Love – it’s a splendid thing. But how do you find it in the fast-paced, modern world? The Inner Circle are Le Bureau members whose innovative dating app is changing the way look for love.
Here, co-founder Michael Krayenhoff tells us about finding ‘the one’, doing puzzles and taking over the world.
Hi Michael! Tell us more about The Inner Circle.
The Inner Circle is a dating app for young professionals.
Our members are all at the same stage of life, busy with their careers and looking for ‘the one’ – The Inner Circle provides an online platform for singles to meet.
We also host parties for people who don’t like dating online. Come along and you’ll meet a bar full of really cool people who are all on the same page.
What inspired you to start the business?
I met my business partner at a dinner party at the end of 2011. He had just broken up from a long-term relationship but felt like online dating sites were too anonymous and focused on quantity not quality. He asked me: why isn’t there a website where I can meet friends of friends?
I had just graduated so was keen to start something. We met the next day and drew up some ideas then met with an app developer a couple of months later.
We launched in Amsterdam in November 2012. It went viral and that provided the basis for our expansion into the rest of the world.
What’s the best part of your job?
You start out with a vague idea but [the end result] is so far away. Suddenly, you have a card from a real person who has used the app – the first time we received a card I felt quite emotional.
Now we get thousands of cards. We recently received two puzzles. The first had clues that we had to put together and it was a wedding invitation; the other was a crossword puzzle that ended up being the name of the couples’ twins.
What are the challenges of running a start-up?
It’s all one big challenge! [laughs]
You overcome one challenge, then another, but if you grow quickly you keep facing new issues so it gets even busier!
The fun thing is that everyone in the team has the same goal. Everybody has to run so fast there is no time for office politics.
What made you choose to work in a co working office?
Hiring a private office takes a lot of time and as a start up, co working means you are aren’t spending your time managing the coffee machine. In a co working space you pay one fee and everything is taken care of, which is fantastic.
I worked from home for two years…alone. If I worked from home for more than a couple of days without much social life, I struggled to reintegrate into society! I enjoy having little encounters at the coffee machine or at the entrance.
What’s next for The Inner Circle?
We have just launched in San Francisco, LA and Houston. Our strategy depends on where we are launching; we work with local event managers to set up events in the bigger, trend-setting cities then see how the city develops.
Our aim is to be worldwide in all the cosmopolitan cities. We also want to have some parallel brands; at the moment The Inner Circle is tailored towards young professionals – we would love to create a similar, trustworthy network for seniors.
THE QUICK-FIRE Q&A
Who do you most admire?
If you could go anywhere in the world, where would it be?
To discover one of the remote islands of Indonesia. There are so many untouched islands, oceans and forests there like Pa’ upan in Kalimantan.
Early bird or night owl?
How would you spend an unexpected free day?
Running and kitesurfing.
What’s the last song you listened to?
It was something by Bakermat.
I am more into ‘Game of Thrones’ at the moment.
The book that changed how you look at life?
‘Atlas Shrugged’ by Ayn Rand.
What three items would you take to a desert island?
A knife, a fire stone and a water maker.
What one thing would you change about yourself?
I quite like taking life the way it is and making the most of it…
Best piece of advice you’ve been given?
You’re only as good as the people around you.
What’s the secret to happiness?
By making most in the present, looking forward to the future and learning not to linger over the past.
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