In 2019, as if it were a premonition, 3 French guys fresh out of University launched a video chat site called LuckyCrush. The principle is simple: on LuckyCrush, two users are randomly connected through live video chat. Men are only connected with women and women are only connected with men. The chat lasts from a few seconds to several hours, but instantly ends when one of the partners clicks “next”, which instantly connects them to new random partners. The goal? Flirting virtually, instantly and ephemerally with a random stranger, totally anonymously and without meeting in real life. After just a year, the team had a total of 10M users on their site and became a super profitable startup company generating 3M$/month in revenue to its founders. We interviewed Jay, CEO, who tells us more about this incredible business story and how the global lock-down due to COVID19 boosted their growth.
Who are the LuckyCrush founders?
“We are 3 friends aged between 20 and 30 years old. Until 2 years ago, we were still alternating between internships, freelancing and University. We all come from different fields: one of us was in web development, another one in engineering and I come from a business school. We always knew we wanted to create a startup, something big. We are interested in two things: online social interactions and automated businesses (those where you can automate processes like user acquisition and quickly scale up). A third characteristic of our business ideas is that it must be fun. We have always worked on ideas that are fun to talk about or demonstrate things about our society. If you ask me what defines and distinguishes our team is that we are data centric entrepreneurs. Whether we are talking about product strategy or user acquisition, we leave our intuition in the closet and make 100% of our decisions through data analysis and testing. The best ideas don’t come from the mind. They are already here. You just find them through the numbers: more and more relationships that stay virtual on dating app chats, a high percentage of people are shy and feel more comfortable talking with strangers through video conferencing tools, and tons of other metrics and research subjects showed us the market for something like LuckyCrush was ripe. This is where ideas are. If this is true for idea generation, it’s also true for your product development and user acquisition. Don’t spend time wondering if your new ad should have a yellow or purple background. Just test as many options as possible simultaneously and choose the one that generates the highest ROI. This is the only way to succeed in the 2021 Internet world which is highly competitive.“
Where did the idea come from?
“As I said, to us ideas come from analysis. Most people are shy. Most people think that dating is a long process if what they really want is just to flirt with someone else. On random chat sites, most people are guys looking for female members who don’t exist because these sites don’t moderate and offer a safe space to women. The conclusion was obvious: creating a site or an app allowing virtual flirtations with a random stranger, through live video chat, in one click. Additionally, men would only be matched with women and vice-versa. Finally, there would be a serious auto-moderation system allowing members to report other members and getting them banned if necessary. This is how LuckyCrush came up. Why is LuckyCrush a website and not an app? The LuckyCrush video chat site can be opened from any browser, whether you’re on a laptop or smartphone. The only thing you need is an Internet connection and a camera on your device (which almost all laptops and smartphones have today). Then, you just type the URL https://www.luckycrush.live, select your gender, click ‘start’ and you’re automatically matched with a random partner of the opposite gender in less than 3 seconds. Having a site instead of an app makes it more available. A lot of people are still reluctant to download things. Imagine, when you only have an app, you are trying to make people download something without them having experienced anything good from you yet. This makes no sense. With a website, you allow users to try out your value proposition in a few clicks. It’s a less frictional approach. I often say as a joke (because it only works for a certain type of services, of course) that all MVPs (Minimum Viable Product) should be sites instead of apps, to optimise conversion in the first launch attempt. Which is the only thing entrepreneurs should care about for their first launch.”
How do you make money with LuckyCrush?
“The business model is simple and based on what the first dating sites were doing. There are always more men than women looking for flirting or love partners online. That’s a fact. Because on LuckyCrush, guys have the opportunity to start a virtual date with a female partner in one click, without risking running into other guys looking for the same thing like on other random chat sites, guys are asked to buy some additional credits after they use their daily free chat time. This allows us to invest in site technical development and advertising which is 90% focused on women. We are the first chat site that has at least 50% of female members. The limited free time for men and the sale of credits also allow us to regulate the number of women and men on the site, which is our main objective. In such a system, if you have too many more men than women, men will have a waiting line before getting paired with a partner. To avoid that, we regulate registrations to make sure there are always approximately 50% of guys and 50% of girls online at any time. The fact is that the experience on LuckyCrush is really awesome, especially for men who don’t have to wait more than 2 seconds before getting paired up with a female partner through live video chat. This doesn’t exist anywhere else. I mean, of course I’m going to say that – I’m the founder – but I know we created something that makes anyone trying it out say ‘WOW’. The proof is that we are receiving tons of emails from users saying we have created something amazing. This really encourages us to keep developing the site and its features.”
Did you experience difficulties?
“Of course. It was far from being easy. The way the site works imposes that there are a certain number of men and a certain number of women, in relatively equal proportions, online the first minute after we launch the site. And this is not something easy. We won’t disclose our user acquisition strategy in this article but we can say it’s something that requires massive investments as well as good data and analytics skills. To start with, we were losing more money than we were earning, but after 3 months we started making a profit. It wouldn’t have worked without using very deep data analytics tools that allowed us to optimise our acquisition strategy and put our money where it was bringing the most people to our site, as fast as possible.“
What’s next for LuckyCrush?
“Developing the site, its features and the community. We have already received company buyout offers from internet services companies, investment funds… We received the first one 3 months after we launched. But we declined all the offers and our only goal is to keep developing LuckyCrush. We are partnering with big industry players, on the tech side as well as on the user acquisition side, to strengthen our position on the market and become a place you can’t miss if you’re bored at home tonight!”