Jens-Philipp Klein is a Co-Founder of Likemind, which launched in 2012 with two addtional founders Annika Hamann and Daniel Rinser. Likemind is a new mobile platform for discovering and getting to know likeminded people with common interests in your area.
The one unique thing that has contributed to the team’s success, so far, is transferring the idea of street flyers, that you can find in cities all over the world, into a new kind of virtual and social object. The flyer design is something that is recognized as being ‘local’ which reflects how our app works for finding like-minded people in your area, plus it has enabled us to easily limit the number of requests the author is able to receive, giving a sense of perspective and positive pressure to other users.
We have been testing the product in beta prior to launch and decided to focus this in the Netherlands, which proved very successful, and saw the user base grow virally without any external press or marketing activities. During the beta period over 150,000 messages have been exchanged by Likemind users through the app.
If I could change one thing, I would have definitely started the company five years earlier. When launching a new app in what is deemed a ‘crowded space’ it isn’t always easy conveying your message to the market, and would have been easier to achieve cut-through five years ago when there were less community-focused apps available. But we truly believe that there is an unfilled gap for when people simply want to discover and get to know like minded people with common interests in their area.
Even though we truly believe in the “lean startup” idea we feel that we waited a little too long to launch our product publicly. While we’re very happy with Likemind as it is today and had a very successful launch, we perhaps should have released the app sooner with fewer features and introduced more while growing our user base at the same time.
In order to gain a fresh perspective and get back on track the team might participate in an off site meeting, for example we recently went to the famous Castle Cecielenhof. Getting out of the usual working environment helps us gain focus on product development and our end goals.
As the product is still early stage, we’re not at liberty to discuss exact figures yet, but we have received initial funding from Christophe Maire, JMES-Investments plus other private investors. Securing this initial funding has enabled us to take our product to market and having the backing of well-known and respected Angel investors only motivates us more and makes our mission to succeed even stronger.
We created Likemind as we felt that current people discovery platforms either focus on your existing friends or on dating, so we wanted to create something for the gap in between these two.
So far I feel that our public launch has been my biggest success story. It’s great to get positive reviews for the work you have done, for such a long period of time, and see your user base significantly grow.
The one entrepreneur that I respect the most is Sergey Brin, his story of building a highly profitable search engine company and then turning it into a leading global technology corporation really inspires me.
On our journey so far, I think that our choice to build a service in a highly competitive space is by far the craziest thing that we have done. However, we did it because we believe that there is a gap for a product like ours, and from our launch response and user feedback it seems that our feelings were right.