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About the Episode
Coming up is an inspirational story of how a female founder overcame some tough times that included appearing on the Shark Tank and not getting a deal, living out of a suitcase, and running out of money. Also, listen to the creative marketing tactics that have landed her press on Techcrunch, Wall Street Journal, and on the front page of newspapers.
From Corporate to Living Her Dream
Cheekd, the dating app was conceived by Lori when she saw just how hard it was to hit on anyone in NYC. She quit a lucrative job as an architect to work on her dream, got two other people on board and a year later launched Cheekd.
She mailed a Cheekd card to one of the editors of the New York Times and got front page press in the style section that crashed her site. She got a call from Oprah’s studio to be a guest and thought she was well on her way to be a billionaire. But she made some crucial mistakes: she used her own savings to support the business, she had to outsource her techs for four years and she did not have the right people with the right technical background. So she unloaded everything she did not need, including a Christian Dior wardrobe, rented out her own place and lived out of a suitcaseShebegged sleeping space from friends for 14 months but never thought of quitting. She knew she has figured out what makes her happy and she was going to be a success!
After that, she decided to apply at Shark Tank where she spilled her guts only to be turned down. But the next day, she got 3,000 emails supporting her decision to stay with Cheekd and 50 of those emails were from investors. She felt deflated but they kept on airing her episode. No matter how difficult the whole episode was, it gained national exposure.She got a crucial investor who had worked on her project a while back and this guy bought out her original partners. They decided to rebrand the whole project and so major changes were done and the new app became a Bluetooth app.
And so it seems that Lori appeared in Shark Tank to ask for a $100k, got turned down but in a way got 4x that amount because she was turned down by Shark Tank.
Creative Marketing Tactics that Bring Press:
- Call the press people and just ask them to cover your app.
- Join a Start-up Expo – Techcrunch will have no choice but cover your app.
- Use free marketing – use flyers such as Cheekd cards. Just give the cards to anyone as you never know who will respond. Wear the logo of the company, have a fake tattoo of the logo on your arm, never leave the house without something about the app plastered on your body.
- Patience – Lori does not think getting in line behind 10 other people who also want their app covered is too much if it will get her own app covered. This is how her app got on Wall Street Journal.
- Try being different- Lori shares attending an expo in Dublin where her app had to compete with 800 other startups and she wore angel wings to the event. The next day, right there on the front page of the Irish Times,was her picture with the angel wings and inside the paper was a half page picture of her in front of the computer and a write up about her app.
- Be creative if you want to draw traffic to your booth in an expo – Lori shares giving out Kisses (the one from Hershey’s), a kiss on the cheek for a dollar and an outrageous offer of $100 for a French kiss as a joke. These all to generated traffic to her booth.
Fav app: Happy Any Hour (iTunes)