Lizz Warner, Founder & CEO of Gleam

Gleam is a video-based dating app where you go on a 10-minute video chat before you can text.

Episode Transcript

Tony Zayas 0:05
Hey, everybody, welcome to another episode of the SaaS Founders Show where we have fascinating conversations with successful SaaS founders. We’re just really here all about the journey along the way, all the things they’ve experienced and encountered, and learn a lot of great things as we go through these conversations. And so today, I’m super excited to have on Liz Warner. She’s the founder and CEO of GLEAM, and it’s a video-based dating app where you go on a 10-minute video chat before you can text. super cool concept. So I’m excited to have on so let me bring her on the screen. Hey, Liz, welcome.

Lizz Warner 0:41
Hey, Tony. Thank you for having me.

Tony Zayas 0:43
Yeah, for sure. I’m super excited that you’re here. And I guess to start out, tell us, just tell us a little bit about GLEAM love to hear about it. Super cool concept.

Lizz Warner 0:53
Yeah, so it’s a pretty straightforward concept. Basically, it’s a video-based dating app that’s currently live in LA, New York. And the way it works is you set your availability on the app, you swipe to match with people, and then the app sets you up on a timed 10-minute video chat, before you can text the other person. And then after you’ve had a video chat, then you can text them, you can call them back whatever you want. But the idea is the first interaction is a short 10-minute video date.

Tony Zayas 1:22
Very cool. So really curious, where you know, where did the idea come from? Where did that originate? And? And how did you know you turn that idea into a reality?

Lizz Warner 1:34
Yeah, I’ve had the idea of just like, about video-dating, like for as long as I can remember. And then a few years ago, like I worked in video production. So I was always like, at the office super late, like barely had any free time. And I found that whenever I would like, go on first dates, it usually was like, command, I could have figured out if I vibe with you through like a video chat. And so what I started doing was just video calling my dates that I would meet through other apps. And I found that they loved it too because they’d have to leave their couch. And no one had to worry about who’s gonna pay and you just figure it out, like right away. Either you wanted to meet the other person, and if it was, like worth your time, because I think that was my biggest thing is I just like, had such little precious free time. And I didn’t want to spend it on like, you know, a bad first date. So So yeah, so I started doing that. And then I told my girlfriend about it. And they’re like, Oh, that’s so smart. Like, I’m gonna start doing that too. And I was on a road trip, when they said that I was like, you know what, I’m just like, sick of waiting for this to happen. I’m just gonna start working on it. And so I did.

Tony Zayas 2:41
That’s really cool. So you were actually you kind of had an MVP in insofar as you were like, kind of what you were doing, right? The the video chats to get started. That’s really cool. Yeah, just in preparing for this conversation today. I thought about, you know, the whole online dating space is like, so crowded, there’s, you know, big players out there. How did you make the decisions, he had this idea, which is super cool. I’ve never heard of anything like that, like a, you know, video conversation to start it off. But where? When did you after, after having done that and finding that that was successful to have those video chats with people to determine if it’s worthwhile to, you know, discuss any talk any further with them or meet up with them? When did you make the decision that this was something that you wanted to, you know, turn into a product and a business?

Lizz Warner 3:35
Yeah, I think it was like during that road trip, specifically, just because, like, when I would start talking about it, like, everyone’s like, oh, I’m gonna start doing that. Or like, I would love that. I would love to use that. And then, you know, I like you said, I would MVP tested by like, video calling just random dates. And they loved it, too. So I really never got like, I don’t know, and no. And so I think like when I was specifically on that road trip with my girlfriends, and they were like, Oh, yeah, like, you should definitely, like, start working on that. I’m gonna start doing that. Like, I think that was the moment where I was like, I’m gonna start working on this.

Tony Zayas 4:10
That is cool. So are do you have a technical background? Or do you have someone who you partner with on that side?

Lizz Warner 4:18
Yeah, so I have no, I don’t have a technical background. But I have a developer who basically built the app from scratch. So we’ve been working together for a little while. And yeah, that’s it’s definitely…

Tony Zayas 4:34
How is it been being you know, sometimes we talk to founders, and there’s either the technical ones, or the non-technical and we’ve seen a lot of both. And how, how is it? You know, passing your vision along to someone to explain to them since they’re going to be executing it. What is that been like and what have you learned along the way?

