Industry: Dating Services
Founding Student Name(s): Stanford Maison; Hunter Hanley
Brief Description of Solution: Blyss is the only dating app that coordinates our user’s dates. Blyss is powered by our three-date-type model, where users select from three types of dates: interactive, active, and dining. Blyss matches agree on a specific time and venue and then book the date through our app — mitigating the hardest part: planning the date.
What led you to launch this venture? After casual socialization with some of the women at Georgetown University, I learned that women were not confident in current dating apps today because the apps had a hypersexualized culture and created unsafe environments; many women also experienced several matches that were not transparent with their intentions. Realizing that this was a problem, I dug deeper. I found out that current dating apps today have a lopsided ratio of primarily men in comparison to women (7:3). My reaction to the problem was to interview women and find out what would make them more confident to date in the growing online dating environment. Simply, the most seasoned answer was going on a date because it provided the security that a casual meet-up could not. With that information, the only thing left to do was make going on a date fun, safe, and interactive experience for both parties. Blyss was born.
What has been your biggest accomplishment so far with venture? Our biggest accomplishment was the opportunity to participate in Georgetown’s and Rice University’s accelerator programs. The accelerators aided Blyss in garnering recognition from national news outlets, such as Yahoo Finance and MarketWatch, increasing social media engagement six-fold, gathering over 150 pre-registrations, and mapping out our official launch on February 14, 2023.
How has your business-related major helped you further this startup venture? I am a finance and business management double major. My business management major has definitely run its course as our team continues to build our company. I have taken key courses such as Foundation of Entrepreneurship, Negotiations, and Strategic Management which all have been utilized in daily operations for our company. Business management at Georgetown really allowed me to strengthen my leadership skills which are important to make the right decisions for Blyss’ future.
Which business class has been most valuable in building your startup and what was the biggest lesson you gained from it? Managing Human Capital and Resources was a key class in my development as a founder. My professor taught me valuable lessons on human resources, which has led to key additions to Blyss. Without recruiting a talented, diverse team, Blyss would not be on the positive trajectory it is on today.
What business professor made a significant contribution to your plans and why? My private equity professor, Rory Smith, indirectly contributed to my plans by sharing his entrepreneurial adventures in the private equity realm. He explained how his firm was in a 100-million-dollar hole and dug them out by betting on himself and staying true to his principles. This was important to me because it showed me that when I believe in myself, no matter the challenge, I can conquer it for the sake of my company.
What founder or entrepreneur inspired you to start your own entrepreneurial journey? How did he or she prove motivational to you? Rob Quartel, the serial entrepreneur and executive chairman at nTELX, inspired all of us at Blyss to become the best version of our entrepreneurial selves while having a blast at the same time. When we first founded Blyss, Rob was our go-to mentor for mapping out the next steps. He enlightened us about the customer discovery process and explained the importance of conducting extensive customer interviews to understand if the problem we were solving truly was a problem. Sure enough, 200 customer interviews later, Blyss lived on. Today, Rob still serves an integral role in highlighting the importance of fundamentals in the startup world.
What is your long-term goal with your startup? We will be a Fortune 500 Company.