How one woman’s unusual experience with Tinder inspired her to set up a new social network

GirlCrew cofounder and co-CEO Elva Carri
Courtesy of GirlCrew

One Friday night a few years back, Elva Carri wanted to go out dancing, but her friends were either too busy or too tired to come out.

What Carri decided to do next led to the beginning of what would become an exciting business adventure. And it all started when she went on the popular dating app, Tinder.

With the hope that other women nearby would be in a similar situation, Carri logged onto Tinder, changed her gender setting to male and stuck up a profile picture stating to other women in Dublin that she was female and was actually looking for people to go dancing with — rather than dates.

"She thought people would think she was crazy but did it anyway," said Pamela Newenham, who is a founder and co-CEO of social media firm GirlCrew alongside co-CEO Carri.

"Within 24 hours (Carri) had over 100 enthusiastic matches. She added everyone to a secret Facebook group in Dublin, where she was based, and GirlCrew was born."

GirlCrew cofounders Elva Carri, Pamela Newenham and Aine Mulloy.
Courtesy of GirlCrew

"The 'aha' moment was realizing she didn't have to be the one to organize events, members can organize events themselves. This happened when (Carri) stepped away from her computer to do some household jobs, and when she returned, she discovered the members of the Facebook group had already planned the first event," Newenham told CNBC Make It via email.

Since GirlCrew was founded in Dublin during 2014, the social platform has branched out to locations all over the world, including San Francisco, Edinburgh and Melbourne.

It now has over 100,000 members in some 46 cities, and has collaborated with the likes of Facebook and represented the European Union at SXSW Interactive Festival, which is part of South by Southwest, in Austin, Texas.

We're all about supporting women
Pamela Newenham
co-founder of GirlCrew

The company has three co-founders including co-CEO Elva Carri, with Pamela Newenham and Aine Mulloy also being part of the founding team.

While Tinder may have been a catalyst to GirlCrew's beginning, the Dublin-based platform and app is formatted differently. What GirlCrew looks to achieve is to connect women with others in their own city for a whole range of activities, whether that's going out to nightclubs, or having brunch and going on holiday.

A GirlCrew pop-up shop event
Courtesy of GirlCrew

The app, which launched in 2017, also enables members to share knowledge and advice on a range of topics, from career tips to restaurant recommendations.

"We want no woman to ever feel alone. No matter where they are, they can join us and chat to other women for support, advice, tips (and more)," said Newenham, adding that even if GirlCrew hasn't launched in a person's city, women can still get involved.

"We're all about supporting women. Our principle guideline as a company is one of respect, and that feeds into our community and the support we offer each other."

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