Editor’s note: Sophie-Charlotte Moatti is Co-Founder and CEO of Rendez-Vous Labs, creator of RndVoo. The a mobile service encourages people to connect with friends of friends and find activities to do together offline. RndVoo open beta is available free on most smartphone browsers here.
Women 2.0: How did you come up with the idea for your mobile startup RndVoo, and how did find your co-founder?
Sophie-Charlotte Moatti: The idea for RndVoo came about earlier this year, when my long-time friend and now co-founder Michel moved to San Francisco.
I kept trying to set him up with friends and we’d always ended up in a coffee shop, on my cell phone, looking up my girlfriends’ Facebook profiles. Then, he’d ping me to get my take on where to take them out on dates.
We thought that there must be a better way to do it, but also that it was going to be hard to do it well and make it relevant for everyone.
Women 2.0: So what was your background before starting your own startup?
Sophie-Charlotte Moatti: I worked in mobile for most of my career, for startups like Tango and giants like Nokia, where I was a general manager.
My passion is to create fun and easy mobile experiences that everyone can enjoy. And, I’ve always been a matchmaker. I introduced several friends who ended up getting married and having kids; and I run FounderDating, a matchmaking service for entrepreneurs in the bay area. My training is in electrical engineering and then I got an M.B.A. from Stanford.
My co-founder is a renowned artificial intelligence and behavioral science expert who got a PhD by studying how the brain processes objects and images.
Women 2.0: Cool, so how did you two build the idea?
Sophie-Charlotte Moatti: We built RndVoo to make dating fun again. We use crazy-advanced technology (which includes things like computer vision, collaborative filtering and neural networks) to offer instant onboarding, a pre-screened pool of friends of friends, and a guided match experience.
Women 2.0: Why did you pick the mobile web vs. building a native app?
Sophie-Charlotte Moatti: We have a very customer-centric culture and want to be able to quickly get to market and incorporate feedback from early adopters. Using a mobile web platform allows us to release more often as features evolve. We can improve the service gradually and it’s seamless for our members because they don’t need to download upgrades every time.
For a small startup like us, it’s also cost-effective because our product team builds a single service and it runs across most smartphones (iPhone, Android and BlackBerry touch devices). That said, we have lots of ideas and suggestions from members on premium native experiences. Stay tuned!
Women 2.0: How did you go to market and get users?
Sophie-Charlotte Moatti: People adopted RndVoo immediately. They invited their friends to join, expand their social circle, make connections or set up their friends. The service hasn’t launched yet and it’s doubled every month since inception –- all through word of mouth. Open beta members already have access to 100,000+ potential matches after only a few months.
Many of our members call RndVoo their “private, mobile wingman.” They like that the service connects them with people who like the people THEY like, and they “love the personalized date ideas, which makes planning a date so much easier and fun.”
Women 2.0: What are your top 3 learnings from the early-stage startup experience?
Sophie-Charlotte Moatti: The startup adventure is definitely a fun one. To make the most of it, it’s important to continuously:
- Network with diverse people – because you never know who’ll introduce you to your next hire/investor/adviser/customer
- Iterate on your vision – because founders’ amazing creativity needs to pass the customer test
- Laugh – from both successes and failures, no matter how small.
Women 2.0: Great takeaways from the startup experience. So what’s next for RndVoo?
Sophie-Charlotte Moatti: Our vision is to offer everyone better dates with better matches. We empower people to date using the most effective and proven method ever invented — which is getting introduced to friends of friends. More than 2 out of every 5 couples meet via friends! We adapt this to today’s world where everyone has a mobile phone, uses Facebook, and isn’t stigmatized for being single at any stage in life.
This post was originally posted at The Huffington Post.