Lizz Warner 4:56
Yeah, so I had to learn how to use Figma which is like the software used to design the screens of the app. And then like, yeah, my developer and I would just kind of like talk it through. And then he would go and build it pretty much. I’d say like, the hardest thing for me has been not knowing what takes time in terms of building it, like certain things might take a really long time. Other things might not so, you know, it’s just important to schedule like very regular meetings with your developer to figure out like, okay, like, what, what do we need to prioritize this week?

Tony Zayas 5:33
Yeah. So let’s say just, this is a product that right now.

Lizz Warner 5:38
So it is out in the App Store. So if you’re in LA or New York, you could download it and use it. And then if you’re not you can vote on our website. What city we should come to next.

Tony Zayas 5:51
I saw that. That’s pretty cool. So what’s, who’s leading right now? Is it Chicago?

Lizz Warner 5:56
Chicago’s leading? Yes, I like it a lot.

Tony Zayas 5:59
That’s cool. It’s my hometown. So…

Lizz Warner 6:01
Oh, nice.

Tony Zayas 6:02
There. Yeah. That’s pretty cool to hear that they’re represented. Yeah. So cool. I’m just curious seeing that it’s out, newer one was, you know, when was the road trip when you made the decision to like, I’m gonna dive in and do this. When did that occur?

Lizz Warner 6:19
It was back in 2019. So sorry, Coronavirus. I…

Tony Zayas 6:24
I was gonna ask, because I was wondering if it came up before the whole pre-pandemic and everything only because I’m curious how everything that that has transpired since then, how has that changed, altered, shifted, pushed forward? What you’re doing because they’re, you know, video communications has become so much more. Through all that.

Lizz Warner 6:51
Yeah. I mean, I definitely remember learning about like, I was like, what was going off a pandemic, and I thought I was just like, oh, shit, like, everyone else is gonna start doing this, you know, but it was actually like, a really good thing because people really weren’t used to doing video call so often. And I think if it hadn’t been for the Coronavirus, like, people probably would have felt like, way more hesitant to, um, but it kind of made you know, that behavior of video dating like a much more normalized thing. And, you know, I’ve been reading all these, like studies that say that post-pandemic, the number one behavior that’s going to remain in dating is like virtual dating. So I would say it’s, like, ultimately set us up for success.

Tony Zayas 7:38
Yeah, definitely. Sounds like you’re writing a, you know, positively riding that trend. super interesting. To that point, I’m, I’m sure the normalization and like them, you know, critical mass is using video conferencing, as probably helped to have people not as skeptical and try it out or whatnot. So what is the user base look like now? And how are you getting people on to I guess I’ll ask, how did you start getting people initially, kind of your early adopters, kind of beta testers? How did you go about that process to find people to try it out?

Lizz Warner 8:17
Yeah, so what we started doing was setting up like very MVP tests. So, we basically I created like a spreadsheet of like, you know, 10 girls had guys actually, like 50 girls with guys. And then I’d like to match them up. And then we would try basically different ways of setting them up on the date. So like, one situation, they set the dates of themselves. And another situation, we picked a time for them another situation, we gave them options. And we just found out that like, they had to do it themselves. It just like, did it work it just like, you know, it would get lost in translation, or be like, Oh, actually, just kidding, changed my bed. So we found that like, just us like, picking your time is what works best. And that’s kind of like what led to the development of the app light is the way it is today.

Tony Zayas 9:06
Very cool. What are some of the things that you know, user feedback that you got? That helped influence may be changed a little bit of a direction or the way a feature worked? Or something like that? Did you get a lot of input like that? And also, did you pry it prioritize, you know, feedback and ideas for things to do down the road on the roadmap?

Lizz Warner 9:28
Yeah, I know, it’s crazy, cuz we get, like, so much, so many ideas and feedback all the time. So it’s hard to figure out like, what do you prioritize? And I’d say, like, you have to prioritize the things that will inhibit growth, and then, like, fix those first. And so, so yeah, I guess like one of the early pieces of feedback was like, it wasn’t even feedback. It was just like, we noticed that people like we’re not good at like, not as good at scheduling it themselves or they like forget or whatever. So we just knew that we need to build something where the work is just like died for people basically. And then that’s what Yeah, like led to us like having a schedule or feature on the app where you just set your availability, you can change at any time. And then once you match, the app will automatically schedule you both on a date when there’s overlap.

