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Developing the Next Big Dating App with the Savvy Team

by | Nov 16, 2020 | Q&A

Nowadays, dating prospects can be reduced to a matter of swiping left or right. Just post your best selfies, and you might just find the love you’re yearning for. This is what a savvy dating app is all about.

Savvy takes online dating a notch higher by introducing a game show type of matchmaking such as the savvy dating app. In this episode, the Savvy team, Brendan, Fernando, and Jack, shares how the app came to be. They discuss their technical, marketing, and financial strategies for getting Savvy up and running. Find out how they are navigating their way into the very competitive arena of dating apps.

Tune in if you want to learn what it’s like to turn an app idea into reality.

About the Savvy Team

Brendan Kenny is the CEO and co-founder of the Savvy Dating Game. He graduated from Delbarton High School and is currently a finance major at Villanova School of Business. 

Fernando Delgado, COO and co-founder of Savvy, earned his bachelor’s degree focused in economics and Japanese from Villanova University. Before creating Savvy, he interned in Rimrock Capital Management, LLC; LUISS EnLabs; and Boenning & Scattergood, Inc.

Jack Maginnes is the CTO of Savvy. He is currently completing his bachelor’s degree in computer science at the Georgia Institute of Technology. He served previous internships in Nike, NCR Corporation, and VF Corporation.

Download Savvy on the Apple App Store. You can also visit their website or follow them on Instagram.

Here are three reasons why you should listen to the full episode:
  1. Learn what makes Savvy different from other dating apps.
  2. Discover how Brendan, Fernando, and Jack are running a start-up with zero experience.
  3. Find out how the company is battling challenges in app development.



Episode Highlights

[02:45] What’s the Savvy Dating App?

  • Savvy is the world’s first live mobile dating game. It goes live every night from 9 p.m. to 10 p.m. Eastern Time across the United States.
  • One woman and four men play the games. The girl has three rounds of questions to ask the guys, who have 30 seconds to respond. She eliminates one man per round in March Madness style.
  • The last man standing matches with the girl, and they can talk in a private chat box that expires in 24 hours.

[03:57] Does the World Need Another Dating App?

  • The dating app market is very saturated, but Savvy is significantly different from its competitors by being a personality-based matchmaking service.

[08:39] What’s the Current Status of Savvy?

  • Savvy officially launched toward the end of August and is currently available on Apple products only.
  • They are currently headed towards the 10,000-download mark.

[11:47] The Beginnings of Savvy

  • Brendan and Fernando studied at Villanova together. They wanted to create something that would improve the social scene on campus.
  • Savvy was well-received at Villanova, so they started pitching the app to other universities like USC and UCLA, specifically to sororities and fraternities.

[15:35] The Team’s Backgrounds

  • Fernando comes from a family of entrepreneurs.
  • Brendan was brought up to work at a bank, but he didn’t see himself in that career.
  • Jack took computer science because it’s an industry where you can do something and potentially touch a million people without spending a dime.

 [26:41] The Ups and Downs of Creating Savvy

  • If you’re trying to make an app, you need to build your team.They initially outsourced their projects. However, none of the development companies they hired could build a scalable, bug-free, and launchable product.

  • Brendan and Fernando’s biggest mistake was they were not Computer Science majors. They needed Jack to complete the team.

[33:14] Jack Joins Savvy

  • Jack does patchwork because each outsourced development agency has its own design patterns and thought processes.
  • They had to balance getting the app out in the market quickly and making sure the app works.
  • Currently, Savvy still has technical debt from the bad practices that have built up from outsourced development.

[38:36] Funding and Profitability

  • The app is self-funded. The team has reached out to VCs and angels, but none have led to a finalized deal.
  • There is no pro version of the app yet. The current revenue stream is based on a subscription model.
  • They have an upcoming referral program for the app.
  • They are also planning to insert product placement questions once they hit the 200,000-user mark.

[46:46] The Start-Up Culture of Working Together

  • The team is living all over the country right now. They only meet and work virtually.
  • The team is unified by building and sustaining the app as long as possible, getting funding down the line, and eventually meeting and living in a centralized location.
  • They use Slack and Zoom to track each other’s progress and promote togetherness within the team virtually.

[51:15] Savvy’s Strengths and Weaknesses

  • For Brendan, the company’s number one asset is perseverance. Meanwhile, the biggest flaw for him is it’s their first time creating an app.
  • For Jack, another weakness is that their development team is early in their technical careers. However, their team is very good at self-learning.
  • Fernando finds that one of their strengths is building a community of users they connect with through their social media accounts. He also agrees with Brendan and Jack that it’s a downside to learn everything on the fly.

[57:52] Savvy Ambassadors

  • Brand ambassadors were introduced during the early stages of Savvy.
  • Brendan and Fernando wanted to personalize the whole brand by bringing students who believed in Savvy and tried to promote it on their campus.

[1:01:29] The Philosophy of the Game

  • Data shows that the majority of dating app users are guys. They also use these apps twice as often as women. That’s why they settled on a four-to-one guy-to-girl ratio.
  • They plan to launch Ladies’ Night, which reverses the ratio to solve their issues in promoting the app to colleges with 50:50 guy-to-girl ratio.

[1:04:57] Savvy’s Biggest Needs

  • Savvy is working on their marketing to get to the 10,000-user mark.
  • Users equate to feedback, which they can use to stabilize the app and fix bugs.

[1:06:40] What’s Next?

  • The team wants to achieve the 10,000-download mark by Halloween.
  • Their next goal is to get 10,000 active users by Christmas.


5 Powerful Quotes from This Episode

[37:50] “If you’re working in a specific section of the code, leave it better than you found it.”

[43:25] “You have to be really careful with who you raise your first round with because that’s who you’re getting married to.”

[52:31] “The mindset I feel like we’ve all brought is things will go bad. We’ve proven that. It’s happened time and time again. But it’s how you respond. And I feel like every time things have gone bad, we’ve always responded with doubling up the effort, and then we eventually get it done.”

[54:18] “When you are building something, you have so many technologies, and every day something new comes out. So when you come from more of a corporate background and more of a structured background or you’ve built something like this before, it’s very easy to pick and choose the technologies in an efficient manner.” 

[1:07:25] “When you think downloads, or referral programs, and networking effects, organic growth, word of mouth, is when it really hits. That’s the small goals from a business perspective, from a user base perspective.”

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