Lori Cheek is an architect by training. But as she said during an AMA on the Technical.ly Slack (join here), the founder of dating app Cheekd now “builds relationships,” using materials like Bluetooth to create potential love matches IRL. Here are five takeaways from Cheek’s AMA.
1. How do you convince the people who are hardcore against online dating to try it?
I say that Cheekd is not really online dating. It’s to make ice-breaking connections in the real world. Cheekd sets its self apart from other apps because it gives you the option to interact with a match before starting a virtual relationship with the compatible user. After setting up your page and what you’re looking for, Cheekd will then send you notifications when a potential match is within 30 feet of you.
2. We know you come from 15 years in architecture. Have you taken anything from that experience to the startup life?
I think my background in design has come in handy in many aspects of my business. I think I’ve got an eye for detail which has helped streamlining the UX and design of our app. I also think my background has been helpful in my creative marketing. I say that I’m no longer building structures, I now relationships.
3. So there’s this guy, Steve Dean, who is merging dating and tech recruiting. His startup is called Jobsuitors. Do you see any potential applications for the tech behind Cheekd for something other than love?
Absolutely! Our new app is a Bluetooth app so notifies you when someone comes within a 30-foot radius of you. It will be great for conferences and networking events. You don’t even need a cellular signal to connect because of the Bluetooth connectivity.
4. Were there any other tech projects you worked on before Cheek’d?
Nada! I just came up with this idea in 2008 and couldn’t stop thinking about it, so I brought it to life. As a trained architect, I had no idea what I was getting into building a business.
After coming up with the idea in February of 2008, I walked around in circles for over a year trying to figure out how to build my business and two guys came on board to help me. I couldn’t have made a worse choice of a team in my life. They both had the same skill set, are no longer involved in my business and they own nearly 20 percent of the equity. If I’d known what I know now…
Team is EVERYTHING. The technical aspect of my business has been one of the bigger challenges I’ve faced, and it’s the one thing I definitely would have approached differently from day one. I needed a CTO.
5. We do something at Technical.ly called #Failfest, where folks are encouraged to talk about their failures and how these failures have been important to their progress. So, about your experience on ABC’s Shark Tank, how has it affected your career?
When I proclaimed I was going to change the population with my reverse-engineered online dating business, serial entrepreneur and Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban rolled his eyes, called me delusional and immediately snapped, “I’m out.” Billionaire investor, Kevin O’Leary, demanded that I quit my “hobby” and shoot my business — my passion — like a rabid dog. After getting shot down by all five Sharks, I looked them in the eye, and said, “Trust that you’ll all see me again.”-30-