Tony Zayas 10:20
Oh, that’s cool. So that’s built-in now that kind of based on availability?

Lizz Warner 10:25

Tony Zayas 10:26
Cool. It’s like I use calendly. The schedule?

Lizz Warner 10:29
Yeah. Sounds like yeah, it’s kinda like calendly, which dating a little bit?

Tony Zayas 10:36
That’s very cool.

Lizz Warner 10:37

Tony Zayas 10:38
Um, so, you know, for these types of networks, you have to get to that level of you got to have enough users in there. So how have you addressed that with you being early on?

Lizz Warner 10:49
Yeah. Yeah, I mean, it’s definitely like, you know, growth has been like th growth of an app is something I’ve never done before. So I’m definitely like learning that as I go. We’ve started. So the first thing we did was we’re launching like a city by city. So it’s really not important to just like to open up, it’s really important to not just open up like worldwide, because then like, people don’t want the app, then no one will be on it, and then delete it. So we started by launching in Los Angeles first and then grew by like, mostly by like, word of mouth. I did some guerilla marketing. So like, I got GLEAM, a hand sanitizer, I was more of the middle of a pandemic that I just like, passed it out on one of the popular hikes. So we also did a, like we did a partnership with another photography company, that like, you don’t have wanted to partner with a dating app. And so like, we basically just like set up an event where people could come and get, like, their profile pictures taken. So little, like things like that. And that’s just something that, you know, probably doing, like forever. So it’s been a really interesting learning experience.

Tony Zayas 12:06
So how are you able to the point of, you know, there being all these different dating sites? How are you able to articulate you know, why GLEAM, and how it’s different? And how do you articulate that value to people to get them, I guess, both, you know, you know, both potential users. But that is a bigger sense, I don’t know, we could talk in a second about like, if you’re looking for funding or if you’ve bootstrap, but you know, there’s going to be all these people out there that you need as a founder to influence and get them to see your vision. How has that been for you? How have you gone about that?

Lizz Warner 12:47
Yeah, so it’s definitely a very crowded space. But the core difference between ours and like the other major apps is like pretty simple, which is that there’s no texting beforehand. And like in every other app, it’s like, every other app is like a matching app, all the popular ones. It’s like just match, match, match, match. And then like nothing happens. So with ours, it’s like you actually like to go on a date. It’s like a dating app. So once you Yeah, once you get once you match with someone, it takes you straight to the date, you don’t waste time texting, you know, you don’t have this, like getting caught in this loop of like an endless swipe cycle, where you’re just constantly like batching, with new people, then nothing ever goes anywhere. So, so that’s the core difference between GLEAM and most of these other like major apps. And then the other core difference, besides the no texting is that you know, it schedules it for you. And there’s like alerts and reminders, and that no other apps have that, that both of those.

Tony Zayas 13:46
Yeah, that’s very cool. So do you pay close attention to all the different other sites like features and what, what is being done and you know, the rates that the other sites are growing in popularity, all of that?

Lizz Warner 14:05
I definitely do, but I don’t spend too much time on it. Because you just kind of it’s, it’s not very helpful to know that, like, it’s better to just like focus on like improving your own product and talking to users as much as possible. And like, there could be another app that does the exact same thing. But if we do a better you know, what, when?

Tony Zayas 14:28
What is the feedback? What is that feedback collection process look like? How to like how do you learn from users? How do you get feedback from them?

Lizz Warner 14:36
Yeah, so it’s a combination of just talking to people and then doing surveys. So like, on the app, we have like, under the Settings tab, like there’s like a sad user feedback survey. That we also have like a rating pop up after these are some gone on like a video date. So then they can give feedback then and then other besides Add, it’s just like randomly reaching out to people or to users who’ve, like, create a profile or been on video dates and just like talking to them and seeing what it’s like.

Tony Zayas 15:11
Very cool. As far as your background goes, I would love to hear about your experience at BuzzFeed?

Lizz Warner 15:20

Tony Zayas 15:21
And how do you take you to know, those skills that you have? and things that, you know, sounds like you’ve had a lot of success in your career? How do you take those and parlay those things into, you know, this endeavor?

