GirlCrew App Is the Modern Way for BISHes to Meet New BFFs

Author: Jana K. Hoffman / Photos: Carmen Chan
09.17 / Lifestyle

Let's take a moment to talk about besties. The ladies (and gents) in our inner circles. The ones who have known us far better than anyone else and have been there no matter what. We're lucky to have those people in our lives. Of my small inner circle, I have one BFF who I've known for about 18 years. Today, there's an entire country and two children (hers, not mine!) between us, but I know she's always there for me despite our life paths and the distance. On top of that, I've made two moves to major cities in my adult life — to two cities where making new friends is downright difficult, especially as an adult. I think many of you reading this can relate.

According to a 2016 MIT Technology Review, people are capable of holding up to only five platonic soulmates simultaneously. That number is pretty small. And it only seems to get smaller the older we become. So what's a BISH to do to put herself out there and meet new like-minded BISHes?

Luckily, now there's an app for that. If you've jumped on the Tinder wagon (and who hasn't at this point?) then you're familiar with the concept. Well, the female founders of GirlCrew app have developed a Tinder hack and applied it to friendship matchmaking instead.

MISSBISH recently caught up with 33-year-old Dublin, Ireland-based Elva Carri, one of the founders of this super simple yet very powerful tool, to learn more about her company, her goals, and her intuitive, modern way for BISHes to make new BFFs.

Tell us about your background and your journey to co-founding GirlCrew.

I grew up in the South East of Ireland with two sisters, so I guess I've had my own little GirlCrew forever in them. Prior to GirlCrew, I was working freelance, editing a magazine called Positive Life and helping companies with social media and content. I sort of fell into it as I had lost a job in digital marketing, but people kept asking me to do work in that area. I ended up with a bunch of lovely clients, managing their websites, blogs, and social media.

One Friday night in 2014 I was staying in, because although there was a club night I wanted to go to, I didn't want to go solo and my friends were all busy or tired. So I “hacked” Tinder! I changed my gender setting to male so that my profile would show up to all the other single girls in Dublin, and put up a profile picture explaining I was actually female and not looking for dates but just looking for some people to go out dancing with. I thought people would think I was nuts, but I did it anyway. Within 24 hours I had over 100 enthusiastic matches and GirlCrew grew from there.

Why was it important for you to develop GirlCrew with two other female co-founders?

I really wanted people with a similar vision for GirlCrew to bounce ideas off of and work with on growing it. I count myself very lucky to have found the perfect co-founders in Aine (Mulloy) and Pamela (Newenham). It's not to say it's easy, but they're amazing people to work with.

What’s it like working side-by-side with them?

Really great. We speak our minds, share our knowledge, disagree, and seem to be able to figure out anything we come up against together. I think speaking your mind with respect has been really valuable to us. But the best part — we laugh A LOT, and I think we all really enjoy the work we do.

Our BISHes are very entrepreneurial. Have you pitched GirlCrew to investors yet? What was that experience like?

We have! The first time it was very daunting, as you have no idea what they will ask. They wanted to know our growth rates, engagement metrics, projected revenues, etc. Some investors wanted us to focus on growth, while others were more interested in revenue and profits. I think it’s important to know it’s something you have to put effort into, can be scary, is hard work, but that you can improve at.

It can be tough for women to make friends, especially as they get older. How is GirlCrew helping to change that?

GirlCrew provides a platform which makes it very easy for women to make new friends. We have an iPhone app, Android app, and you can login on computer or mobile browser at GirlCrew.com. We wanted to make it accessible to as many women as possible — because leaving someone out of the party is really not our vibe. Unlike other platforms where you post as an individual, to a personal wall or stream, on GirlCrew, all the posts are within groups. It's about us as individuals within a community.

Once in, women simply join the group for their area such as Sydney or London, and they can see what events are happening, read posts and comments from other members, write posts themselves, and create events. They can also join international topic groups such as Trips & Travel, Careers, Entrepreneurs, Fashion & Beauty, Dating Advice, and Staying In. In the groups, members share tips, advice, and knowledge on everything from getting a new job to finding a good restaurant for a first date.

GirlCrew’s footprint is getting larger by the day and connecting women from all over the world. Where can we find GirlCrew now and in which cities will you be this year?

GirlCrew has more than 100,000 members in over 46 cities worldwide including Dublin, London, Melbourne, Brussels, Brisbane, Edinburgh, and Glasgow. This year will see us launch the GirlCrew app in the United States, beginning in the cities of Austin and Los Angeles in March. We already have large waiting lists of women in those cities, who want us to launch GirlCrew. We can’t wait!

You recently launched a premium version of GirlCrew. Can you share some more details so we know what to expect?

At present, we only have GirlCrew Premium in Dublin, but we would like to roll it out to other cities in the future. We organize events for premium members so they don’t have to. They pay a monthly subscription, and for that they get four hosted events per month and lots of discounts to various places.

Tell us your favorite GirlCrew success story to date.

Meeting Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg was incredible. Facebook decided to feature us for their own anniversary and flew us out to meet the team in Palo Alto, California. It felt like confirmation that we really are working on something special. Sometimes you forget that in the day-to-day work.

Besides GirlCrew, what’s an app you can’t live without?

Todoist. So boring, but it’s the best way I’ve ever found to keep track of everything I need to do. And I like that the interface is really clean and simple and works on desktop as well as my phone.

What advice do you have for women interested in pursuing technology-related careers?

Figure out what area you’re passionate about and enjoy most and pursue it. I didn’t study tech, I studied art. You can learn a lot on your own time, working on your own projects, and getting experience in related areas.

When you’re not working on GirlCrew, what else can we find you doing?

I love food, the cinema, the outdoors, and catching up with people I love. So often it will be one of those.

We recently kicked off a #CommitToYou campaign that’s encouraging BISHes to put themselves first. How do you remember to put your needs first?

I’m good at checking in with myself and saying, “Does what I’m spending my time on make me happy? Is there anything I’m missing?” At the moment GirlCrew is my priority and definitely takes time from other things, but it’s because I love it and it’s important to me. I think there’s pressure to have a balanced life; in theory that’s great, but people don’t talk about how difficult that is. I’ve realized a rich, full, happy life are what I want — and if that’s not always balanced, that’s OK with me!