Writing about 2016 is really hard for me, mostly because so much happened that it’s really hard to even comprehend or digest it myself. This year started out with a lot of hope, a lot of doubt, and a lot of unknown. We had just submitted the first version of the Hey! VINA app to the App Store. We had negative dollars to our names. And we were high hustle and blind faith that things would work out… and four weeks later, the MVP (that’s minimum viable product for non-startup people) of Hey! VINA app made its debut on the App Store. And we popped some champagne and waited.
A few hours later, Fast Company and TechCrunch released their articles reviewing the app, and the world went crazy for it. Jen and I were the entirety of the VINA team at that time, and our little app that we thought maybe a few hundred or a thousand people might d
ownload was on fire… and I mean that in both the good way and in the bad way. We were trending on the app store in a matter of days. Everything was breaking. With blood shot eyes and wayyyy too lived in yoga pants, we coded, designed, and manually sent every single welcome email and invitation off the waitlist. We slept 2 hours a night, and tried to keep up with you all. In less than 10 days from our initial launch, we had more than 100,000 women on the waitlist and 5,000 emails asking for Hey! VINA for Android. WHEW!!
It was thanks to your resounding “OMG! I NEED THIS!!” that we had the evidence we needed to prove to Silicon Valley investors that women’s friendship and products for women by women wasn’t just some “niche” problem to solve. I learned how to pitch and I I hit the road to Sand Hill find the moulah we needed to cover our quickly growing expenses and hire on the support we needed. We raised
$1.5M from Tinder, NEA, Greylock, and Wildcat Ventures, and we dove right back into making the platform better and better.
Since then, we’ve built our dream team, we’ve relaunched the app (so it’s infinitely better), and we’ve removed the waitlist. Now, just a few (ahem, MORE THAN TEN MILLION) swipes later, we’ve connected hundreds of thousands of women to become friends all around the world. 🙌
Now, I bet you’re wondering what 2017 is going to bring? Well, Hey! VINA for Android, that’s for sure, but stay tuned for our 1 year anniversary announcement coming up at the end of January. I simply want this note to be one of reflection and gratitude, and here I say an enormous thank you. For believing in me, in us, and in the future of friendship.
2016 was a rough year for many, and while we had a truly incredible year at VINA, we standby with the belief that the next year is going to be even better. You know how they say misery loves company? Well, we believe happiness and success loves it even more.
Cheers to a fabulous new year of friendship, vinas!
Lots of love, ladybrags, and hugs,