January 25, 2012
When Jay Chahil started working in DC, he’d go out to lunch with coworkers every day – like most young professionals. “I began to realize that everyone else was pretty much doing the same thing and missing out on meeting new people. I also noticed a lot of people eating alone,” he said. “I wanted to create something where people could have the opportunity to get to know other people around the lunch hour to form professional connections and even find romance.”
And thus, LunchMix, was born. You can set up a free profile, search for other single professionals who work close to you and meet for lunch, where you can keep it casual (you can also access LunchMix through their iPhone app). Plus, you have a good out if the date sucks: you have to get back to work.
Subscriptions start at $11.99 a month, though the first month is free. LunchMix just launched this month, but they already have a few hundred subscribers. Because cutting through the noise is so hard for a startup – especially one in a crowded marketplace – I asked Jay about their customer acqusition strategy beyond the obvious – word of mouth. “Right now, we are focusing on social media as well as forming an alliance with businesses (restaurants/bars) in the area. I also plan on introducing an affiliate program next month, which will help bring more traffic to LunchMix.”
As Jay pointed out to me, their one direct competitor in the dating service industry, It’s Just Lunch, is basically a concierge servics and lacks an online dating system, mobile app, and Facebook application. LunchMix, on the other hand, is a socially integrated, DIY service. Once they have a business and marketing strategy perfected here in DC, they’ll expand to other cities.
LunchMix is actively looking for funding and in talks with local venture capitalists and angel investors. As Jay pointed out to me (and I wrote about yesterday), raising money in DC is hard and rests on who you know. “I’m looking to raise between $1.3 to 2 million in the initial round, then a much higher amount to scale the business. Half of the money will be used towards marketing, and the rest will be divided up among business development, technology, customer service and operations.”
Give it a try and let us know what you think of the service – does the service make meeting people easier since it is “only lunch”? Leave a comment below!
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