed her about a brand new, free, female-friendly social network application that allows women anonymously review men whom are their Facebook buddies.
On Lulu, ladies can speed guys in groups — ex-boyfriend, crush, together, hooked-up, buddy or general — having a multiple-choice test. Ladies, their sex confirmed by their Facebook logins, add pink hashtags to a man’s profile which range from the great (#KinkyInTheRightWays) towards the bad (#NeverSleepsOver) towards the unsightly (#PornEducated). The hashtags are accustomed to calculate a score created by Lulu, which range from 1 to 10, that appears under the man’s profile image. (The company’s spokeswoman declined to describe the reviews algorithm. ) Guys can add on hashtags, which can be found in blue, however these are not factored to their general rating.
The service has provided a sort of “Take Back the Internet” moment for young women who have come of age in an era of revenge porn and anonymous, possibly ominous suitors since it was started last year by Alexandra Chong, who has a law degree from the London School of Economics. “The thing that received us to Lulu had been that dating without having a guide could be the scariest thing you certainly can do, ” said Erin Foster, 31, an actress and author. “Meeting somebody call at the entire world when you’re not at school or don’t work with one another or have actually shared buddies — you have got no clue exactly just what you’re getting yourself into. ”
Ms. Chong, 32, a member that is former of Jamaica Fed Cup tennis group, happens to be relocating Lulu from London to ny, where she said the viewers on her software had grown 600 % within the last few half a year, in line with the analytics provider Mixpanel. “The trendsetting money for ladies is New York and that’s where we must be, ” she said recently.
Sewell Robinson, 24, whom lives into the East Village and works well with a marketing agency, estimated that 70 per cent of her friends that are female Lulu; she’s got evaluated 10 guys from the application, some generously. “I have actually written a reviews that are few market man friends, ” Ms. Robinson stated. “If a random woman fulfills them in a bar and it is somewhat interested, i would like them to have a beneficial rep on Lulu. ”
But she’s got additionally panned males, in a sisterly character. “I think sometimes girls feel like they don’t have that much energy when you look at the hookup world, ” Ms. Robinson stated, “but this provides them something to bond over, and you will offer advice to a lady you’ve never met before. ” accordingly enough, the application ended up being introduced in sororities, which representatives associated with the business continue steadily to go to. “Sororities are a recognised community of girls who will be speaking about relationships, and term spreads quickly, ” Ms. Chong said. “We changed the merchandise a whole lot along with their help. ” (She stated that 25 % of most university females now utilize Lulu, based on Mixpanel. )
Ms. Chong by by herself never ever belonged up to a sorority; she went to Florida Overseas University for a tennis scholarship and after legislation school struggled to obtain Upstream, a sizable marketing firm that is mobile. She credited her entrepreneurialism in component to her mother that is canadian household assisted start the Calgary Stampede, the summertime rodeo, and her Chinese-Jamaican daddy, who she said came to be poor but won a lottery and utilized the windfall to start out a tourism business.
She got the theory for Lulu during a boozy brunch with feminine friends a single day after A valentine’s day that is awkward setup. “We were all stories that are sharing dudes, relationships and sex, ” Ms. Chong stated. “There had been rips and laughter. ” She figured ladies needed a concentrated internet search engine for dating — a “Guygle. ”
“once you Google some guy, you don’t wish to know if he voted Republican or just what he penned a paper about in university, ” Ms. Chong stated. “You wish to know if moms like him. Does he have manners that are good? Is he sweet? ”
Ms. Chong founded Lulu with a buddy, Alison Schwartz, a previous associate to the literary representative Amanda Urban, referred to as Binky. Final February, they secured $2.5 million in funding from individuals including Yuri Milner, a early investor in Twitter, and Hosain Rahman, a creator of Jawbone.
Ms. Schwartz, 35, is Lulu’s editorial director. She stated she drew from Cosmopolitan and Glamour publications to create the app’s voice that is supportive. “Our objective had been constantly to seem like exactly just how women that are young to their very own friends, ” she said.
They presently employ about 30 individuals and also have finalized an eight-year lease for a 5,500-square-foot natural area in Chelsea, where they intend to go the business year that is early next.
Ms. Chong not any longer has need to be a working Lulu individual; she actually is searching for flats downtown along with her boyfriend, Jack Brockway, 33, a professional photographer who’s the nephew of Sir Richard Branson, the Virgin Group creator, plus the cousin of Ned Rocknroll, Kate Winslet’s brand new spouse.
Ms. Chong and Mr. Brockway came across last springtime on Maui at a kite-surfing and networking event where she had been providing a lecture in which he had been shooting a promotional vid. They’d a make-out that is brief and went their separate means.