Between January and March 2015, we ran out second startup incubator programme in London.
One of the team's, Double, are the first of our alumni series, where we catch up with the startups that have been through one of our incubator programmes.
The founders Gary MacDonough, Ben Greenock and Loren Gould tonight took part in the BBC Dragons Den where they pitched a panel of investors for funding to continue and accelerate the growth of their double dating app, Double.
“By the time we went to film Dragons’ Den we only had £2.36 in our bank account and owed about £7,000” said co founder Gary. “We weren’t taking salaries either so just living was getting quite difficult. For quite some time, Ben was even living under my stairs in true Harry Potter style!”
We caught up with them to discuss their back story, their time on IncuBus, Dragons Den and what's next:
What was the background of the founding team before starting Double?
Gary has always worked for himself doing a variety of things. He started working full time Double in September 2014.
Ben worked for a beauty company up in Scotland and quit his job in January to go full time on Double. He moved down to London and lived under Gary's stairs for 6 months.
Loren worked at M&C Saatchi and quit his job in May (He had a 3 month notice period). He quit his job the day before we went on Dragons' Den.
What is Double?
Double is a location based dating app for double dates. You sign up with a friend and get matched with other pairs nearby.
What was the inspiration?
Our friends were frequently using Tinder but never actually went on dates. One evening my friend Amy got a match with a hot guy and chatted to him excitedly. When I asked if she would meet him she exclaimed it would be ‘too awkward and potentially unsafe’. She turned to my other friend present Sarah and said ‘if only you could come too!’ That was the eureka moment.
I remember meeting the team for the first time and it was obvious from the start how enterprising they were. Previous to Double, the three founders had a previous venture selling ugly Christmas jumpers. They used the £30k they made from that venture to invest in something less seasonal.
What have been your main accomplishments since IncuBus Class 2?
- Releasing a lite version of the Android app.
- Opening a second office in Edinburgh.
- Bringing Michael Birch, founder of Bebo on as an investor and advisor.
- Getting a double date from the app!
What was the most useful part of your time on IncuBus class 2?
Introductions and networking in the London tech scene. As we had just moved to London and didn't know anyone this was very valuable. For example The Dragon's Den opportunity can be traced back to the meeting at the IncuBus hosted Silicon Drinkabout.
What had been your biggest challenge to date?
Finding a technical co founder... let us know if you hear of anyone :)
How do you plan on finding that person?
More networking and attending events. By far the best way to meet you people. Sounds obvious, but it is.
What was the Dragons Den experience like?
The pitch itself was certainly not the hardest we had done. We prepared and practiced a lot. We also had professional pitching advice from Metaspeech (highly recommended).
The hardest part was having to be on set at 6am then not knowing what time we were pitching at... in the end we waited 12 hours and our pitch lasted 2 hours! I couldn't feel my legs by the end of it haha.
How did that opportunity come about?
We met a guy called Michael Raven at the IncuBus hosted Silicon Drinkabout in Camden who introduced us to the BBC. Coincidentally my mum had encouraged me to apply a few days before... I filled out the application but never actually submitted it but when the opportunity arose we were ready.
You can watch them pitch the Dragons in their suits of 'amour' below. You'll have seen the trio who were seeking £75,000, were offered all the money for 15 per cent stake (negotiating it down from 20%) in the startup. After turning down offers from dragons Deborah Meaden and Touker Souleyman, they accepted the offer from Nick Jenkins.
Now you've successfully raised on Dragons Den, what is the funding going to go towards?
- Improving the iOS and Android versions.
- Introducing monetisation features.
- Launching in NYC!!!
Bebo founder and investor in Double, Michael Birch, said:
“The Double guys have an awesome team and great product execution. They are also fun people to work with!”
Double is available to download from the Apple App Store & Google Play HERE
For more information about Double please visit: www.joindouble.com