Not Yet Another Dating App – What’s All The Controversy About ‘The League’?

Let’s talk about a new way of online dating!

Amanda Bradford, founder and CEO of The League, has created a dating app for smart, ambitious people, for whom swiping left or right is not the thing anymore. The League aims to gather a safe, selective community of amazing people – like a digital college campus – to ensure actual compatibility. And it’s the selectiveness approach that caused all the media controversy in the very early days of the startup. Despite the disturbing media attention and the fact that the dating market is incredibly crowded, Amanda managed to start with a 25k check and highlighted her product beyond the rest!

On my latest interview, Amanda discusses the plans of her exciting start-up, the controversial press about it, and her early trials and errors as a career-oriented entrepreneur searching for love!

– Where does all the controversy about The League come from?
– What are the main lessons learned while at Stanford Business School?
– What was Amanda’s launch strategy and why it was so unique and successful?
– What were the first steps to grow a community within The League?
– What was Amanda’s first funding strategy?
– Why and when Amanda turned down a role at a VC fund?
– Why hiring engineers occurred to be the biggest challenge?

All of this and so much more in our video interview!

A lovely shout out to our sponsor UnStock — mobile first marketplace for authentic video.
Big thank you to our Partner Kamila Dmowska for the fabulous dress and styling!

Check out some highlights of this interview:

  • An MBA degree program teaches a person an awareness of growing a healthy business.

    “I don’t think you can learn good marketing or product design in school. But you are exposed to people who’ve done it really well and you recognize what’s needed to get done.”

  • In order to launch a successful consumer app, you have to put a time box on the project.

    “I gave myself half a year and if people don’t like it and there’s no traction, I’ll say that was a fun experiment. The take away there is putting yourself on a timeline and trying to ship something really fast even if it’s kind of hacky and slow and not quite as beautiful as you want it to be. If you can get some early feedback, that’s super important.”

  • Doing the lean startup approach and making a prototype that tests, you can see if it builds traction.

    “Let’s just get something out there that works and tests. If we have traction, that means we’ll hopefully be able to raise money to rewrite the software in a scalable way.”

  • Instead of asking investors for money right away, ask for feedback and build a contact list

    “You’re building your rolodex of people who invest in your space. Once you launch and have good traction, those are the people that you can reengage with and say ‘we are ready to start fundraising. Are you interested?’”

  • It’s really tough to start a mobile app in a crowded market. BUT it is possible.

    “The dating market is incredibly crowded. Mobile apps are hard to be in the leaderboard in anything. The fact that I even got the 25k was a huge windfall because I had done such a good job in my interviews.”

  • Focus on what people will like and build your product around them.

    “I did the more pragmatic approach. I built a product that people might like; I’m going to get them to like it; and then I’m going to show that to investors and ask them for money once we have users who can testify for us.”

  • Amanda addresses the theory of good press.

    “It is hard to get press. When we want to get press, we don’t. When we don’t want to get press, we get it. So it’s a very difficult thing to control. I was happy that people started to hear about it, and we got enough guys to sign up after that article came out, which was great so we could launch our beta. But it wasn’t the messaging that I wanted.”

  • In Silicon Valley it’s competitive to get really talented or even junior engineers. But Amanda has a way of approaching engineers.

    “You give [engineers] an offer and they turn around because get an offer for 2x from Uber or Google. We look for people who believe in the mission. They want equity in the company. I rather have them negotiated for a bigger equity stake than a 20% higher salary.”


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    • This is really my favorite interview so far and I love how Amanda is sharing a lot of detailed information on the whole process of developing the app and the company. Also it is super great to know more about the financials behind as I believe a lot of the audience does not have much view on this.

      I honestly wish The League could launch in more locations now that we know how good this product is!
      Best of luck to Amanda and her project!!!