Transcript: Thanks, Allan. This is David Brower with your 20-minute podcast. Our special guest from Dublin, Ireland today, Aine Mulloy, one of the three founders, as she’s the chief marketing officer of GirlCrew.com. On their website it’s very simple what they do. The easiest way to make friends. Whatever you can dream up, you can do with the crew. I like that a lot. How are you Aine?
Aine Mulloy: I’m good, good thanks. Thanks for having me on.
David Brower: You bet. Tell me, I know there’s three of you that put this together. How long ago was that? How did it come to … How was there an epiphany to do this I guess?
Aine Mulloy: I guess that story in itself is a bit of a funny one. It happened in about 2014. My co-founder Ella had found herself bored on Friday night and she wanted to go out dancing. Unfortunately, her friends were busy and her friends were otherwise engaged. So, she turned to the internet. You might think she might have turned to Facebook or Twitter or Instagram perhaps, but she actually turned to Tinder, which is a fairly unusual place to find friends.
David Brower: Sure.
Aine Mulloy: But she changed her settings. Put up a little graphic saying that she was a girl, she just wanted to go our dancing, and waited to see if anybody else was up for having a crack as we say her in Ireland. Overnight she had over a hundred matches, but she thought, “Hey this is obviously gotten on to something here.” So, she moved to Facebook, so she could message everyone together and they could chat much easier and stuff like that. I guess from there it kind of just grew organically and it started to just grow and grow and grow as people were just chatting other people that they knew about it and there was more and more events kind of happening. We just set up new groups all over the world, so these kinds of groups were setting up in cities all over the place, from Sydney to London, New York, San Francisco, Seattle. You name it, there was city groups setting up there.
Myself and Pamela joined her back in the early days when it was just Dublin. I saw it first on Tinder. Actually, I joined first as a member before coming out as a co-founder. A couple of months after that, Ella and Pamela met at an entrepreneurs’ event down in the West of Ireland. They had gone under subterfuge and they met there, and Pamela came on board then. The three of us built it up from being just Dublin to city groups all over. Then in the summer of last year, we launched our own platform. We developed our own map and we plan to launch that. We’re focusing on that this year and growing out our membership there.
David Brower: I am speechless. You have over 100,000 members, 46 cities worldwide, and that was in 2016. I’m sure you’ve got a lot more than that, right?
Aine Mulloy: Yeah, it’s just growing all the time. We’ve had some great experiences along the way. We were recognized by Facebook as part of Facebook friend’s day, so they flew the three of us over to San Francisco, down to Palo Alto to meet Mark Zuckerberg and Cheryl Sandburg, because they thought it was such a great project to come out of Facebook and stuff. Then last year we also showcased at South by Southwest, which was always a big tech event there in Austin. We’ve had some major cues along the way, and the aim is to keep growing and building on that really for this year. We’re hoping to head back to South by Southwest if things go well.
David Brower: How fun. You’re all over the world obviously. You’re using Facebook. You’re using social media. Every kind of social media I would imagine.
Aine Mulloy: Pretty much.
David Brower: You’ve got your own app now. So, you go to the website, GirlCrew.com/join, and you, and it’s just-
Aine Mulloy: That’s it.
David Brower: It’s just easy. You can get the app, say hello, post an event, right?
Aine Mulloy: Yeah, it’s as simple as that, yeah. That’s it. Really the point for us is to make the community as easy as possible. You can access it on iOS. You can access it on Android. You can access it via your browser if you’re using it at work. Which a lot of our members do. The simple thing is basically you just join a group. As I said, you join Dublin, London, New York. Wherever you are, you just join in and then you’re immediately connected with all the members in that city. It’s like a forum, effectively. You can chat, share advice. It could be anything like, “Can anyone recommend a restaurant? I want to go on a date.” Or, “Can anyone recommend where I can get free parking or the best thrift stores?” Whatever. Whatever you can imagine, people have asked it, basically. Then from there, people just chat and share advice and stuff. Then the best part is obviously the events.