Lizz Warner 15:35
Yeah, so I come from a video production background at BuzzFeed. So I was like one of the founding video producers there back in like 2014. And then I led the growth of a creative their travel franchise called to bring me. And so I don’t know, if you’ve seen those, like, minute-long videos on Facebook that’s, like, visit this place, or like, check out this giant donut or whatever. Like, that was the videos that my team and I made. So I think like, it’s definitely parlayed into this experience, because like, for example, you know, we have we’ve made ads as well. And so, you know, it’s definitely been helpful to have like a social media background, and, you know, using my experience as a producer to make content for ads for GLEAM, and then also, you know, even just for like, our social channels to like, get a lot of growth as well there.

Tony Zayas 16:35
That’s great. I would just love to hear about some of you know, people in your network, whether they’re mentors or kind of support, you know, people you lean on, what does that look like, you know, as a founder diving in having a vision, creating something brand new, it’s usually, we hear a lot of stories about, you know, the value and impact of mentors and people that you’re able to brainstorm with and ask questions and lean on a bit. So what does that look like for you?

Lizz Warner 17:09
Yeah, I mean, like, because of the pandemic, and like being able to video chat, it’s so much easier to have access to, like so many more people. So I’ve been able to, like grow my network in the tech space, like pretty wide, which has been like, really cool. And something I just totally didn’t have at all before. And I think like, once you just meet more people and talk to more people, you definitely start to learn who you can ask, like, certain types of questions to like, if I have like, more business-related questions, I go to one person, if I have more technical questions that go to like another person. And then I also have just, like, been fortunate to have like, a lot of like, friends who really just believe in the idea. And so they’re always like, contributing and like connecting me with people, or we’ll do like, brainstorm together. And then I have, like, you know, people on the team who are working on GLEAM part-time. And so I’m always like talking to them about like ideas and things we can do just to improve the app experience.

Tony Zayas 18:13
That’s great. What does the team look like?

Lizz Warner 18:16
Yeah, so basically, it’s like, we have, like, 15 people working on it part-time. So I’m full-time. And then obviously, my developer. And so once we were beginning, like the fundraising, stage, right now, actually, and so my goal is to fundraise so that we can bring more people on full time.

Tony Zayas 18:41
That’s great. So that’s something that you’re diving into now is the fundraising aspect.

Lizz Warner 18:46

Tony Zayas 18:47
How has that been so far?

Lizz Warner 18:49
I mean, we haven’t been open to investment yet. I’ve definitely been like, you know, in, in talks with people who are like very interested in investing and so now that we feel like okay, we’re, we’re seeing steady growth and you know, the opposite a good place like we are going to open up to fundraising. So I haven’t like, I don’t have a ton of experience with against I haven’t like actually done it. But you know, I think it’s been helpful to have been like networking for the past year, like very intensely. So I have, you know, people lined up who are interested in investing.

Tony Zayas 19:28
That’s great. So have you pitch it if you pitch to investors yet?

Lizz Warner 19:32
Not yet. No.

Tony Zayas 19:34
Okay. So how do you feel about that? Are you excited, nervous, a little bit of both?

Lizz Warner 19:41
I think a little bit of both. I mean, everyone says it’s like really brutal. So you know, not excited for that. And my goal is just to be like, Okay, I’m not going to let it like, bring me down in any way and just like keep going forward. And just get as much advice as I can from people. Basically, and people who’ve done it before,

Tony Zayas 20:03
I was just gonna ask that. So do you have some contacts that you’ve been able to talk to about kind of what to expect and, you know, share your, you know, what your approach is going to be and get feedback?

Lizz Warner 20:13
Definitely, definitely, that’s like pretty much going to be my focus now. It’s just like, delving into talking to contacts and like, seeing what their experience was like, and, you know, things I should avoid doing or focus on. So that will, that will definitely be what’s next.

Tony Zayas 20:30
We’ve heard from a lot of founders just about that experience. And it’s just interesting that most founders we’ve talked to that have raised money. They’ve said that you know, really, that when you’re going into fundraising man, like that becomes like a full-time gig just the time that you have to spend there. So is that where you’re at right now? Is this starting to take up? You know, a lot of your time? I know, it’s, you’re getting started with the process. But how much of your effort now is being spent on the fundraising side?

