OPW INTERVIEW - Feb 24 - Ivan Fatovic is the Founder and CEO of Modamily, a very very unusual kind of 'dating' service, if you can call it that. His service introduces people who want to have a baby together. Nothing unusual there, right. But there's more. Modamily is for 'modern families.' For people who want kids, without the commitment and burden of a marriage. Learn more about co-parenting here. It's a fascinating concept and these are super high-value connections of course. So what does Modamily charge? $Thousands perhaps. A mere $30 a month. Here's my interview with Ivan.
What is Modamily?
Modamily is where people ready to have children and start a family meet. We work with the full spectrum of family arrangements, both modern and traditional, straight and LGBT. After users tell us a little bit about who they are and what they're looking for, we make match recommendations using a variety of criteria, from religion, age, education, income, ethnicity, etc.
What's your founding story. What inspired you?
I was out to drinks in NYC with some of my 30 something girlfriends. They were all going in and out of casual relationships from people they met on Match.com, Tinder, or OKCupid. They were all successful professionals who started to feel the pressures of the biological clock. They wanted to have kids but did not have a partner to make it happen and did not want to do it alone. I started looking online and found that there wasn’t a great site for this niche. We became the first co-parenting site based in the USA and the first in the world to use compatibility as a matching tool.
How many people are looking for this kind of relationship?
Modamily’s membership is about 65% women, and 62% of the women are under 35. About 20% of the site is LGBT and I think that is a segment that will grow. I think we are seeing a seismic shift in what defines a family. More and more people are open to having kids and marriage is not necessarily a pre-requisite. We make romantic connections too, but the key thing is we are a community where everyone is ready to have children and start a family, and how you do that is completely up to you.
What have been your major challenges in starting up Modamily?
I think we are disrupting the way people think about family and opening up possibilities they never thought of before. We are challenging existing norms, and it takes time for new concepts to take hold. Given our growth rate, I’m confident that we are starting to impact the market.
And your growing pains?
We've been fortunate to get our name out there and become the leader in the industry, but the growth has been organic and scattered. We are now putting more effort to gain more usership in target markets, starting with NYC and then LA and SF. Previously, I didn't have the chance to focus on one city at a time because the press was world wide from the beginning. We had people signing up from all over the world and I wanted to try and help them all. This made it difficult to achieve viral growth.
Where do you want to take the site in 2015?
We have the Modamily iPhone app coming out next month. We've improved the matching algorithm and the app will focus on optimizing search and messaging. It will make it much easier to receive high quality match recommendations and communicate with them. There are a lot of other things in the works that I can’t talk about it, but stay tuned!
How big is Modamily at this stage, and how big do you think it will be?
We are still a small operation and membership is in the tens of thousands worldwide. I think we can get into the hundreds of thousands in the short term and into the millions over time. Site traffic has been growing gradually with over 200K visitors to the site and well over 1MM page views. The quality of user has been improving, they are spending more time on the site and coming back more often. We have made thousands of connections and dozens of babies have been born because of us.
How have you managed the scaling process?
When Modamily launched, we got worldwide attention almost immediately, even when we had 150 people to begin with on the site. It is difficult to service the entire world as a bootstrapped start-up and initially growth was organic and scattered. However, there were some advantages to launching the way we did as well. There is something to be said for breaking through the clutter, becoming the leading co-parenting site in the world while starting a global conversation on what makes a family, and making the word ‘co-parent’ a more mainstream term and parenting option.
For the launch of the iPhone app, we are taking a step back and focusing on more on New York and then Los Angeles and San Francisco shortly after. We need to get some targeted network effects happening in the area where we have the most members and we can then roll out elsewhere similar to what Facebook, Uber, Tinder, and Hinge did and are doing.
I know you use WebPurify. How are they working out for you?
WebPurify provide us with a valuable easy solution to make sure all the content on our site was appropriate. We were getting some major press all over the world and I wanted to have control over the aesthetic of the user’s experience. The early days of developing a company’s brand and identity are so crucial and WebPurify is great at what they do.
Are there any other services that have been useful for you as you scaled?
Yes, the team at Rackspace has been a valuable partner for our server needs. We use Mailchimp for a lot of our email campaigns and in the future, our match recommendations emails. The Proto.io app has been great to preview UX/UI design throughout the whole process. The Basecamp app is a nifty project management tool that we used for the app build as well. I’m exploring using Stripe or Brain Tree for our payment gateway needs.
Post by Mark Brooks @