Once upon a time, after getting rejected on a dating app, Max Adamski thought to himself 'talk first, photo second?' And the JigTalk concept was created.
Soon afterwards, he teamed up with friend turned business partner, Alex Durrant, to create what would soon be known as the blind dating game.
Basically, the way it works is you have 16 jigsaw pieces that cover your photo, and these unveil one by one as more and more messages are exchanged.
“The idea behind JigTalk was dreamed up by Max when he was using Tinder unsuccessfully,” Alex said. “He thought, ‘You know what? I could have a lot more success with these girls if I spoke to them first before seeing their photos.’
“Max and I are originally from Norwich. We met when we were around 18 years old. Max went off to university and I basically started off as a junior accountant in Norwich.
“Two years after realising Norwich didn’t have much to offer the buoyant life of a 22 year old I decided to move to Leeds and live with Max and his student friends.
“Within the first six months of living in bedrooms next door to each other Max had the eureka moment and it was a match made in heaven really.
“I’m the business side and Max is a designer and front end developer so he manages all of that side of the business. We’re like ying and yang!”
The duo came up with the idea in the summer of 2015 and spent several months fine tuning their business idea before bringing it to market. After a few tweaks and changes, they decided to try and secure funding to help them build the app.
They successfully secured £30,000 from a family friend and released their first BETA version of the app on 14 Feb 2016, gaining over 1,000 test users from in and around Leeds. This validation provided the platform needed to secure further investment to scale the business.
“After securing our first lot of funding we got our small development team together and developed the application before trialling it amongst students at universities in Leeds on Valentine’s Day 2016,” added Alex. “The Valentine’s Day launch wasn’t intentional however, we actually wanted to launch it in December and it just happened to fall then by chance!”
Having launched the app, the duos first major challenge was finding users to test the application and spread the word. Luckily, as a start-up in Leeds, they had the ideal market right at their feet.
“We both lived in Leeds which made it an obvious choice but it was also down to one of our main marketing channels being our target audience of student populous,” he added. “Leeds has a fantastic student community.
“We’ve now also backed up our reasoning behind staying in Leeds thanks to the city’s strong business community. We’ve found local business people to be really approachable, we’ve found it easy to sit down with people and have a coffee and hear more about their business experiences. We’ve had a lot of support.”
The decision to stay in Leeds and grow the business in Yorkshire soon proved a shrewd one. Alex continued: “During the period between February and June 2016 we managed to acquire a thousand beta testers in Leeds alone. These were university students we recruited straight off the campus who were enthusiastic about what we were doing.
“This allowed us to gather valuable feedback and take the app to the next level by securing further investment. After hitting our 1,000 user target by Summer 2016 we went out to source further investment and secured £130,000 from investors.”
The duo are now all set to bring the app to market and have ambitious plans for the future. Alex said: “The first version is expected to launch on Android and Apple on 12 January 2017 and will be available across the North of England.
“We’re looking to acquire a significant amount of users in a very short period between January and June. On the back of that we’re also hoping to complete another investment round of around £1m in July/August.
“We’ll then be looking to take the app UK wide and hopefully go on to expand into the US and Europe.”