The Irish-founded social network has raised a seed round of almost $1 million from investors, including LinkedIn chief executive Jeff Weiner, Wrigley CMO Orla Mitchell, Reddit director of data science Joe Gallagher, Aegis Corporate Strategy managing director Hazel Hutchinson, PCH chief executive Liam Casey, Stanford University adjunct professor Stuart Coulson, and Enterprise Ireland, Europe’s third largest seed investor. The funding will allow GirlCrew to expand across the US city by city, with thousands of women already on waiting lists to get the app.
Harnessing the soaring demand for friendship and community, GirlCrew has tapped into a market; facilitating friendship in person, even in an ever-digitised era. First dating moved online, now friend making is going online.
GirlCrew has created a unique platform, available on iOS, Android and desktop, focused on connecting women for friendship and chats. Although a digital community, its aim is to facilitate in-person friendships, offering an additional channel in which to do so – find a group of girls to travel with, meet for coffee, start a business. Anything is possible with ‘the crew’. Members can participate in online group chats and offline events such as brunch, hikes or nights out.
GirlCrew’s three female co-founders — Elva Carri, Pamela Newenham and Aine Mulloy — are passionate about enabling women to make friends, network in a social and professional capacity, seek advice and share knowledge.
Pamela Newenham, co-CEO of GirlCrew said, “We believe real friendships happen in person, however sometimes you need a nudge and an extra channel in order to meet these new like-minded people. So many people have either moved to a new city, or have found themselves at a different life stage to their friends, either because their friends are getting married, settling down etc. As a result, they need new friends, but making friends as an adult can be hard.”
She said the company was hosting a Women in Tech event with Enterprise Ireland at SXSW Interactive in Austin, next Monday, followed by a pre-Paddy’s Day party in Los Angeles, California on Friday. The events are part of the GirlCrew’s expansion into the US. Speakers at the Women in Tech event in Austin include Brit + Co chief creative officer Anjelika Temple, Redenim CEO Kelly Ernst and Kimberly Foster, founder of For Harriet and Black Girls Gather.
GirlCrew operates through an app available on iOS and Android, and a desktop platform (www.girlcrew.com). Women simply join the group for their city, such as Toronto or Vancouver, and there they can see what events are happening, read posts and comments from other members, write posts themselves and create events. They can also join GirlCrew topic groups such as Travel, Careers, Entrepreneurs, Fashion & Beauty, Fitness & Wellness, Bloggers, Dating Advice and Staying In. Within the groups, members share tips, advice and knowledge on everything from getting a new job to finding a good restaurant for a first date.