KiKi Social Profile

KiKi Social Logo.

KiKi Social is a social marketplace to connect users that can enjoy nearby experiences together, encouraging community both on and offline.

Founder(s): Manel Hernandez Tomas

Industry: Tech

Founded in: 2017

Location: San Francisco, California


Interview With Manel Hernandez Tomas

Describe your product or service:

“KiKi is a social marketplace that connects like-minded real people to enjoy nearby experiences. The first network in the world that shortens the virtual time of users and promotes (through rewards with KiKi Coins) experiences in the real world.”

Describe your company values and mission:

“At KiKi Social, our mission is to help Gen Z and millennials who feel lonely and are frustrated with traditional online social networks. They waste valuable time [and] money and get disappointed while searching for friendship, dating, or professional networking advice. Technology has connected the world and disconnected people. At KiKi Social, we bring them together on a coin-based rewards platform.”

How are you funded? I.e. venture capital, angel investors, etc.

“Bootstrapping and venture capital (500 Startups and Draper University Ventures).”

How big is your team? Tell us a little about them (I.e. co-founders, freelancers, etc.)

“We’re five people: COO, lead developer, Digital Marketing and a Campus Ambassador Director. Then the interns and the Campus Ambassadors.”

Did you always want to start your own business? What made you want to become an entrepreneur?

“Yes, freedom.”

How did you come up with your startup idea? How did you decide to actually act on the idea? What gave you confidence that you were on the right track?

“I’m 33 years old, and since [I was 16] I’ve been lived (due to studies or work) around the world: Asia (Shanghai), Europe (Spain and UK), Latin America (Panama and Mexico), and the US (San Francisco) and although we have lots of apps, I’ve suffered [trying to meet] real people nearby.”

How did you come up with your company name? Did you have other names you considered?

“A short and with many meanings all over the world. Then, we were lucky because Drake launched ‘In My Feelings’ with the famous quote: ‘Kiki, do you love me?’”

What is the greatest challenge you faced in starting your business, and how did you overcome it?

“Grow[ing] KiKi from Spain to Silicon Valley [and then] being selected in 500 Startups San Francisco, being selected out of 2,000+ applicants to participate in 500 Startups Batch 25 program which has a 1.6% acceptance rate, and got backed by them and Draper Ventures.”

Who is your product or service made for? Who is your target market?

“Gen Z, millennials, and digital nomads.”

What’s your marketing strategy?

“Gen Z: High school and university campus ambassadors, TikTok, Twitch, street marketing.

Millennials: LinkedIn, Medium, Instagram, and events with digital content creators.

Digital Nomads: Partnerships, events, co-livings, and co-workings.”

How did you acquire your first 100 customers?

“At Web Summit 2017.”

What are the key customer metrics / unit economics / KPIs you pay attention to to monitor the health of your business?

“DAU (daily active users), MAU (monthly active users), sessions per user, average user (minutes), new users per day, revenue”

What’s your favorite book on entrepreneurship?

“‘How to be The Startup Hero’ by Tim Draper.”

What is your favorite startup or business podcast?

“‘Podcast de Itnig: Historias de Startups.’”

What is something that surprised you about entrepreneurship?

“All that glitters is not gold.”

How do you achieve work/life balance as a founder?

“[It] depends on the life/business waves, but the most important thing is: don’t quit. Especially … during the pandemic where we were without activity for one year and a half. We were in the worst period [of] the company, but nothing is forever, and we survived”

How do you stay motivated?

“Auto motivation with songs, images/memes, quotes, books.”

Did you have to develop any habits that helped lead you to success? If so, what are they?

“Sports like CrossFit, running, swimming and [going to the] gym helped me a lot. I was in a championship routine mode both in my life and business, and every day was giving my best and improving.”

What are you most proud of as an entrepreneur?

“We started in 2017, we passed the average of startups that usually close within their first two years, also the COVID-19 pandemic, and currently we are still alive and kicking.”

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