Any casual observer, male or female, knows that social networking has taken off not just because it’s a good idea but because more than 50% of the population – i.e. not just men – have found it appealing. Geeky guys might have enjoyed Alt. groups back in the day, but online interaction went truly mainstream when women got involved.
So it is that Luluvise has hit on a clever formula. It’s realised than too many of the platforms are designed by men. So this is a social and communications platform aimed at young women and their best friends where they can hand pick their best pals and network privately. Unsurprisingly, the company’s aims to re-create the patterns of close female friendship online.
Thus it has raised $1 million in equity financing from Passion Capital, PROfounders Capital, and prominent angel investor Alexios Vratskides (founder/CEO of Upstream).
The Luluvise platform streamlines “girl time” activities – talking, sharing, gossiping, and shopping – by aggregating email, SMS, instant messages and comms in one secure place. Think unified messaging for young women, maybe. The target market is young women aged 18-35 around the world. Luluvise will be accessible online as well as via an iPhone and web app.
Sure, Facebook and Google+ could be used, as could Girlsguideto, but none have the express design for this purpose.
Makes sense. According to some industry figures women generate more than 70% of the messaging activity on Facebook, spend more than 35% more time on social networks than men, and drive 80% of all consumer spending.
The startup was founded in 2010 by Alexandra Chong (pictured), a former Global Head of Marketing & PR for Upstream and Director at the Corporate Executive Board. The team is 10-20 people, based in London, but the company is incorporated in the US.
Chong was inspired to create the company after wanting to share a private Valentine’s Day story with her girlfriends but ended up having to make three phone calls, seven text messages and two Skype calls just to get the story out. What she needed was a private space online to share it just the once.
The target launch date is mid-November. Users can sign up for now.
It’s likely there will be affiliate programs and e-commerce opportunities amongst others.
Chong herself has plenty to talk with her friends about. She’s a member of the Ladies First team at Queens Tennis Club in London, and previously represented Team Jamaica in the Federation Cup and Commonwealth Games (tennis).