How we validated a business idea for an online dating app without building an actual MVP.

The problem

Validate the idea for a startup in the group dating industry. Build a rapid prototype and investigate the initial traction to support investment decision.


The concept: a group dating application that offers the experience of: 
“a meeting of six like-minded singles over great food in their local town.”  


We set the following milestones in the flow of the project:
01. Define the strategy
02. Build a prototype and visual identity
03. Run the smoke test
04. Collect data and results

The strategy

Business model

We run a series of strategy workshops, where we conducted a deep dive into the concept, deconstructing it down into its key assumptions. This process allowed us to establish the business model and value proposition. We then collaboratively ran the Lean Canvas to discover new customer segments and define all revenue streams. We also mapped the audience, determining their wants, needs, and pain points. As the team brainstormed and shared ideas and strategies, the initial concept pivoted and evolved to the final shape ready for Release 0.1.


P&L In order to build a long term strategy we helped with defining operational P&L, defining the revenue and cost structure, market penetration, estimated churn rates and CPAs to check the profitability and set financial KPIs.

Competitor analysis

We conducted a competitor analysis in the busy online dating industry. We also took a deep look into the dating industry itself and evaluated the market sentiment for investments in the industry. We re-tracked the stories of biggest market successes as well as market failures to learn from those examples.



Next, we put on our creative hats to help bring the brand to life. We decided on a name, defined a visual brand identity, and created the first UX and UI mock-ups for the platform based on drafted functionalities and features.

We then followed a rapid prototyping model, creating the prototype within a tight two-week timeline to take advantage of the momentum and creativity of the team.


Rapid prototype

Instead of commiting to a 3-5 month project of building the actual beta version of the app, we decided to run further validation and emulate the experience of an application without the actual development. The goal:

01. Validate the initial traction for an application

02. Emulate the experience of group dating to collect the feedback from the users and study their experience.

We organized a pilot campaign, using Warsaw, Poland, as a test city. The pilot resulted in a 38.6% conversion rate in on-site registrations. Around 50% of the registrants completed the complex personality survey and expressed willingness to take part in the pilot events. Next, we organized the pilot events to mimic the app experience as closely as possible, letting the users to interact with each other and set the details of each meeting.

Pilot meetings

The pilot meetings were closely monitored and the user experience was carefully analysed. Some of the results produced: – Users were interacting with each other prior to the meeting very actively – The meeting experience was rather poor, which was a result of difficulties in finding the right male users – Even though the experience was less than ideal, 83% of the users expressed willingness to participate in another similar event, and their overall attitude towards the meeting was positive.



After the pilot tests, we collected and analyzed all data gathered in the process. Although we loved the group dating concept and the solution it offered, we advised against investing in further development for the following reasons: – The user experience was problematic, revealing multiple bottlenecks in the facilitation of the dates. – Investor sentiment towards the online dating industry was souring – Market research and pilot testing demonstrated that even though users were initially keen on the group dating concept, in reality they preferred individual dating.

The Value 

By leveraging lean startup approach and adding our secret sauce, we help industry leaders launch products that disrupt industries and markets – and those launches are a success because the concepts are proposed and validated in real-life environments with real buyers.

Every project we take on is supported by its own delivery team, including IT, UX, creative design, big data, digital marketing, content creation, branding, and advertising. Because of this structure, we are able to remain in “startup mode” and stay agile, executing on our methodologies and avoiding time-consuming processes.

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