At Dojo, we get a lot of people with big ambitions, and bold visions walk through the doors with tunnel vision for execution. They come with a dream, and from the moment they step inside the space, they get to work on realizing that dream.
Today I’m chatting with Aline from Germany, the founder of the recently launched start-up, Nomad Soulmates. Aline arrived in Dojo Jan 2016 on a mission to disrupt the Tinder swipe and bite disease, and revolutionize the online dating scene for digital nomads.
From the second she walked through the door, she meant business. Fearless in her approach, Aline spent the past 18 months traveling throughout different co-working spaces in Asia to understand the market better while bringing her dream to reality. During this time, she grew a Facebook group to 8K plus members.
Nomad Soulmates, Bali edition, celebrated their beta launch in May here in Canggu with a party co-hosted with Dojo, where singles mingled over beers and cocktails as they partied until the early hours. What happened after that-I have no clue-but I like to think everybody exercised the proper safety precautions!
Congrats on the launch, Aline. Tell me, what is your grand vision for Nomad Soulmates?
The Grand Vision for Nomad Soulmates is to become the world’s most used app for Nomads looking for close friendships and a nomadic partner worldwide.
Where did the idea come from?
I got inspired at a nomad conference in Germany where I met Digital Nomads for the first time. Besides going through a massive mindset shift and seeking to become an entrepreneur, I was looking for business ideas. I realized at the conference that most of the nomads were traveling solo, or didn’t have a partner to share this incredible life with. I got curious if there was anything out there that supported Nomads to find a nomadic partner—and as I found out—there wasn’t anything like it out there. It was burning in my fingers.
I saw it all: working together with the people I feel attracted to, and a topic I’m passionate about. From the business side, dating is a huge market. The remote working scene is growing rapidly —and for me as a networking junky—it just seemed to be a perfect fit.
What was the biggest challenge you faced throughout this process?
Finding a great co-founder was for sure a big challenge and a lot of months of headaches and miscommunications. To be fair, I had no idea how to build and lead a team, how to split personal from business, and all the remote communication over Skype and FB messenger. It’s been a mess.
What was your biggest motivation to keep going when things got tough?
When shit hits the fan, it helps to read old emails where followers replied back to newsletters letting us know how badly the nomad scene needs us. Or going through our FB group seeing how people love engaging there. Women and men sometimes come up to me reminding me how brilliant the idea is!
This is a big motivation and allows me to reconnect with the vision. For me it often fires up that light and passion again which helps a lot going through the toughest situations, facing them and finding solutions.
The beauty is that I’m not alone. I’m surrounded by like-minded people online and offline that I can reach out to for help. I stopped being shy, posting all sorts of problems in Facebook groups and asking my friends for help. It also works the other way round: I feel very proud if I can help someone to reach the next level and solve a problem, overcome a fear or any other challenge.
So, you’ve launched in Bali. How far away are we from a worldwide launch?
We have launched the website in Bali as a trial before we launch the app this summer. We have not yet passed all challenges and tests we want to run on the website. We hope that we’ll have shaped most of it in a month so we can move forward launching in SEA and worldwide!
Why did you choose Bali for your beta launch?
Bali is a great place as it attracts a lot of online entrepreneurs, freelancer, expats, and remote workers. It’s also not too big and not too small an audience for a beta launch.
On top of that, it just happened that the founding team is in Bali, so it was convenient for us to be directly connected with the audience.
What advice would you give to tech entrepreneurs looking to launch an app based start- up?
Find out (and don’t settle) what the hook is for your app. What will make people want to use your app every single day? In theory, it’s simple—but in reality—it’s really hard. A lot of testing is required. Also, find an environment where you can be focussed. Ideally, close to your potential customers.
What advice would you give to anyone considering a nomadic lifestyle?
Start finding your sweet spot (your passion combined with what you are good at, what problem you are solving for people, and if people would spend money for it) and then start learning tools you need to understand to get your business or freelance career going.
What has it meant to you to be able to work out of coworking spaces like Dojo over the past two years?
I have never been to University and also quit my training back home as I was tired of passing tests rather than actually building something. For me, co-working spaces gave me access to knowledge and big networks, people who know how to run a successful business. They are all so helpful too—20 people, or more usually attend our Think Thank which is insane support! Working with like-minded people feels fresh and inspiring. I couldn’t imagine a better environment to learn about entrepreneurship.
What’s your favorite coworking space?
To be honest, I love the mix and different vibes! As I want to refresh my mind, I go to different places and co-working spaces. Dojo, Hubud, Outpost, and The Legian are my favorites in Bali. And yes, for me a great community and lot’s of helpful events is a unique selling point (shout out to all community managers—it’s freaking hard work—you do an awesome job!).
Thanks for your time and all the value you’ve provided within the community. We wish you every success for the future of Nomad Soulmates.