Lizz Warner 21:00
Yeah, I mean, I’m just getting like, started into it. So my goal is, for it to not become a full-time job and like to make sure that I’m still like, talking to users and focusing on growth, because that’s, like, the most important thing, so I’m just gonna have to, like, you know, delegate and prioritize my time in terms of like, okay, I don’t want this to take over my life. So how do I make it so that I could still manage the other things I need to do but also squeeze in fundraising?

Tony Zayas 21:29
Yeah. Wow. It’s exciting. We always thought we have plans to bring back some founders who have gone through interesting, you know, interesting evolutions in their business. So if and when you get there, we’d love to, you know, cure kind of…

Lizz Warner 21:46
Yeah, definitely, No worries.

Tony Zayas 21:49
Very cool. Yeah. Go back to the team a little bit. So you have you know, quite a few people that are working on it, even if it’s part-time. What has come from a culture standpoint, what have you been trying to like? What type of people are you looking for, to work on this product in your business?

Lizz Warner 22:07
Yeah, I mean, the most important thing is, is just like people who are really passionate about the idea, and like, really want to see a change in the dating space. So that’s like, the first thing that I look for because those are the people that are going to, you know, put in the extra effort and like, really go above and beyond and like, yeah, people, people who are passionate about it, I say, this is just the most important thing right now. And then I think, like, as we get funding and club full time, we’ll also be looking a lot more heavily until like, you know, the experience they’ve had, and they worked on other dating apps before, that will definitely come into play.

Tony Zayas 22:49
What is your planning look like? For as you know, you’re going into, you know, working on securing funding? Do you have a plan for, you know, where you’d be putting those dollars in development people, you know, what does that currently look like?

Lizz Warner 23:07
Yeah, definitely. So we’re looking to find a product person and a second engineer. So definitely, like, people, is the first the first hire. And then additionally, we have been talking to some PR firms that we really want to work with who worked with other like, very big data gaps. So the funding will definitely go into there. So I’d say like, people, and growth right now. It’s just like, the two most important things we use the funding for, and then go from there.

Tony Zayas 23:39
Yeah, that’s great. What are the biggest stuff you said, you know, raising a teat people on you on people who are passionate about you know, making a change to this, you know, the dating, online dating space? What are the biggest challenges that you feel your product addresses? I get the video is what makes it super unique and really cool. But what are the challenges that people typically have with with online dating that kind of turn them off to where they’re not successful? Or it’s frustrating? What are you helping to solve there?

Lizz Warner 24:11
I could do a whole episode on this.

Tony Zayas 24:14
I love to hear I’m lucky enough that I never had to dig down my dating. So I met my wife 17 years ago, or whatever, and I’ve ever had to dive into it. So,

Lizz Warner 24:25

Tony Zayas 24:25
It sounds intimidating to me.

Lizz Warner 24:27
So, yeah, I mean, there’s just so many things, but I think like one of the biggest things and I’m like, specifically thinking about apps right now, is that you know, you spend so much time on them, but like less than 1% of your matches you actually like go on a date with and use. I mean, I just remember like, I would just be like on apps forever. And I’m just like, Okay, how much time have I spent on this app versus like how many actual dates I’ve been on. And then as I’ve like, gotten into the space, it’s like have you learned that they want to keep you on there as long as possible? Because that’s how they make money until they do all these little things that are like kind of evil to basically just like, not have you match someone not have you meet up with someone. So like, one example. Apparently, this is like a kind of common knowledge. But I didn’t know that until I got into the space is that like, they’ll show you people below your level of attractiveness so that you’re just like kind of always swiping, and then every now and then they’ll show you someone who’s at or above your level of attractiveness. And then when you like them, there’s a good chance that they might not even ever see that you liked them. So you’re just kind of stuck like constantly swiping and like hoping someone will see you. And if you guess it gets better if you like to pay money, but even then, like they still do the same thing. So that’s one thing, like another thing is, that’s just like frustrating. It’s just catfishing. So people who just won’t look like their photos at all, you know, a lot of guys say that girl’s photos are like very highly edited. And so when you you know meet the person, like sometimes they just don’t look at all like their picture. And so it’s another issue. A third issue is like, the other apps have now started to implement video calling. But it’s like you have to be still text first, you have to like, still go through the matching and texting thing, you have to awkwardly initiate a video day. It’s just like not part of the user experience. And then there are no alerts or reminders. So more often than not someone will miss it. And like I’ve definitely been guilty of that, because I’m just like, oh, there’s nothing that’s reminded me I have like a date now. So that’s like another issue. And yeah, it’s just a very frustrating experience because you spend so much time and it rarely results in success. So that’s what we wanted to solve with GLEAM is just making it more efficient.

