By @SimonCocking

What is your background briefly?

I am the Global Events & Community Manager for HER Social app and it’s my job to give our community safe spaces to meet each other all over the world and build relationships with other LGBTQ+ businesses. We are an LGBTQ+ community app with the aim of helping people meet each other. We hold over 1.3 million users and are live in over 55 countries.

Does it seem like a logical progression to what you do now?

No actually! I was a Senior Project Manager heading up the Commercial Department for a bank before this. On the side I was running HER events in London. These events were going really well and we were getting up to 1000 people four times a year. Robyn, (CEO and Founder of HER) asked if I would like to come on full time and train people up all over the world to do what I had been doing and therefore building a safe space for LGBTQ+ individuals globally. 6 months later we have 22 City Leads all over the world running successful events, which has led to an increase in sponsorship and partnering with global brands, but primarily we have raised the bar for LGBTQ+ nights globally and grown the LGBTQ+ community.

InterTech Ireland will present NO FATS // NO FEMMES, taking place at Google Ireland on November 10th

What inspired you to speak at the event?

I was interested to speak at the event as from an anthropological point of view, the differences between gay male dating to gay female dating are huge

What will you be talking about?

The subject is no fats, no femmes

Looking back at your own experience what would you have done differently?

When hiring City Leads I would have avoided people who were already running LGBTQ+ events as it was hard to get them to think outside of the status quo. I would have also concentrated all my time on cities where we had the biggest user base, rather than hiring in cities where I had a great recommendation but low volumes of people.

With the current digital tools available to startups does it seem easier to get a business launched in 2016?

The tools we use and depend on every single day are Slack and Google Hangouts for communication, Google Docs for sharing of information and Trello and Todoist for getting things done.

What advice would you give to startups?

Just start doing it. There will never be a good time and it will be more of a risk the longer you leave it, (you might have kids, need to pay a mortgage etc.). Have a back up plan and throw yourself into it. When I quit my 9-5 in banking I had no idea how it would turn out, but even if it had been a bad idea I would’ve always regretted not trying it.

What are you working on now?

I am looking to grow our event attendees in all cities, I am looking to work with more partners to raise the LGBTQ+ profile and lastly I am looking to boost our social media following and engagement to work toward normalising LGBTQ+ people online.

If you would like to have your company featured in the Irish Tech News Business Showcase, get in contact with us at [email protected] or on Twitter: @SimonCocking

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