The people you work with can make or break your business. You need to find great people and convince great people to come work with you. They don’t just appear.

SOMETHING THAT MAKES ME GO "AWW": my cats. WHAT DO I DO WHEN I'M STRESSED: move very fast. FAVORITE DISH: British Roast Chicken Dinner

Robyn Exton

Creating fun, safe, progressive spaces for queer women everywhere

WORKING TO REFLECT ONLINE EXPERIENCES WITH REAL COMMUNITIES. Robyn Exton in many ways, created HER, a dating and social app for queer women, non-binary, trans and gender non-conforming folks because she was struggling to see products and services for queer women who represented the diverse, charismatic, and powerhouse women she’d been exposed to since coming out.

I had been part of London's queer nightlife scene for about six months and everything outside of these real, live experiences felt so outdated and far away for the thriving, youthful, eclectic community I knew and loved. And in my naiveté, I was like, 'how hard could it be to make a dating app? I should give it a shot.' So I did.”

Nearly a decade later, HER is exactly what she envisioned, the world’s largest dating app for queer women who are finding love, relationships, and friendship one click and swipe at time. A digital home to over 9 million lesbian, bisexual queer folks in over 114 countries, the app runs in five languages with a dedicated team of 25 global teammates continuing to build on the successes of it’s design.

Robyn likes to point out that people like her, queer female founders, are often visible. “Sometimes, outside of our own communities, the idea of queer people having specialized or nuanced needs feels very far away or unnecessary. Which is ridiculous to us, but something that even if you know is ridiculous, is still very real and very much an angle people like me have to push for and against time and time again.” She explains

BUILDING A TEAM AND A VISION FOR CONTINUED SUCCESS. It’s not uncommon for other interested and budding entrepreneurs to reach out to Robyn for advice or insight. And she welcomes this part of the job. “Whenever I speak to people, I always want to understand them as an individual and understand them as a person, not just their business idea or how much money they will or have raised. Because knowing what they want out of life, knowing who they are and what they’ve been challenged by is a huge part of framing success and opportunity.” Robyn says.

She knows this well, because as a successful entrepreneur in the app space, it’s not lost on her how deeply competitive this space in tech has gotten. “You have to want this. You have to want to build the product and raise the money. Especially the money. Investors and investments is critical to success and the movement of your timetables.

“I have found in my journey that almost every two to three years I’ll have one period of massive personal growth. The first was understanding what this business really was and required of me, the second was truly understanding the rich metrics and impacts of the space, and now, at the moment, is around people.”

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Presented with Pride Here is the first collection of one hundred incredible and inspiring LGBTQIA+ venture-backed entrepreneurs featured in this year's Gaingels 100.