Anyone can create and suggest an event. It can be something small. We’ve had girls, like two or three, go for coffee at a new place that’s opened up. Or it could be go for dinner, or it could be go for a hike. We’ve even had people go on holiday. We had like 20 people meet at an airport to go to Morocco together. We’ve had people go axe throwing. We’ve done all sorts basically. It’s open to every member, and any member can attend or create an event as well, which is brilliant because you’re not waiting on other people. It also means you can connect to people with the same interests as you really easily, because you see all the events and you see what’s being listed, and you see what’s coming up. Also, if you see something fun that’s not listed, you can say, “Hey guys let’s go to this,” and people go along. It’s really, really that simple.
David Brower: The other part of it that’s really cool, is it’s like crazy affordable.
Aine Mulloy: Well, it’s totally free.
David Brower: It’s totally free, but don’t you have a premium that people pay more for?
Aine Mulloy: Yeah, we have a premium version that’s in Dublin. We trialed it last year in Dublin, but we do hope to be expanding that to more cities as soon as we can. But that is affordable as well. I mean, anything that we do as kind of a ticketed or anything like that, if there’s any kind of price increase, we always are very keen to make sure it’s affordable for all of our members and try to keep the cost down as low as possible. It’s something that’s really important to us in general, because the whole point of the group is that it’s accessible. Doing something that doesn’t really gel with that doesn’t really fit with our [inaudible 00:06:01].
David Brower: Then you’ve got … I’m assuming your stuff is sponsored, so you’ve got some revenue coming in to help you make all this happen. Is that right?
Aine Mulloy: Yes. The great thing is we’ve partnered up with some great brands in the past to create events and things. We’ve done a lot of stuff with brands like Microsoft and Dell and PayPal, and companies like that who are big in their fields. It means that we have a good bank to draw on. It’s the right way to forge partnerships. We’ve also done things with makeup and beauty brands in the past, like Benefit, so that our members get exclusive access to deals and discounts and events. The way we see a partnership is anything that we build is beneficial to the company, but it’s also beneficial to our members. Kind of that two-fold piece really is very important to us.
David Brower: Everything is a win-win and very, very focused on making it easy and for now, free. Your members are really kind of limited only by their imagination, aren’t they?
Aine Mulloy: Yeah, that’s pretty much it.
David Brower: So, I have two daughters in Oregon. Near Portland, Oregon. Could they join your group? Would there be stuff available there for them? I’m just throwing that out as a question.
Aine Mulloy: At the moment, we had a group on Facebook for Portland, but we’ve closed all the groups because the app is being launched and we’re focusing on that. The best way if someone really wants to join the group and they don’t see their city, on the app we have a group called waiting for city, which is effectively a group where everyone can chat. It’s all international. It’s all open. There’s lots of US members in there. They can kind of get a feel for the app, feeling for other people in their area. Then once their city group is launched on the app officially, they can move in there. They still have full access to the app. That’s no problem at all.
David Brower: Nice.
Aine Mulloy: You can access the topic stuff. There’s still travel, careers, entrepreneurs. There’s fashion and beauty and stuff. Bloggers. Moms. There’s still lots going on even before your city is officially launched, so to speak. It’s quite rich, collectively. Lots of people in LA, and we’ll be launching there soon, but lots of people in LA have started to download it already. You can see people are chatting like, “I’m in LA. Who else is here.” You can see people saying, “I’m in LA too.” It’s a great way to get a feel for the community and get used to working it already.
David Brower: Before your city is even open, you’ve got enough connections, contacts, ease of the app, and all those kinds of things, where you can just go, “Hey, I don’t have to have my city on there. I’m going on a trip with two girls from LA, three from Austin, and four from New York.”
Aine Mulloy: Yeah, there’s lots going on on the app, absolutely.
David Brower: Is that right? You can get as creative as you want. You strike up friendships. You get ideas. You go, “I want to do that.” “Well yeah so do I. Let’s go.”
