|SEASON 5 EPISODE 18|
|Pitch||dating service where you pass cards to strangers who then view your profile online|
|Asked For||$100,000 for 10%|
What is Cheekd?
Cheek’d started as an attempt to reverse engineer the online dating experience by creating a human interaction before the courtship goes online. A subscriber would fill in an online form and then receive a stack of business cards with various personalized one-liners, which they can then give to people they like in a social setting. If the recipient liked the message on the card, they could enter its respective code into the Cheek’d website to check out the card sender’s profile online. Accordingly, if they like you, the platform will match the pair in a private chat room to engage further.
Who Owns Cheekd?
Lori Cheek is the founder of Cheek’d, which she started in 2008. Lori is a graduate of the University of Kentuck, receiving a BS in Architecture. She then went on to work for several furniture-related companies, working her way up to senior account manager. Today, Lori remains in her position as CEO of the company. She also runs a personal website where she promotes speaking engagements.
Lori came up with the idea when she was out one evening with a male friend. He saw a woman he found attractive, so he scribbled, “Do you want to have dinner?” on the back of his business card and passed it to her.
With social media in its infancy back then, online profiles were all the rage. Thinking her friends approach could be a viable business model to help single people connect through online dating profiles, Lori pumped $120,000 of her own money into getting the company up and running.
The majority of these funds went into web design, marketing, and card production. Over three years, she managed to get subscribers in almost every state in the US and 28 countries.
Unfortunately, of the 4,500 active members who signed up, only 1,125 were paying members repeatedly.
Therefore, Lori had only made $56,000 in three years through her subscription memberships. With the business needing constant supervision across multiple timezones, Lori was running it as a full-time job by now but was all but destitute and living on friend’s couches. Accordingly, she needed an investor to help fix technical issues with the website and inject some much-needed capital to help it scale.
What Happened to Cheekd After Shark Tank Update
Is Cheekd Still in Business?
Cheek’d rebranded Cheekd from 2015, remains in business with an active website and an app available for download on iOS only. The company has since pivoted from the outdated business card concept.
It now uses cross-platform low-energy Bluetooth technology on smartphones, allowing mutual users to connect in real-time versus virtual time at a later date. Users get a push notification if someone who meets their criteria is within 30 feet of each other.
The company makes its money through user’s subscription fees, generating over $1 million annually. Nowadays, Tinder would be Cheekd’s biggest competitor. Similarly, Tinder also uses a user’s present location to identify potential specified matches in a nearby range.