London loves Business – When Facebook married Sex and the City, Luluvise was born!

From a meet and greet with the prime minister to the fury of Floxx founder Rich Martell, Alexandra Chong has received both bouquets and brickbats for launching Luluvise – a female only dotcom where girls can rate men’s ability to have sex.

With its pouting pink lips logo and “Girl time all the time” tagline, Chong might have positioned Luluvise as a light-hearted social network, but the site, it seems, makes a serious business case.

Why? Because big shots like Lastminute.com founder Brent Hoberman and Bebo founder Michael Birch have helped Chong raise £665,000 for her “Facebook meets Sex and the City” venture.

Chong is a law graduate from London School of Economics, a former member of Jamaica’s Olympic tennis team (she knows Mardy Fish and Andy Roddick personally and hangs out with them when they come to Wimbledon), and has worked in the PR sector for a year.

She doesn’t have an engineering background and website coding is Latin to her, so why on earth did she decide to launch a platform where girls can gossip and rate vital statistics of men?

To find out, I have come to White Bear Yard in Clerkenwell which, mind you, homes a snazzy smorgasbord of tech ingenuities like Stylistpick and Technovated.

“In 2009, I went on a rather interesting Valentine’s date and I wanted to share all the gossip with my gal pals, many of whom are scattered all over the world,” says the 30-year-old half Jamaican half Canadian blonde dressed in a chic blue jeans, blue shirt, black boots and Ray Ban glasses.

“Why didn’t you post your date details on Facebook?” I ask her.

“Of course, I couldn’t post it on Facebook – that’s where everyone from your mum to your boss can trawl your wall!” she tells me with a giggle.

“After dishing out juicy details over three telephone calls, two Skype calls and a bunch of Blackberry messages and texts to my other girlfriends, I called my best friend Alison Schwartz in New York. I told her that we needed a place where girl talk is private, fun and all in one place.”

 Read more here…

Luluvise Diary: It’s finally here…Luluvise where have you been all my life! by Serena Holcombe

Serena Holcombe,Queen Mary, University of London

Queen Mary Angels Cheerleaders

It’s finally here…Luluvise where have you been all my life! by Serena Holcombe 

I first heard about Luluvise from some girls on the team. At first, I wasn’t too sure about the need for a ‘private’ place to catch up with my girls online, but after a meeting at Queen Mary University I invited my closest friends, got WikiDating and now we can’t live without it!

Societies at Queen Mary love Luluvise. As a member of the Cheerleading team, me and the girls met up with the Luluvise team for lunch and chatted more about the site and how we could get involved.

There’s always a situation for using Luluvise. Last night, before we went out in Chelsea I had a wardrobe dilemma. Strapless, body con or LBD? Luckily the Luluvise photo scoop came to my rescue and I posted a picture of all three options and posted it to my innercircle, in an instant. LBD was the winner as always! And of course, as we were getting ready the conversation turned to man-talk. As both my housemates had firmly decided that Robert Pattinson is the fittest man alive (100% no!), I turned straight to Luluvise and created a Poll Scoop. Once we’d finally made it to the bar, a couple of cute Chelsea men bought us girls some drinks. One of them told me to add him on Facebook, so I’ve just typed his name into the Wikidate database… 3 reviews and he’s not so hot on commitment! Instant second opinion.

What sets Luluvise apart from other social networks is that you have choice. Facebook is amazing at what it does, but on Luluvise you will never have to detag a photo or hold back from ranting about your boss. You choose who sees what, so you can let loose and tell your closest friends whatever you want them to know. So I’m off to try and prove to the world that Bradley Cooper is in fact the hottest guy in the world… Poll that!

Societies at QM are loving Luluvise! After going out with a couple of girls from the Luluvise team a few of us decided to get involved with the Ambassador program. It’s perfect for students, with loads of opportunities to get involved with social media and even putting ideas forward for the development of the site and here I am their first ever guest blogger!

Check out my next post coming soon.

Love Serena X

To get involved in writing for the Luluvise blog please email info@Luluvise.com

Glamour magazine USA

Want To Dish To Your Best Girlfriends, But Not All of Facebook? Luluvise Lets You Curate a Clique From Your Facebook Friends

Ever wanted to share a status update with a few close friends—if he finally made a move; how he kisses; whether you finally fit into those jeans you bought when you were at that bachelorette in NYC—but felt it was too private for all of Facebook to read about? For some there’s Luluvise , a new social networking site for women, but only women, which allows you to curate a clique of Facebook friends without letting anyone else know they weren’t invited.

Started by co-founders Alexandra Chong and Alison Schwartz, the Sunday Times recently dubbed Luluvise “It’s Sex and the City meets Facebook.”

