New Dating App The League Raises $2.1M to Connect Ambitious, Busy Singles

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Ever snooped on someone’s LinkedIn before the first date? Then The League is the dating app for you.

By Betsy Mikel (Editor, Women 2.0)

You’re the busy founder of a soon-to-make-it-big startup. Yours will not be one that fails; you hustle 100+ hours a week to ensure it will not.

In between your crazy travel schedule, whatever yoga you can squeeze in, and trying to see your friends often enough so they don’t forget about you, it’d be nice to meet someone. You briefly tried dating app darling Tinder, but quickly realized it wasn’t for you. Most of those apps and sites weren’t created for professionally ambitious and poised-for-success individuals such as yourself. But The League is.

Amanda Bradford The League Founder & CEOLaunched in April 2014 by Amanda Bradford, The League is the dating app for the “super picky and constantly overcommitted.” Previously a product manager at Evernote and experience in New Business Development at Google, Bradford brought both product and marketing experience to launch her new dating app targeted toward time-crunched and ambitious singles. And she’s got an MBA from Stanford, so she understands this elite audience.

While some may think there are already plenty of dating products on the market, investors disagree. Less than six months after its private beta launch, The League closed a $2.1 million round of seed funding last month. Investors include IDG Ventures, Structure.vc and Sherpa Ventures and angel investors such Allen DeBevoise, Naomi Gleit, Mark Leslie, Russ Siegelmann and Peter Kelly, according to TechCrunch.

How The League is Different From Other Dating Apps

So what’s the appeal of this over other dating sites? The League pulls in data from users’ LinkedIn profiles to match singles based on professional similarities. It cuts out friends and family, then serves you five — and only five — matches a day. While apps like Tinder focus on quantity, The League is about quality.

http://www.theleagueapp.co/“If Tinder is a superstore for mate-shopping, the League, with its tiny pool and selective criteria for entry, is a boutique,” is how a recent New York Times profile compared the two apps.

Also, not everyone can join. Your LinkedIn profile has to pass The League sniff test. To be accepted to the invite-only platform, The League analyzes profiles to ensure each new member is a good fit for its pool of smart, driven and ambitious singles.

While some may see The League as elitist, Bradford feels like she understands her target audience and this is the best app for them. “It isn’t an app for everybody,” she told the New York Times. “We’re trying to hit home that these people do have high standards. They’re not accepting everybody.”

Even in their own profile tips, The League makes it clear this isn't the place for messing around. This, for example, is their advice on selecting the right profile photo: "If you don't have a kid, don't put pictures with a kid. It's just confusing. Don't put your ex in your photos. Ease up on mirror selfies. Show 1-2 full body shots. Clear face photo. Take off the sunglasses. No group shots. The people in here are busy and don't have time to waste hunting down what you really look like on Facebook. Own it."

What’s Next for The League

Currently The League is only available in the Bay Area and is launching next in New York City in Spring 2015. According to TechCrunch, the waitlist is 20,000 strong and depending on demand, could launch soon in cities like London, Los Angeles and Chicago. With the $2.1 million in seed funding, Bradford has plans to scale.

“Our top priority is to scale out our product and engineering team,” she told us. “We got really far along on an MVP product, but now we want to make sure we have the right people and right technology in place to scale to millions of users.”

She also has her sights on fine-tuning the brand and look and feel of the product by bringing on a UI/UX designer. “I designed the UX and all the screens myself (with a bit of feedback from friends), but it's time to bring in the experts,” she said. “We can also hire people who can be 100 percent focused on building strategic partnerships as well as content marketing, both of which I think are incredibly strategic and key for us as we build a brand.”

Want to check out the app? Bradford says members of the Women 2.0 women are exactly the kind of driven, fearless females whom she designed The League for. DM @theleagueapp on Twitter for a link.


About the author: Betsy Mikel is the managing editor of Women 2.0 and runs the content consultancy Aveck. She has a degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and a lifelong obsession with French language and culture. When she's not biking all over every city she visits to find its best taqueria, you can find Betsy on Twitter at @betsym.