[UPDATED]: Why Facebook never happened in the UK. The case of FitFinder.
Update: FitFinder has been Relaunched as Floxx with Doug Richards as an Investor. Good luck Rich!
Back in April this year, I heard of a little UCL based startup (FitFinder) that was gaining ‘Facebookearlydayslike’ traction in some UK Universities. It was a location based public/flirting service. The founder pitch in the Guardian was this:
The concept is simple. If you “find a fitty” in the library you can anonymously post up a short description of them on your university’s fitfinder. You have the option to describe yourself, or provide a telephone number. Others in the library, including the targeted fitty, are able to comment on the post.
Like any Zuckerberg story, everything was going on fine. Early University traction, second class Universities begging for it, early press, what could go wrong?
Not much. Except that it was shut down by the University College London (UCL) for bringing the University to disrepute.
How? Some people were posting offensive comments, blah blah bladder dash!
So why the hell am I speaking about it so soon, only 8 months after the incident?
Yesterday on Hacker News, a YC company posted a job opening anonymously
In just 6 weeks since launch, we have over 20M page views (now over 1M a day and growing fast) and hundreds of thousands of daily uniques. Our virality index is higher than Facebook’s in their fastest growth stage.
“Wow! That’s pretty cool”. I said to myself. ANOTHER location based stuff getting so much traction? That must be something cool.
It did not take long for the stealth startup to be uncovered by TC.
It is LikeaLittle. It is described on the about page as
Basically, the site was made to allow you to compliment and chat about potential crushes you see around you.
To think UCL which hosts Open Coffee (A meetup for startup founders) EVERY Thursday and Seed Camp week (the biggest Internet seed funding program in Europe) will KILL a startup with so much potential founded by its OWN student. Amazing!
I just feel gutted for Richard Marttel. Founder, FitFinder