The co-founder of women-only social media network and app GirlCrew says the platform is ready to take America by storm after gaining the support of high-profile investors including LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner.
Pamela Newenham co-founded GirlCrew along with Aine Mulloy and Elva Carri, who was sat home alone one Friday night in 2014 and wanted to go dancing but all of her friends were otherwise engaged.
She used dating app Tinder to find some platonic dancing friends to have a night out with and ended up with over 100 enthusiastic matches, who she then added to a secret Facebook group in Dublin. GirlCrew.com was born.
The platform now has over 150,000 members in almost 50 cities around the world and recently launched in the US at the South by Southwest in Austin, Texas.
“Expanding to the UK and the US was something we had in our plans from day one,” Newenham told BusinessCloud. “The Irish market is just too small and we knew that we would definitely need those markets if we wanted to be really big.”
The founders have recently secured almost $1m worth of investment and backing from Weiner, Reddit’s data science director Joe Gallagher, PCH chief executive Liam Casey and Enterprise Ireland.
The funding will allow the start-up to expand across the US.
“We want to really focus on the US and travel there to grow our memberships and build new partnerships,” Newenham said.
“The next two cities on the list are San Francisco and New York. We’d like to have 100,000 American users on the app by the end of the year.”
GirlCrew is also focusing on expanding in Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen in Scotland, where Newenham says the platform is enjoying “massive demand”, then London and Birmingham.
The ultimate goal is to have the platform available in every English-speaking city across the globe before expanding further afield.
“We’d like to be truly global – probably a little bit smaller than Facebook unless we start adding guys in,” Newenham jokes. “But we’d like to be all over the world so that if a woman ever goes anywhere she can always have a crew to turn to.”
The former Irish Times journalist told BusinessCloud that having high-profile executives and investors on board has been “really helpful”.
“All of our investors, be it Jeff from LinkedIn or Joe from Reddit, all have experience scaling massive networks so they understand exactly what it’s like to be running a company that is a network of community,” she said.
“We talk to them a lot; we can ask them anything and they’re always on hand to answer. I think it’ll become even more helpful and important as we go forward and get bigger.”