Mita Carriman had no plans to create her own startup.
The Touro Law graduate was working as entertainment lawyer, spending her days with musicians and actors. Her life was what she describes as “comfortable” until she went through a breakup with an ex-boyfriend, right before they were about to take a big trip together. Carriman’s decision to still go on the trip, alone, was a decision that changed her life and her career.
“I wanted to get out of town and clear my head, but I was bummed that I had to go alone,” she said. “It was nice to have time to relax but I thought it would be also nice to have company while traveling, not necessarily to date but maybe to date.”
So she went on Tinder and was, as she describes it, “accosted by men with sexually charged advances.”
She looked for local meetups but couldn’t find any. So she wondered if there could be some type of middle ground where a traveler could find a companion — be it a friend or a date — on their trip.
That’s what pushed Carriman to start the dating and travel app, Adventurely, which launched its Android version in December and its iPhone app in January.
Carriman says she wants Adventurely to be “the Uber for getting a travel buddy on demand.”
The app works like this: every user has an Adventurely calendar that they can add experiences to. A museum visit, a concert, an art opening. When they add events to their calendar, they can see profiles of other people who booked the same thing and then they can start messaging.
The app, which Carriman says has 1,600 users, is currently just available in New York City. Carriman hopes to launch the app in over 40 cities, starting with two more by the end of 2017. She’s starting to raise money this month.
Though less than a year old, Adventurely has received some major pats on the back. Hipmunk, a travel search website, named Adventurely one of the top 5 new apps for travelers. Fashion site Refinery29 championed the app, saying: “No more pointless swipes or conversations that go nowhere!”
So is Adventurely a travel app, a dating app or an app that treads the line between both?
“We started off as a travel app but you can’t predict how the market will use and perceive the creation,” Carriman said. “We are walking the line pretty equally.”
"I wanted people to use an app, where their friends and family would know they would be safe and not end up with some shady dude."
After hearing that, I had to ask Carriman, why does the world need another dating app? (In Brooklyn alone, we’ve got Fever, Mesh, Cheekd, Bae. Also: Smell Dating.)
Her answer was immediate, as if she’s heard the question plenty times before.
“Because statistics show that today’s so-called ‘dating apps’ aren’t actually getting people dates,” she said. “The popular dating apps have largely become video games where users are overly-saturated with the digital connections they make but end up starved for opportunities to make those digital connections real-life dates and outings.”
She continued, in an email:
“There are more single women then single men in America, yet statistics show that men outnumber women two-to-one on Tinder. A study published just two months ago on Business Insider also sadly showed that only a mere 7 percent of men on Tinder actually send messages to the women they mutually match with, compared to women who sent messages to male matches at three times that rate. That means that a whopping 93 percent of the men on Tinder with mutual matches aren’t engaging with female matches. And with Tinder’s reputation for creating a digital atmosphere where crude sexual advances from men are the norm, you can probably guess that an even tinier portion of the 7 percent of those messages from men may result in real dates or activity outings that aren’t prefaced by an app text from a guy saying that he’s ‘just looking for fun.’ I wanted people to use an app, where their friends and family would know they would be safe and not end up with some shady dude.”
Carriman’s logic is sound. The question, now, is if Adventurely can be that alternative that people turn to.
In August, Adventurely was selected to join WeWork Brooklyn Heights’ entrepreneurship program, which offers three months of free space at the coworking spot.
Carriman, who lives in Park Slope, has just one part-time employee, based in Manhattan, and a cofounder, CTO Luis Carlos Chacon, who lives in Costa Rica. He heard about Carriman after she wrote a Medium post about her search for a CTO.
Carriman also wrote a post about her frustration with people saying they can’t find any female founders.
“There isn’t a problem or any difficulty in finding female founders,” she wrote. “The only problem is outdated/assumptive thinking and complete lack of outreach in believing that there is.”
Read it here.