“It all started the day after Valentine’s Day in 2009,” says Chong. I needed to give my girlfriends ‘the scoop’ on a date but they were scattered all over the world. The details were juicy, so I didn’t feel comfortable posting them on Facebook. Three telephone calls, many BlackBerry messages and texts, and two Skype calls later, I said: ‘Why can’t I tell this story to all my best friends at once?’ Luluvise was born: a social network dedicated to young women and the central role that best friends play in their lives, health and happiness.”

Looking through their Facebook friends, Luluvisers can create an “Inner Circle” of good friends who she trusts and wants to confide in and dish with. Then she uses the site’s “scoop” feature to issue what amounts to private status updates, just for her and her inner circle. There’s a photo option too, so that the narratives a Luluviser creates for her inner circle can be illustrated. For example: “Should I wear the cotton panties (pic), the black sheer (pic) or a thong (pic)?” or “Should I go out this weekend with Jeff (pic), John (pic) or Fred (pic)?” (Obviously, John is the right answer).

Over the next months and years, I think we can expect many startups to try and capitalize on chunks of Facebook’s massive social sphere, playing off the more and more specific social circles that will inevitably pop up: Bulls fans, hiking enthusiasts, furry fetishists, church groups, etc. But the creation of private circles of women makes possibly the most sense of all: at the risk of perpetuation stereotypes, groups of women are known more for dishing private info than say, Bulls fans (in fact, women account for 70 percent of messaging activity on Facebook and spend 35 percent more time than men using social networks).

Read more here

Lulu and Santa sittin’ in a tree…

The holidays are all about family time, winding down, and relaxing (at least, they are if you’ve got your shopping under control, the presents wrapped, the cards written and the parcels mailed).  They’re also a time for one more shortbread cookie, one extra scoop of stuffing, one last glass of red wine.  It’s a marvelous blend of snuggling up in front of a fire and overindulgence, and it all seems to have this wonderfully domestic feel to it.

But life being what it is, we know there’s always some level of intrigue, drama and scandal brewing somewhere.  So, don’t forget that Luluvise lets you find out who’s been kissing whom under the mistletoe.  Stay connected to your Inner Circle this holiday season.  Because, let’s be honest, your family might drive you a bit nuts in all this festive glory… and no one keeps you more sane than your BFFs.

Love,

LULU

The Sunday Times- OMG, Sex and the City meets Facebook

Days after the launch of Luluvise, a private social network for women, founder Alexandra Chong recalls how it took two years to fulfil her dotcom dream

■ It all started the day after Valentine’s Day in 2009. I needed to give my girlfriends “the scoop” on a date but they were scattered all over the world. The details were juicy, so I didn’t feel comfortable posting them on Facebook. Three telephone calls, many BlackBerry messages and texts, and two Skype calls later, I said to Alison Schwartz, who became my co-founder: “Why can’t I tell this story to all my best friends at once?” Luluvise was born: a social network dedicated to young women and the central role that best friends play in their lives, health and happiness. Think Sex and the City marries Facebook.

■ I was working at Upstream, a mobile marketing company, so nights and weekends were Luluvise time. I found a digital agency, Glow Labs, and sent them half my monthly pay cheque to build a prototype. One year and three versions later, we had a model that worked and it was time to find some finance.

■ My first angel investor was Alexios Vratskides, chief executive of Upstream, and with his investment, I went full-time on my start-up. Passion Capital and Profounders, whose backers include Brent Hoberman of Lastminute.com and Bebo’s Michael Birch, then came on board. I raised $1m (£643,000) by July. The investors are also my mentors; they provide much more than cash.

■ Once I had the funds, the next challenge was hiring the team. I’m a first-time tech entrepreneur without an engineering background, so finding talent — and fast — was difficult. I called and emailed everyone I knew for referrals and posted ads on job boards. After hundreds of CVs and interviews, my first key hire was Ole Mahrt, who worked at Skype. Now we are 12. If I’ve learnt one thing, it’s that the team is everything.

■ Eileen Burbidge, one of Passion Capital’s partners, encouraged me to set up our office at White Bear Yard, in Clerkenwell, London. There are 10-plus other start-up chief executives there to bounce ideas off and share best practices.

■ At a Downing Street reception, Rohan Silva, David Cameron’s senior policy adviser, reminded me that when he first visited our offices in August, Team Lulu consisted of an intern and a couple of freelances. By the time Cameron came on his Tech City tour last month, we had grown to 12 employees.

■ Last week we hit our first big milestone. After working days and nights for two years, Luluvise is now live. It’s an amazing feeling. In the next weeks, we will focus on getting members and improving our product. The response in our first week has been incredible, but we still have a long road ahead.