“I am a journalist, and I haven’t had a cup of coffee with someone in 9 months," says Dave*, someone I’ve just met and we’re about to spend 45 minutes on Google Hangouts. He is in London, I’m in Cape Town and we were matched up on LunchClub because we seem to have similar interests. Like Dave, people are my thing, they fuel me. And I’ve been deprived of meaningful, new connections for just under a year. We both run agencies that produce content, we have a media background, we care for the planet and investigative journalism and both of us understand how fundamentally screwed-up the business model for monetizing news is.
We ended up talking politics, environmental crises, London rains, Cape Town droughts and modern MBAs. Subsequently, we both had clients to refer for future work.
It’s hard to emulate this type of connection even in the real world. And thanks to impressive AI models, LunchClub is getting it right. So right that 3 hours of my workweek is now spent making relevant, quality connections with people all over the world. The platform became so popular, their usage rose tenfold during the coronavirus pandemic, and they’ve raised funding that valued them over $100 million in September 2020.
Signing up** is so easy and the UX is stripped of any bells, whistles and spam. The product feels reserved and sophisticated. You simply provide some biographical information, key interests, update your preference settings and you’re good to go.
With recent concerns around Whatsapp and user-data privacy violations, LunchClub’s handling of your data is explained by co-founder Vladimir Novakovski: “The key to our product’s value is having access to good data. More importantly, none of the user’s private data is shared. We don’t sell it to third parties. We only rely on the aggregated information to make matches.”
It's about relevance and nothing else
Given, no one needs another screen to look at. But I cannot stress enough that relevance is the differentiator. And while we’re locked down at least for the next while, I can guarantee you that this the closest you’ll get to that cup of coffee with a real person, at a real table without a mask.
It is a social business, as Lightspeed investor Nicole Quinn like to call it. Investors meet entrepreneurs, actors meet scriptwriters, startups meet talent and questions meet answers.
It’s smart. It’s global. And oh so relevant.
*That’s obviously not his real name.
**Use my sign-up link because I get club points that I can spend on picking my matches. :)