GirlCrew raises $1m and plans to take America city by city

8 Mar 2018

From left: GirlCrew founders Elva Carri, Pamela Newenham and Áine Mulloy. Image: Peter Varga

Irish-founded social network GirlCrew has raised $1m in funding to spearhead its launch into the US.

It began with a woman living in Dublin who just wanted to go out dancing but none of her friends were free. Now, GirlCrew is a social media community of around 100,000 women globally.

And today (8 March), coinciding with International Women’s Day and just ahead of SXSW, GirlCrew has revealed it has raised close to $1m in funding and is launching its friend-making app in the US, city by city.

‘We believe real friendships happen in person; however, sometimes you need a nudge and an extra channel in order to meet these new, like-minded people’

Future Human

The Irish-founded social network has raised a seed round of almost $1m from investors, including LinkedIn chief executive Jeff Weiner, Wrigley CMO Orla Mitchell, Reddit data science director Joe Gallagher, Aegis Corporate Strategy managing director Hazel Hutchinson, PCH chief executive Liam Casey, Stanford University adjunct professor Stuart Coulson and Enterprise Ireland, Europe’s third-largest seed investor.

The funding will allow GirlCrew to expand across the US city by city, with thousands of women already on waiting lists to get the app.

The GirlCrew revolution

Founded by Elva Carri, Pamela Newenham and Áine Mulloy, GirlCrew is a platform for women to make new friends.

GirlCrew operates through an app available on iOS and Android, and on desktop browsers.

Women simply join the group for their city, such as Toronto or Vancouver. There, they can see what events are happening, read posts and comments from other members, write posts themselves, and create events.

They can also join GirlCrew topic groups such as Travel, Careers, Entrepreneurs, Fashion and Beauty, Fitness and Wellness, Bloggers, Dating Advice, and Staying In. Within the groups, members share tips, advice and knowledge on everything from getting a new job to finding a good restaurant for a first date.

Newenham explained that GirlCrew has tapped into a market facilitating friendship in person, even in an ever-digitised era. First, dating moved online, now friend-making is going online.

Anything is possible with ‘the crew’. Members can participate in online group chats and offline events such as brunch, hikes or nights out.

“We believe real friendships happen in person; however, sometimes you need a nudge and an extra channel in order to meet these new, like-minded people,” said Newenham.

“So many people have either moved to a new city, or have found themselves at a different life stage to their friends, either because their friends are getting married, settling down etc. As a result, they need new friends, but making friends as an adult can be hard.”

She said the company is hosting a Women in Tech event with Enterprise Ireland at SXSW Interactive in Austin next Monday (12 March), followed by a pre-Paddy’s Day party in Los Angeles, California, on Friday (16 March).

The events are part of the GirlCrew’s expansion into the US. Speakers at the Women in Tech event in Austin will include: Brit + Co chief creative officer Anjelika Temple, Redenim CEO Kelly Ernst and Kimberly Foster, founder of For Harriet and Black Girls Gather.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years