Tony Zayas 27:07
Yeah, that’s interesting. Reminds me of just you know, with like social media apps, I think we’ve become so conditioned to spend a lot of time on apps and these, you know, the companies that build apps that become really good at understanding human psychology to know what’s going to keep us coming back. And what’s gonna keep us, you know, mindlessly scanning and swiping and paying a lot of attention. But to the point, you know, the ultimate outcome of this app is supposed to be going on dates and meeting people. That’s a good. Yeah, pretty interesting stuff there. What would you say? Do you see any innovations or other disruptions? I mean, what I think you’re doing is pretty fascinating and awesome. But anything else that you see emerging, kind of in the dating app space?

Lizz Warner 27:59
Yeah, I mean, I see. And this is like something as man GLEAM as well as like, we’re gonna have like, you know, questions that would do a question to like pop up. And we want to do like games down the line, I have seen more and more apps that are like incorporating games, which I think is a really smart idea. And makes it just like a little bit less awkward. And like, you don’t know what to talk about kind of thing. So that’s a trend I’ve been seeing. You know, there’s a lot of very, like, more and more niche dating apps, like, specifically for gamers or specifically just for like, people who love cats, or like for farmers, like it’s just like, very, very, like beach apps, which I think are interesting. But I also think like, I don’t know, a lot of times you’re attracted to people who are nothing like you at the same time. So I’m curious to see how those will work. But yeah, there’s all there’s all kinds of things. There’s, there’s so many random data gaps. Now. It’s like,

Tony Zayas 28:53
Yeah, I’m sure there’s a ton out there. What I’d be curious to hear about the gamification. So what is the what are the games and kind of how have you seen that implemented and just sound super interesting, we see a lot on the topic of just in software in general of gamification, because that, again, is something along the lines of, you know, that human psychology and knowing how to get people engaged and coming back and enjoying the experience. So this is probably a pretty great place to implement something like that.

Lizz Warner 29:24
Yeah, I mean, if you think about it, like Tinder, it was like a game, you know, it’s like you switch your sight, but then it’s like, ding you get a match. It’s kind of like, it basically turned to dating into yeah, gaming. Gamified.

Tony Zayas 29:36

Lizz Warner 29:37
Dating. And then the other apps kind of followed suit. So I think the next natural step is just like actually playing games on apps. Because it’s just, it just makes it a little bit more fun. It’s like less stressful. You want to feel like he’s gonna make the first move, like whatever, you know, just like I don’t know, the darts or something. Makes it easier.

Tony Zayas 29:59
Yeah, that’s super interesting. Just shift gears a little bit, you know, we’ve made a point to bring on female founders on our show someone on our team thought that would be a good idea to, you know, to highlight and identify. I would love to hear a little bit about, from your perspective, some of the challenges that you might have seen or faced as a female founder.

Lizz Warner 30:24
Yeah, I mean, I think the real challenges will come up during fundraising. I mean, I’ve definitely, I think it’s been hard because like, there will be, it comes with, like, sometimes it’s like networking like there will be people that, you know, I’ll talk to who like, are, like, very interesting and have like, launch apps before and like, very helpful and then they’ll, it’ll turn sexual or it’ll turn like, they’ll start hitting Aveda, like, though, I just, I like, want to talk to visitors right now. Like, I don’t want to go down that route. And it’s like, awkward to, like, if you turn someone down, then they don’t want to talk to you at all. So it’s like, how do you kind of like dance that line of just like, staying, you have to like, kind of like walk a tight rope, you know, it’s like, you want to stay friendly and cordial without like, shutting the person down. So that is like, I haven’t dealt with that like a little bit. But I have a feeling like, I’ve just heard a lot of stories with fundraising of like, you know, people asking for sexual favors, if they’re going to give money is like very common. Just like, yeah, I’ve just heard like, some some horror stories. You know, I’ve dealt with people who I thought were gonna be my advisors that asking me on a date. And so then I’m like, a hole. Now, I can’t do that this is weird. So I definitely have dealt with some with some of that. But so far, it’s been, like, I’ve felt empowered because I am the founder and CEO. So I’ve been able to, like, carve my own path. And that’s like, part of why I want to do with it do it this way. I think the bigger challenges for me if then, like, in an actual workplace as a female, and so, you know, getting to carve my own path this way, is what I wanted to do to avoid that.

