Crushing on a friend and want to know if they feel the same way? Well maybe now you can.
This week, we’re excited to introduce you to Colin Hodge, co-founder of DOWN (formerly known as BangWithFriends). DOWN works to uncover connections between friends who are interested in dating or “getting down” with each other. Users go through their Facebook friends and anonymously select ones they’re intimately interested in. If and only if a match is found (i.e., both people select each other), both people are notified.
Though still young, DOWN has received plenty of attention since its initial launch back in January of this year. Yet despite an early hiccup with Apple’s App Store and a settlement with Zynga, the team has pushed forward and continued building on its product. Most recently, DOWN has launched the beta version of their mobile app on iOS and Android. Users seem to be embracing the new app with open arms as the DOWN team has seen a +300% increase in user retention. Earlier this summer, we had the chance to interview Colin; keep reading to hear about his experience running this steamy startup.
StartupLowdown: Colin, thanks for taking the time to speak with Startup Lowdown! While your previous name is pretty straightforward, could you briefly explain how DOWN works? What led you to this idea?
Colin: It’s simple: connect with Facebook, mark the friends you’re interested in (it’s anonymous – they don’t see anything yet), then we let you both know if there’s a mutual match. If there’s not, it’s kept secret. We came up with the idea because we wanted dating that reflected our generation: honest and fits into our busy lives. Like most good ideas in history, we came up with it while drinking.
StartupLowdown: Can you tell us a bit about DOWN’s history and how it’s grown?
Colin: We launched on Jan 23, 2013, and now have over 1.2M users!
StartupLowdown: What has been the most rewarding aspect of founding DOWN?
Colin: Hearing from happy users about their discovered mutual attraction and resulting relationships.
StartupLowdown: In numerous interviews, you’ve mentioned the challenge in getting funding for a startup associated with the taboo topic of sex. How has DOWN worked around this issue?
Colin: It’s not just with funding that a company with any sexual aspect struggles – it’s the reception in general. We push the envelope where we can and seek out strong, like-minded people and companies as our support team and partners. There are lots of great and supportive people working to improve this area, with Cindy Gallop kicking ass at the forefront!
StartupLowdown: Are there any unexpected insights about hookups/relationships that you’ve learned while running DOWN? If so, could you share?
Colin: We’ve been pleasantly surprised by the number of women to enjoy the service and tell us they love how it makes them an equal part of the courting process. Women should know it’s perfectly fine to own your sexuality and join the tons of other females who are liberated.
StartupLowdown: I imagine you must get a fair share of interesting stories from your users; are there any favorites you can share?
Colin: We’ve heard some great stories about friends who spent years without being able to broach the subject of hooking up or dating, yet were finally able to break the ice and discover their mutual attraction through DOWN. One couple spent 4 years as close friends and are now in a committed relationship!
We knew DOWN worked soon after we launched – when one of our officemates came into the office high-fiving everyone, with the biggest smile on his face. He got a match 2 days after we launched!
StartupLowdown: What would you say to the person on the fence about trying DOWN out?
Colin: It’s anonymous and it’s safer than meeting strangers. Life’s too short to wonder “what if?,” so find out if you’re into any of your friends (you would be surprised how many once you scroll through them all!) and if they are into you!
StartupLowdown: Colin, it’s been a pleasure speaking with you. Thanks a ton for sharing a bit about what you guys are doing over at DOWN. Us here at Startup Lowdown wish you the best of luck going forward!
If you’d like to find out more about DOWN or give it a try, go ahead and check out some of the links below: