Oklahoma-based tech company offers ideas for perfect date night
By Scott Meacham
Copyright © 2016, The Oklahoma Publishing Company
The online dating industry generates about $2 billion in revenue each year and has expanded about 5 percent per year for the last five.
But what happens after folks find the right person?
“People are interested in taking intentional steps to invest consistently in the relationships they tried so hard to create — we all know what ‘date night’ is, said Brett Kolomyjec, co-founder of DateBox, but life gets busy with jobs, kids, and plenty more.”
Kolomyjec and his partners recognized an opportunity. “We realized that even if couples aren’t carving out time to have date night, many of them had an idea of what it would look like and what it would be,” Kolomyjec said.
DateBox is a budget-friendly subscription service that once a month delivers a box containing eight to 10 items and creative plans for one great date.
The sushi-making course was very popular, as was a DateBox that included everything to channel a couple’s internal Van Gogh.
A gingerbread house box generated more than 3,400 Instagram posts, earning the post with the most “likes” a trip to Maui.
In business for about eight months, DateBox has delivered about 76,000 dates.
Getting DateBox up and going wasn’t as simple as “just” coding an algorithm or an application with artificial intelligence that gets smarter about delighting its customers the more it is used.
Kolomyjec and his partners started out in three locations (Seattle, Texas, and Oklahoma), working on their laptops from coffee shops and homes. Then they made the decision to relocate to Oklahoma, consolidate operations and headquarters here, and establish a warehousing and logistics facility.
Sourcing pricing, design and suppliers to consistently achieve quality and margins came next. About 70 contractors work two weeks a month to inventory and pick from about 100,000 to 150,000 well-vetted and curated products, packing about eight to 10 items in each DateBox.
Kolomyjec has built marketing relationships with bloggers and influencer couples, including winners from “The Bachelor,” putting social media to work, attracting both subscribers as well as product manufacturers who are seeking ways to build recognition for their products and brands.
The DateBox team has grown from three to more than a dozen employees. Kolomyjec expects to double that by the end of the year.
“There are a lot of qualified technical people, software developers and other technical talent who want to work on projects and apps,” he said.
“For a startup, Oklahoma feels like an up-and-coming place with a small-town feel,” Kolomyjec said.
“The people are really great. People understand what we are trying to do and build. We are excited about becoming part of the community and laying down our roots,” Kolomyjec said.
Did You Know?
The subscription business model predates the internet — Columbia Record Club was founded in 1955 and Wine of the Month Club, the oldest mail order wine club, has been shipping since 1972.
Read the story at The Oklahoman. (Subscription required)
Scott Meacham is president and CEO of i2E Inc., a nonprofit corporation that mentors many of the state’s technology-based startup companies. i2E receives state appropriations from the Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science and Technology and is an integral part of Oklahoma’s Innovation Model. Contact Meacham at i2E_Comments@i2E.org.