Name: Ben Mitchell
Position within company: CEO
Period of time in the role: 18 months
Tell us a little about your company.
CheekyBoo is the fun, new, easy to use dating/social networking app that detects all nearby users within a 10 mile radius. With its up-to-the minute search engine, CheekyBoo mirrors real-time movement. Our aim is to give users that realistic opportunity to actually meet that someone special.
How long have you been working on CheekyBoo.
I came up with CheekyBoo whilst out with friends in January 2013, and after a few months of scribbling down ideas & drawing out the page layouts, I commissioned a local company to help me build & develop the concept. I designed everything; however the actual technical coding was done by professionals. We went live on the App Store in March 2014 & since then I have been working hard to grow brand awareness & gauge consumer reaction. In August 2014 I took on a Commercial Director to help with the marketing & advertising element.
What appealed to you most about entering the dating industry?
After researching, using and speaking to numerous friends and colleagues who routinely use either online or dating apps, it became clear that as more & more dating concepts enter the market, each seemed to be offering a new weird and wonderful concept to try & partner you up.
I identified that there were radars that stretched the width and breadth of the country, complicated matching algorithms based on what you might think you want, and apps that take data from your social media accounts. The list went on and although many have had success in their own right, what I wanted to achieve was a complete step back from this. I essentially wanted to offer the user the facility to meet someone in the most simplistic way possible, and this is what I believe I have created with CheekyBoo.
What is your background in?
For the last 12 years up until June of last year I had built a career within the banking sector, however over time it became clear to me that I wanted to be a part of the new digital era & in particular apps. I love the fact that over the last few years they have made so many of our lives easier & brought the world closer together. It’s a combination of my interest in technology & in particular dating, coupled with always having had a entrepreneurial mind-set, that the unique opportunity with CheekyBoo made me follow & realise my dreams.
What makes CheekyBoo different from other apps on the market?
The uniqueness of CheekyBoo lies within its simplicity. It is very simple to sign-up, it has an easy to use interface, it has no complicated match matching formulas and no Facebook or other social media accounts are needed. I wanted to create a brand that would appeal to both male & females of my target audience of 18 – 35 year olds & with the feedback I have so far received I believe I have achieved exactly that.
Another unique element to CheekyBoo is the way you search for other users. Unlike other like-minded apps, CheekyBoo allows you to simply scroll up and down the radar allowing you to see everyone who is within your current radius as many times as you wish. It is then up to you, after clicking on a particular profile, whether you want to make contact or not. This eliminates the rather unkind & prejudiced nature of other apps, where each and every individual will appear one by one on your screen with the user having to either accept, or in most cases reject, that person before they are allowed to move on.
Where do you live and how many users do you have?
I live in Bournemouth on the south coast and currently we have 6500 users who live within a 10 mile radius of Bournemouth.
How do you verify the profiles of users, do they have to login with a social account?
Currently users do not log in using a social media account, however upon sign up there is an option to sign in with Facebook, however no data is uploaded from Facebook to CheekyBoo. We are in early stage discussions with a number of leading dating companies who specialise in helping online dating sites manage the authenticity of their users, including scam users & fake profiles.
As CheekyBoo grows this is definitely an area we will work hard on. We take our users safety & privacy extremely seriously & within CheekyBoo there are also very easy methods that a user can report any unacceptable or inappropriate behaviours that can then be investigated with a click of a button.
What has been your marketing strategy so far?
The CheekyBoo marketing strategy is very much focussed on brand awareness and affiliation with other on-trend businesses where we have the same target market. The identity of CheekyBoo is very unique and really stands out to men and women, and so many people have commented on how much they love the branding. We really enjoy working with other businesses that represent what is cool in the market and have some great plans coming up for the summer and beyond!
Tell us about the Fire partnership you made. Are you looking to make more similar partnerships?
The opportunity at Fire Radio came up as we were looking to identify businesses local to Bournemouth who shared our target market. The Fire is a very cool station which plays up to date dance and club music and is popular with our users. Their commercial team loved the idea of having their own dating site, powered by CheekyBoo, and had fun in designing their ‘Fires Flirty’ logo.
We are always on the look out to work with other businesses, we have a Commercial Director who looks after that side of things, seeking out new opportunities and finding ways in which we can add value to our brand and to our users.
Why did you decide to set the CheekyBoo search radar to 10 miles?
The radar only works to a 10 mile radius so that it gives everyone that realistic opportunity to actually meet. It is all well and good chatting to someone 100 miles away, but the chances of it actually amounting to anything more than a couple of friendly messages is slim. I really want people to have the opportunity to meet, after all that’s what it’s all about isn’t it!
Did you raise any funding for CheekyBoo? Are you looking for investment?
To date, CheekyBoo has been fully funded by myself, however as we now look to expand, seeking the right investment/investor has become significantly more important & crucial for CheekyBoo to establish itself as a leading player in the UK dating market.
We would welcome investors who would like to get involved and can bring something cool to the table, or silent investors who can see the potential of the brand and are keen to help us develop it.
Do you have plans to monetise CheekyBoo?
Yes we do, however not in the traditional way of charging users to use the previously free facility or by charging monthly membership fees etc.Where CheekyBoo will monetise its service will be where it delivers something of value to its users. This will be an optional service. We do not feel comfortable charging users for something where they are not receiving something of value in exchange.
What are your plans for the next year or so?
Our plans for CheekyBoo are huge! We want to be a nationally recognised brand with up to a million users by the end of 2016. But the most important thing for us is to develop CheekyBoo into a dating app that offers more than just a search facility. We have some great plans that will be rolled out over the summer, which we hope our users are going to love.
I can’t say too much more, but CheekyBoo is more than a dating app, it will be a platform for our users to receive and benefit from other opportunities. It’s so exciting!
Check out CheekyBoo here.