A Newcastle-based entrepreneur with ambitions to disrupt the online dating industry has raised £225,000 in a bid to create a dating platform with user safety at its heart.
Safer Date was founded by Elaine Parker following a harrowing online dating experience that spiralled out of control with a man that had a long history of domestic abuse. The app was consequently borne out of a desire to prevent anyone falling victim to online predators, who take advantage of the anonymity given to them on dating apps.
Safer Date was supported through the Innovation SuperNetwork’s ERDF-funded Innovation Finance programme, and successfully received investment following a joint Newcastle Angel Hub and NorthInvest pitch event.
Investment for the project is the first deal to be made by the newly formed Women Angels of the North syndicate, launched by Fund Her North as a way of ensuring more investment goes directly into female-founded businesses and women entrepreneurs.
It is the only online dating platform that carries out a full ID, global enhanced criminal background and insolvency checks on every member before they are allowed to join. This not only eliminates fake profiles and anonymity but also prevents anyone with a history of serious criminal activity from joining the app, ultimately boosting safety for its users.
Elaine Parker, founder and CEO said “Safer Date is something that I am so passionate about. My own personal experience opened my eyes to just how unsafe dating apps really are. Previously, I naively thought that they had to vet their users – I was wrong. Most dating apps are full of fake profiles and criminals, including sex offenders.”
“I knew I would need investment to tackle this huge problem but really didn’t know where to start. The Innovation SuperNetwork and NorthInvest helped me to navigate my first raise with crucial advice on creating a pitch deck and investor readiness training. To see success with investment from a female-focussed investment syndicate makes this all the more pertinent and important.”
Estelle Blanks, CEO at Innovation SuperNetwork said: “It’s always hugely rewarding to watch an innovative idea like Safer Date hit the market. It is the latest tech innovation to come out of the region, where our growing reputation is attracting more and more interest from investors actively looking for innovative opportunities like this one. I’m delighted that we’ve not only been able to support a North East based female entrepreneur into realising such an ambitious project, but that the result will create a safer digital dating space for all who choose to use it, globally.”
Jordan Dargue, co-founder of the Women Angels of the North Syndicate and investor in Safer Date said, “I’m delighted that the first investment which has been closed as part of the Fund Her North ‘Women Angels of the North’ syndicate is for a purpose driven organisation which provides a protected, and secure dating environment for women. The syndicate were attracted by Elaine’s personal story, the app is a much-needed intervention in a huge market.”
Helen Oldham, Founding Board Director of NorthInvest and investor in Safer Date said “I’m over the moon that NorthInvest has been able to help Safer Date raise such a large sum of money. Listening to Elaine’s story when she pitched at one of our events was extremely moving – I immediately knew that I wanted to get involved and join her journey to create such an important app.”
The funds raised enabled Safer Date to develop the brand-new app which launched in the app stores on 1st December.