68-Year-old Isaac Raichyk sat from his Toronto offices yesterday as we spoke about his new dating app, Clover, over Skype.
The new app offers a more user-tailored approach to finding matches than the industry-leading Tinder, along with powerful tools and filters, the ability to turn GPS on or off and the ability to go back and re-consider previously matched, but rejected users. The app can be used for casual hook-ups, more serious relationships or less serious encounters. “You decide how to use it and the platform will serve everyone.”
Raichyk is no stranger to the front pages of tech blogs, particularly after the Wall Street Journal wrote about his previous company, Keek, and its dreams that were never quite fulfilled. The story with Keek, the video-sharing social media tool similar to Vine and Snapchat, was that it couldn’t get off the ground fast enough as investors crammed the doors of its US competitors. Keek had raised $30.5 million with celebrity users including Kim Kardashian, while Snapchat ended up raising $133 million.
Raichyk considered it a success: after all, it is a publicly-traded company now, he said. The company orchestrated a reverse takeover with Primary Petroleum Corp., a Calgary-based listed junior energy company that didn’t actually produce any oil and gas, but was hoping for a brighter future as a tech company.
He’s likely the only senior citizen in Canada running a startup (and I suspected that he’s really a 25-year-old in an older person’s body). But regardless of age, this is evidently a person with the “entrepreneurial spirit” that we all love to talk about. The type that possesses the drive to continuously create new and easier technologies for people. Raichyk said he does it simply because it’s fun to him.
Most of his employees at Keek were decades younger than him, and he liked it that way. “I kept telling them its good thing that I can think like a 16-year-old, because these are our first users. The early adopters are always young, that’s just how it works. You have to understand how the current generation thinks, what they will use and what they won’t use,” he said.
Originally from Israel, and then Poland, he settled Toronto in 1971, watching the city grow into the beast that it is today. He’s a computer programmer by trade, initially mainly with IBMs. In 1990 he built a protocol voice companion for an internet-less computer, selling the product to IBM who in turn put it in all their computers. Today that technology is generally called Siri, which Apple has made ubiquitous.
Skip ahead all the way to 2014 and Raichyk has launched Clover to the masses. Through prior beta-testing the app has over 50,000 users, 52 percent of which come from the US, with 16 percent coming from Canada. About 30 percent of the app’s “connections” thus far have came when someone “likes” another after they’ve passed on the person previously, which wouldn’t be possible on Tinder.
“We saw that the dating industry was transitioning to mobile and we noticed that there are a lot of niche players by religion, sexual orientation and we thought we could build a better dating app that will serve everybody,” said Raichyk. The app’s tagline is that its the easiest way to meet new people.
The world is always changing for the aged entrepreneur, whether it be with recent advancements in cloud infrastructure, big data and even wearable technology, but “I’m having a great time,” he said.
‘The way my mind always works is given the change, what new kind of service, product or need that people have, that couldn’t have been satisfied before, can be solved now? That’s how I think, and that’s kind of fun finding out those things.”