David Vermeulen talks about his ambition to challenge the way we date in an ever-increasing digital era.
What do you currently do?
I’m the founder and CEO of The Inner Circle, a quality-dating app that offers a refined dating experience both online and offline for inspiring individuals who are on the same page in life.
My primary focus is developing the overall business strategy and roadmap to continually evolve the app into a stronger community for our members. Whether this be on the app or at our global events. We strive to create a fusion between online and meeting in person.
My day-to-day work includes prepping for the release of new versions of the app, managing the headquarters in Amsterdam, and liaising with our cohort in London. Additionally, we are always continuing to expand to new countries. For example, we are preparing to launch in South America soon.
What was the inspiration behind your business?
The concept started when, at the age of 35, I had just got out of a long-term relationship. I was looking around on online dating websites and found they were too concerned with quantity rather than quality.
The websites were awkward, random, anonymous, untrustworthy and users had nicknames like twinklestar29. I believed online dating was going to be the future but that it should be focused around the quality of matches. This sparked the idea and led me to launch The Inner Circle in 2012. This was around the same period Tinder launched in the US.
Delivering a quality experience is embedded into our ethos as a brand. Who does this best? Apple. They don’t have ground breaking new products, but they deliver a quality experience. From the moment you watch the product unveiling livestream to unwrapping your latest iPhone purchase, you feel it is a completely different experience compared to other brands.
Who do you admire?
I believe Donald Glover is the entertainment industry’s most multi-talented creative individual of our generation. You see him as an actor, comedian, singer, writer, producer, director, rapper, and DJ. It’s insane to see how much he produces and in such a wide variety. Equally, his stand-up special “Weirdo” is comedy gold. Glover is unapologetically himself and reveals truths in his work across all fields. He is pushing the norms and doing things that no one else ever dreamt of doing.
Looking back, is there anything you would have done differently?
When we originally launched, we hosted our first event in London and it turned into a massive party. We decided to have an open bar which didn’t end up being the best idea. The combination of free drinks and English singletons made for some interesting scenes. Lesson learned!
Understanding different cultures and the way each socialise has helped us improve on our events. Today, we now have a playbook that ensures we can bring the best possible event to each city we host in.
What defines your way of doing business?
Move fast, always improve, make mistakes and learn. This is my own personal ethos that I live by on a day-to-day basis.
We are a rapidly growing business that has always moved at a quick pace. We’ve been recognised as the fastest growing technology company in the Netherlands, crowned the winner of the Deloitte Technology Fast 50 in 2018. A huge accomplishment for us!
The Inner Circle stays relevant and keeps up with our member’s wants and needs. We work to adapt the app-technology to ultimately improve experiences. Sometimes we make a mistake, but we learn and press forward.