Tony Zayas 32:13
That’s fantastic. So beyond the fundraising efforts, what are the other things that you know, you’re really excited about? Let’s say in the next 12 months or so, for GLEAM?

Lizz Warner 32:27
Yeah, I’m just excited. We’ve all these like features that we want to like, roll out, and like build. And so you know, a lot of that will come with like, once we get the funding to like, actually be able to implement those and like, see them come to life. One of the most exciting things is just like having like, we have Gleamed couples now, which has been great. And like one of them is getting like really serious. So that’s just like, you know, makes me super happy. So I’m excited to…

Tony Zayas 32:53

Lizz Warner 32:54
That people actually like me. And you know, the goal is for them to meet and get off the app. And so that’s what I want to see more of.

Tony Zayas 33:01
That’s cool. Probably PR opportunity there, too, right? He had like, a marriage or whatever it is.

Cool. Wow.

Lizz Warner 33:10
And another thing too, we have is a dating coach feature on the app. And I mentioned that, but that’s definitely something else that makes it different from other apps. So like you can purchase 10-minute session with a dating coach, they all have their different specialties. And that’s proven to be pretty popular so far as well. So I’m excited to kind of like, see where that goes.

Tony Zayas 33:30
Very cool. How do you with all the ideas that you have for the app, the features, and everything? How do you create the roadmap? How do you prioritize? What are you looking at to kind of figure that out?

Lizz Warner 33:44
Yeah, it’s just a matter of like talking to users. And like, when you hear the same thing again, and again, and that’s like priority if it just comes from like one person or like, it takes a really long time to build and you’re not sure then that was kind of, like go later down on the list?

Tony Zayas 34:02
Yeah, that’s, that’s cool. Very interesting. How would you? How would you describe how your role has changed from, you know, day to day from when you first you know, started had the idea of concept you got together with, you know, your developer and started building this out to today, where you’re, you know, now focusing on, you know, raising funds, what is the day to day looked like, and how is that experience been for you?

Lizz Warner 34:30
Yeah, I mean, it’s been completely, it’s different every single day. For the first one, when we were working on launching the app, it was like, focused on drawing out all the screens, then designing and in Figma, then looking at like the user experience, so that just took like a really long time. So that was like my sole focus, and then launching it then it’s like, I had to completely shift gears that okay, now I need to like, get the board about and now I need to promote it and like, get people to download it. Um, so that’s kind of like now where my brains at, and then my next shift will be like into the fundraising one. So it’s it’s a combination of so many things every single day, but you know, growth is number one, fundraising is number two. So it’s just like, yeah, totally depends on the day.

Tony Zayas 35:24
What are some of the marketing channels and strategies that you’ve tried and what has worked for you? Obviously, word of mouth is going to be a big one. But anything else that you’ve done that you know, you want to do more of or anything that you’re looking to try?

Lizz Warner 35:43
Yeah, so we did an event with forms that worked really well. So basically, like all of the 30, under 30 listers, set their location to a specific place and then swiped on each other. So it was like a Valentine’s Day event. And that worked really well. We got a lot of like, great, organic downloads. So we’re trying to figure out like, who, who else we can like partner with who wants to do some type of like, networking, ideally, tied into dating where they can, like, use GLEAM to, like, meet other people, basically. So that’s what we’re figuring out next.

Tony Zayas 36:18
That’s very cool. So that was done. Your partner with Forbes to do that?

Lizz Warner 36:22
Uh, huh. Yeah.

Tony Zayas 36:23
Very cool. Well, that’s interesting. Well, when when was that?

Lizz Warner 36:28
That was on Valentine’s Day.

Tony Zayas 36:29
Oh, very cool.

Lizz Warner 36:30
Yeah. Yeah. works really well. It was fun.

