Dean Kelly Of Hey Lets Talks Entrepreneurship

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Have you downloaded the Hey Lets app yet? If not, I can’t recommend it enough! It’s a great way to discover fun new places to eat, drink, visit and more. Since all the reviews on the app are positive, you can see why other like-minded urbanites love them.

I caught up with one of the founders, Dean Kelly, to talk about the app, how the idea for it came about and what living the startup life is really like. Read on for more info and don’t forget to download the Hey Lets app using this link. 

STATEMENT/scene: Tell me a little bit about your background. How did you get involved with Hey Lets?

Dean Kelly: I’m clearly Australian, which you can probably tell from my accent. I was building my first company which is called Zanui, which is based in Australia. I was in America meeting with some investors to talk about that company and while I was here I met Justin, who is my cofounder at Hey Lets. We talked about some of the issues we had while traveling.  I found myself traveling a lot for work and I was always in foreign cities looking for something to do but not wanting to wade through all the long negative reviews. I wanted to go to dinner or for drinks but I wanted to go somewhere there were people there like me. Unfortunately there was nothing on the Internet that was sort of tailored for my interests. Justin was talking about this idea he had which was around an app. We just got talking and decided to build Hey Lets. It was a chance encounter.

SS: How long did it take from the time you cam cup with the idea to the launch of the actual product?

DK: Well, the product was worked on for about a year before we launched in Australia. We actually launched there as a test market but we’re based in San Francisco. We became the number 1 app in the Australian app store. We raised over $1 million and we moved to San Francisco and built our team. We launched all over the US in October 2014.

SS: You guys have a really smart of way spreading the word about your product via ambassadors. How did you come up with the idea to do that?

DK: Hey Lets is a free app, so anyone can use it. There are lots of social networks out there, but there is no app that’s purely about discovering experiences. In terms of getting the app out there – businesses like it because there’s nothing negative out there. People are already sharing on their blogs their favorite places to eat, drink, etc. People will always do that. Obviously you need to get your app into people’s hands. We have several ways of doing that: Marketing, PR, approaching bloggers, approaching influential people. Other companies have successfully launched these ambassador programs where you incentivize people to use your app.

SS: What advice would you give someone who wants to start a successful digital company like you have?

DK: Just to do it. Everyone thinks about it, everyone talks about. They sit there thinking about it at work. The advice is to just do it. That doesn’t mean quit your job or mortgage your house before you’ve even come with an idea but I think the advice would be to back yourself, to trust that you can build your idea and test your idea. Do some research into the space. The third I would suggest is to speak to people who have done it before. The people who have done this have made so many mistakes. I’ve made so many mistakes I would love people to learn from.

Download the Hey Lets app here and tell me what you think of it!


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