Yenta: Unleashing our matchmaking service on the world
Today is the day. Launch Day. It’s been a while since I’ve given you an update on Yenta, probably because I’ve been so busy working on Yenta! Let’s take a few steps back.
First, the obvious: we’ve simplified our brand and are simply called Yenta. It’s simpler, it’s cleaner, and it’s more elegant. At least, that’s the feedback we’ve gotten.
We ran a few MVP trials with “yentas” from Manhattan. We put four yentas together, and between them they generated three matches. They also expressed willingness to pay for our service, which is key to success both within the FIELD 3 module, and beyond.
Speaking of money, we’ve also implemented a three-tier revenue model. First, Yenta is offered to users using a freemium model; anyone can use the site for free, but if Yentas want to match more than five friends, they’ll have to pay $1. Second, we’ll offer strategic advertising targeted to the matching and dating experience. Third, we plan to develop and sell a mobile app so matchmaking can happen anywhere.
On to our site, which goes live (eek!) in a few hours. (Plug: sign up at http://bit.ly/hbsyenta). Currently, users sign up as either a Yenta or a Catch. Yentas are the matchmakers, Catches are their friends who are ready to be set up. With our current functionality, Yentas can log in using Facebook, see which of their friends are on the site as both Yentas and Catches, and start talking to each other and setting up their single friends.
Taking a cue from Rebecca’s most recent entry, I’d like to share some key learnings from FIELD so far.
1. Developer selection is key. Unlike many classmates, we did not outsource web development to someone overseas. Instead, we worked with a Harvard undergraduate. This was what we business school students like to call a “high beta” or risky, strategy. The downside is that he’s a busy undergraduate with lots of things on his plate, so deadlines can be a bit… fluid. The benefits, however, have completely compensated for the risk we took on. We talk to, text with and see our developer daily, the site is updated/iterated/fixed continuously, and he’s really busted his butt to build the most amazing, advanced platform. It ended up working out for us, but it very easily could have driven us down the drain.
2. Figure out your incentives early. From day one, the Yenta group decided that we’d rather build a long-term business than a short-term “FIELD” business. That is, we all are really excited about and invested in the product, so regardless of what happens through the curricular part of this process, we’ll prioritize the health of Yenta over the health of our FIELD grade. This wouldn’t work for every team, but it’s served us all very well through the process. The most important thing is that we all agreed to be on the same page.
3. Perfect your elevator pitch. It took us a while to truly nail down what exactly our product us, and through the iterative creative process is helpful, it really hurt us when people would ask what our business was and each group member gave a different answer. Know your value proposition, know the pain point your solving, and explain it as succinctly as possible. Yenta is an online matchmaking site that leverages the power of friendship to help singles find meaningful relationships. Our 90-second promotional video on our splash page really helps with this. Yay for our videographer!
Hopefully we’ll still be alive and thriving by the end of the day. We look forward to bringing you more love soon!
[Update: Yenta thrived in the stock market, with the greatest % increase in stock price in Section G.]