Aine Mulloy: That’s exactly it. It can be anything. We have a bunch at the moment heading off from San Francisco to [inaudible 00:08:49]. They’re going to go hiking for a few days. We had two girls on there, they were both in Japan. They were on separate trips, but they had messaged like, “I’m in Japan. Is anyone else here?” By chance the girl was and the two of them met for beers. That kind of thing. It’s really one of those things that you can use, and you can find people even in far-flung corners of the Earth. You never know where a crew member might be or might be messaging. It’s a great way to really get out there and explore things. The travel group is buzzing. It’s absolutely great. There’s lots of groups like that. People connecting over all sorts of topics and all sorts of interests, which is fantastic.
David Brower: No kidding. Absolutely. Girl Crew, the easiest way to make new friends, is the header on your website. You’re only limited by your imagination. Jump in. Go. Cal your friends. Meet new friends. It’s just really unlimited. I’m just really excited for you. I can’t wait to share it my daughters to be honest with you. It’s cool. If people want to know more, in fact you can sign up right on their website. It’s GirlCrew.com. You can get the app. You can check out their blog. You can make contacts. You can shop. You can just start chatting with people around the world and get engaged.
Aine Mulloy: Yeah, that’s pretty much it. We do a lot of stuff. At the moment we are across all social media. You can find us at Girl Crew HQ on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, et cetera. We do a lot of stuff through there, particularly on our Facebook and things like that. We do a lot of live videos and things. It’s all informal and youthful and informative for our members. We want to make everything that we do engaging and youthful, as well as fun. There’s always lots going on. It’s always great to see the variety that’s coming out of the groups and the things that people are chatting about and that they’re working towards.
You see people saying, “Oh I’m looking to get a promotion. Can anybody help me with my CV?” People will be like, “Yeah sure, send it over and I can give you some advice from a HR manager.” Or it could be people wanting to make the move to their own business. There’s loads of entrepreneurs in the groups. It’s really, as you said, you’re only limited by your own imagination. Whatever you have thought of, you can be sure someone else has thought of it in the group, and there will be people who will be happy to help and support you along your journey.
David Brower: I think the other thing that’s coming through with our conversation today is your energy, your passion, your love for this, is really coming through our interview. That reflects everything 100% on your website. What you hear is what you get. What you see is what you get. You’re having a blast, aren’t you?
Aine Mulloy: Yeah. It’s been great fun. It’s been a lot of work, but it’s been great fun. I think the best thing is being able to see the benefits for other people. We’ve hired people who were members. We’ve worked with a lot of people who were members. They’ve now gone on to get great jobs and they’re doing amazing things because of help and support they’ve gotten through the network. It’s just phenomenal. People have been so incredibly supportive of each other in the space, which is just fantastic to see. If someone’s sick, people have helped babysit the kids. People have dog-sat for them. It’s even the little things like that, that you would call on your neighbor or best friend for. People have become bridesmaids. There’s so much stuff.
David Brower: Oh my gosh.
Aine Mulloy: An unlimited number of good stories have come out of it, because it just works. It’s a simple idea that really, really works and it’s a really positive space. For us, we’ve worked hard to make sure that it’s a positive space. We’re all adults, but our principal guideline is one of respect, which I think is pretty unusual for an online space to be working that hard for the benefit of our community, really.
David Brower: It’s obviously respect, but it’s also obviously integrity. You bring that to the table full on. Congratulations. I’m really excited for you. Yeah, man. Geez Louise. I’m going to go in and put my name as Sally Lucy, you know. I’m just going to check it out. Hey, congratulations Aine. Aine Mulloy from Dublin, Ireland. Again, it’s Girl Crew. The easiest way to make new friends. Just go to GirlCrew.com. You can check them out on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, all the social media places. Really check it out and pass it on to your friends, because whether you have a city there or not, you can start having fun and start engaging with new friends today. So, congratulations. Continued success to you Aine. Thanks for the time.
Aine Mulloy: Thanks so much. Thank you.
ALLAN: Your 20-minute podcast with David Brower has been brought to you by Audible. You can listen to any of David’s podcasts anywhere podcasts can be found, including I Heart Radio, the Spotify mobile app, and at DavidBrowerVO.com/your20minutepodcast. Until next time, thanks for listening.