MEET THE DEVELOPER
She & Her
Robyn Exton is CEO of the world's largest LGBTQ+ app. Here’s Her story.
HER: Lesbian Dating & Chat App
Meet Pride lesbians&LGBT Girls
Her started as an app to help lesbians find dates. In just a few years, CEO Robyn Exton turned it into one of the largest communities of LGBTQ+ individuals in the world. Dating is the app’s primary purpose, but Her also helps users build friendships and develop a global support system.
We caught up with Robyn during the recent, and first-ever, London Queer Fashion Show (LQFS). Turns out Robyn is also the CEO of the LQFS, which she dreamed up and executed in the span of just three months.
Robyn took coding classes in her spare time and, through a modest but lucky lottery win, decided to risk everything she had on a new way for lesbians to connect. She quit her job the day her first app was submitted to the App Store.
It’s a massive issue that women need to de-risk things to take those leaps of faith. I wish there was more support and encouragement for women to take risks.
—Robyn on why there aren’t more female CEOs. (From an interview with Elle Australia at the Apple Store in Sydney.)
Robyn’s first attempt was an app called Dattch—like Grindr for lesbians. She learned very quickly the model for gay men did not work for women.
“When you have a female-only user base, it’s completely different. Loads of our users were looking for friendship much more than dating. They mostly just wanted to find other queer people to go to a bar with.”
Fast-forward to 2015. After several revisions, a handful of failures, and a complete overhaul of the brand, Robyn was accepted into Silicon Valley’s prestigious Y Combinator (YC) startup accelerator with a new app called Her.
After securing funding during YC, Robyn took an even bigger leap and permanently relocated her company to San Francisco.
Her risk paid off.
But even with a growing team, events in 26 cities around the world, and more than 2.5 million users, she doesn’t take anything for granted.
Once you’re inside the app, the Feed is where you want to be. You’ll find all types of events in your area, from casual hangouts to gatherings for political activism.
Robyn tells us that, in the past year, the Her community has come together to fight for LGBTQ+ issues. “The day of the election was the lowest usage we’d had in a year. The day of the inauguration was one of the highest because of the Women’s March.”
Her is a place to meet your new best friends, find a partner, and even organize to change the course of history.
“It’s not just about me finding a girlfriend anymore,” Robyn concludes. “It’s about making other people feel like they’re a part of something bigger.”