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Luluvise, which launches today, aims for “girl time all the time” by recreating online the experience of private chats with your girlfriends. The all-female service has, however, attracted a lot of interest from a surprising source: men.
“We had a lot of guys submitting their emails to get access to the beta, and we must have sent out over 500 emails telling them Luluvise is for ladies only,” says founder Alexandra Chong. The company was forced to develop a standard email specifically for this purpose (see the screenshot below). “They loved this email,” Chong told me. “A lot of guys were posting it on Facebook.”
Luluvise’s target users are young women aged 18-35. Women from 69 different countries signed up for the beta, the majority being split across the US, UK and Canada. A Luluvise user first creates an “inner circle,” a private, secure space accessible only to the friends she trusts the most and with whom she is comfortable sharing private details. During the beta phase, the average user had 4-8 friends in her Inner Circle.
“Luluvise uses Facebook to make registration easier. We do not post to walls or make Luluvise information public anywhere or to other Facebook users,” Chong explained.
The scoops feature lets users share news, dilemmas and gossip in 4 formats: text scoop, photo scoop, poll scoop and the Wikidate scoop. Once a user has at least 3 friends in her Inner Circle, the number of scoops posted and spent time chatting on the site increased by about 70 percent.
The Wikidate scoop is a pre-set quiz which lets a user review any guy with a public Facebook profile and tell the inner circle what she really thinks of him.
“We take the score from your review and average it with the scores from other Luluvisers who have already reviewed the gentleman in question,” explains Chong. “Your score contributes to Luluvise’s ever-growing database of dudes.” The final score is made public but the details (specific comments of users) of the review are only available to those with access to the scoop.
Of the four types of scoops that can be created in Luluvise, Wikidate Scoops and Text Scoops proved to be the most popular with beta users. The most loved feature was the urgency buttons. Users can add an “OMG!” or an “SOS” to their scoops and almost every scoop created in the beta had one of these tags attached.
Luluvise’s business model is not yet clear. The company will initially concentrate on building up the user base. E-commerce in the form of group buying, offers, and even virtual goods as well as sponsorship are among the options being considered for generating revenue. The company will launch an iPhone application before the end of the year.
Luluvise was founded in 2010, is based in London, has 10 employees, and has received $1 million in funding from Passion Capital, ProFouders Capital and various angel investors.