You’ve got your squadron of friends, and you’ve decided it’s time, as a group, to expand your group of friends. Instead of finding individuals, why not find other groups of people that want the same thing as you. Whether you want a big crowd to go to the game with, or just a new group of people to meet with, the Tinder for groups of people, Squad, is here. Unlike Tinder they are not an explicitly romantic app and are looking for different squads to meet up and have an awesome time.
The Squad founder Adam Liebman, coming off his recent round of funding tells AlleyWatch all about his funding and what separates their company from the rest.
Who were your investors and how much did you raise?
Squad raised $1.7 million in a seed round led by Lerer Hippeau Ventures and First Round Capital.
Tell us about your product or service.
Squad is a free iOS app designed to bring groups of 2-6 people together and provide a middle ground between dating apps with explicit romantic expectations, meetup groups where very different personalities may happen to share a common interest, and just sitting in a bar and hoping for the best.
What inspired you to start the company?
I was on a trip to Montreal with my friends and we were looking for an easy way to meet new people and have a great night. I ended up altering my Tinder profile to include only pictures of me and the three guys I was with, and I also changed the bio to let people know we were just visiting for the weekend.
We ended up matching with a woman who was headed to the same place as we were with her friends, and we all had a great night together! The rest of the weekend, the group I was with couldn’t stop thinking about how much fun we’d had, so we decided to build something to help create more great nights in the future.
How is it different?
Tinder and Bumble, they’re absolutely fantastic, and we wouldn’t have been able to launch Squad without their help paving the way…but most everything today is focused on one-to-one communication, typically with romantic intent. This forces people to choose whether or not they hang out with their friends or go on a date…we think the solution is to add your friends to the equation, and remove some of the romantic pressure that comes from two people swiping right.
What market you are targeting and how big is it?
We’re targeting people who like to go out and meet new people, which I think includes a very large cross-section of New York City.
What was the funding process like?
I don’t think my funding process was the norm. You’d think a solo, non-technical founder, with a background in sales would need to be doing something in their field of expertise to raise capital. Building a consumer facing mobile app didn’t necessarily fit that bill, but I was able to complete my first raise when Squad was just an idea, in part because I had some great people advising me, and also I think, because I understood the problem I was trying to solve.
What are the biggest challenges that you faced while raising capital?
The biggest challenge was learning to never commit to anyone. Before you tell Investor A they can have X amount, or Investor B they can have Y amount, finish talking to all the people who you want to talk to. We ended up being oversubscribed, and I had to have some tough conversations with people who we couldn’t fit into the round.
What factors about your business led your investors to write the check?
Someone is going to figure out how to use tech to connect groups of people who don’t know each other in something more than an explicitly romantic way. Tinder and Bumble are great at the one-to-one connection, but they’re explicitly romantic. GroupMe is great at the group connection, but it doesn’t connect you with people you don’t know. Meetup gets together groups, but it’s groups of individuals. Everything out there has at least one piece missing, and I think the investors in Squad believe that our team is smart enough to figure out how to put all the pieces together.
What are the milestones you plan to achieve in the next six months?
Right now, we’re focused on making the experience on Squad so much fun for our users, that it becomes second nature to put your squad on Squad when you’re going out.
What advice can you offer companies in New York that do not have a fresh injection of capital in the bank?
Understand the problem you’re solving at a molecular level. Be able to articulate why you will win. Come up with all the things you want to test, and define what success will look like, so you can hold yourself accountable and iterate through all your different tests as quickly as possible. At the end of the day, money is nothing more than optionality.
Where do you see the company going now over the near term?
In the near term, we’re focused on listening to our users, and building the things they want that may not have made it into V1. We want all the squads you see on Squad to be people who you and your friends want to match with. As we learn more about our users every day, we can get closer to making that dream a reality!
Where is your favorite place to enjoy the fall weather in the area?
There’s nothing like Central Park in the fall. How could I say anywhere else? The colors, the people, the ambiance, it’s all there.