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Research Case studies

Snog.com


What do you do when your new website goes viral, attracting so much interest that your servers crash?

That was what Jonny Teeling and Will Peirce had to ask themselves, just days after launching Snog.com.

The Leeds Beckett marketing students had tried a number of ventures since meeting, but none were particularly profitable. Then they created, designed and commissioned ‘Snog’, a fun and simple website, based on the ‘snog, marry, avoid’ game, to provide a different way to meet new people. They soon realised it was a hit, and quickly moved to make the site more interactive and interesting, but with the servers crashing and not wanting to lose the opportunity they looked to sell it.

Even before proceeding along this line of thought they got an offer out of the blue. Negotiations took place but they turned down this initial offer. They then cold-called a leading angel investor, who was indeed interested.

“He really liked us, and rather than buying outright he made us a proposition to acquire equity and retain us as Founder and Co-Founder. He has brought a full on tech team to work with us to develop the site ... he still wants us to be in charge of direction ... they make it happen, great to work with people that are at the top of their game.”

When asked about business planning, Jonny and Will admit to not having a business plan when they went to sell the site. They’re now much more structured, with a massive to do list.

“Our objective is to grow our community, be more active ... social media is taking a step away from the ‘social graph’ (interacting with others you already know) and moving towards the ‘interest graph’ (meeting new people based on what you’re interested in). Follow that trend... innovative and fun. Simple, no heavy commitment”.

They acknowledge that their university marketing course helped massively but in other respects they had to search out professional advice quickly.

(The sale was) “something we were not prepared for … big learning curve.”

One insightful comment was the difference in attitude and style between advisers in the UK and the more entrepreneurial USA.

Business Start-up will follow their progress with interest.

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