Tony Zayas 36:34
That’s great. Um, what about Liz, how do you you know, work-life balance, or work-life harmony? As a founder, how do you, you know, find that? Sometimes we don’t use balanced because sometimes it’s not balanced as a founder, you spend so much of your, your time and effort on the business? How do you manage, you know, and how do you find harmony in your life?

Lizz Warner 37:00
Yeah, I mean, I made the mistake of like, not taking any time off the first year. And so I was like, just like working every weekend, every weekday, like I was just like, definitely, like draining myself out. And so I kind of realized, like, I think like Christmas was the first day I had off, and even then, I think I still did some work. So I was like, Okay, I need to, like, I need to chill, I’d like take time off because otherwise, I’m just not going to last. And so I started making sure I like, took weekends off. I mean, I said, I’ll take the full weekend off. But at least i like some of it. You know, I try to have a little bit of time before I go to sleep. Definitely exercise super important. And then now you know that travel restrictions have lifted a little bit. I’m going to be working remotely from just like different cities. And part of it’s just to like, you know, get a little change of scenery. So I’m always like working from inside my apartment. So I found that it was great for, you know, not only mental health but just like excitement about the idea and continuing to push forward with it.

Tony Zayas 38:12
That’s great. Well, what are you most excited about? You know, for what’s next for GLEAM? Is there something in particular or launching at a new city or feature? So…

Lizz Warner 38:23
Yeah, I mean, we have The biggest thing was like, literally getting it out in the App Store, which we did this year, and then launching in LA, New York. I mean, I’d be super excited when down the line, we lost him like Europe, or we’ve gotten a lot of requests from Australia and India, interestingly enough. So you know, I think that I don’t know when that will happen, but I’m definitely excited about that, for sure.

Tony Zayas 38:50
Very cool. Well, one of the last question here that I have for you, we’ve been asking all the founders, we’d love to hear you know, if you had the ability to meet with your past self-right, as you had this idea, and ready to dive in, and you know, make claim a thing. What advice would you give to yourself if you were able to, you know, sit down over a cup of coffee? What advice based on what you’ve learned, would you share with yourself?

Lizz Warner 39:24
Man, I mean, I wouldn’t say there’s anything I would change because all of the mistakes I’ve made I’ve learned so much from so I wouldn’t say there’s necessarily anything I would do differently. But you know, I definitely say taking time off is like a huge word that I showed up Todd the first year. I would definitely say like, just like you got talking to as many people about the idea to as many users as possible is key. And just also you know, not only patient with everything but be patient with yourself. As well, like, things just take time. And so, yeah, it’s it’s easy to be like really hard on yourself. But you also remember, it’s a really hard task, you know, to like launch a company and grow an app. So like, you know, showing compassion for all the progress that you’ve made is very important.

Tony Zayas 40:19
Yeah, I like that. That’s a good one. There’s the book, The Four Agreements, I don’t know if you’ve ever heard of that or read it, but it’s one of my favorites. And one of the agreements in there is to be impeccable. With your word, and a lot of that means and how you treat yourself and I think that’s, that’s an important, all right, because there’s going to be all the learning lessons that you go through and, and all the challenges, but ultimately, you can grow from those. So yeah, that’s pretty great advice there. Well. I think the last thing was where can people find out more? Where can they get the GLEAM app? Where can they learn more about you?

Lizz Warner 40:57
Yeah, so you can get it if you literally type in The download link is on there. If they will learn about more about me, you can DM me on Instagram that’s usually the fastest. It wanders Liz, w-a-n-d-e-r Li-zz. And I will respond as love like any and all thoughts on the app if people want to try it. Like I’d love to know what you guys think. And yeah, I’d love I just love to talk to people. So hit me up.

Tony Zayas 41:29
That’s fantastic, Liz, really appreciate it. Thank you for taking the time to be on here today. And as I mentioned earlier, we’d love to hear more. Maybe have you back again, after you do secure some funding and continue to grow. But certainly wish you the best. And to everyone watching. Thank you guys for tuning in. We’ll see you guys again next time. Thanks a lot as you take care.

Lizz Warner 41:54
Thanks, Tony. Appreciate it. Thanks for having me.

Tony Zayas 41:57
Thank you. Bye bye.

Lizz Warner 41:58