Meet Leor Massachi– 23-year-old Co-founder, Chief Product Officer, and Chief of Marketing for Dandy, the groundbreaking startup company that took the social networking industry by storm. We’ve got the inside scoop on the success story behind this young entrepreneur and how his company managed to succeed against the unfavorable odds of the tech world.
Massachi has always been one to dream big and brainstorm all kinds of wild concepts for future businesses. You can think of him as a product genius, although he prefers to refer to himself as simply the ‘creative type’; one that happens to be far savvier in the designing portion of a project than the logistical portion. He enjoys taking risks and firmly believes there is always room for growth and improvement in any aspect of life. Fortunately, all these qualities proved essential when he came up with the concept of his and his co-founder’s first startup company in 2018.
The company was designed to develop an application that was unlike anything else on the market. It would be a dating app with a live function; meaning users would log on simultaneously once the app went “live” in attempts to land a match. If they succeeded, the two users would be put in a timed message-based chat that lasted three minutes. Once time was up, the users would decide whether or not they wanted to pursue further communication outside of the app. Massachi and his partner named the concept Dandy.
Despite being an excellent plan, Dandy was tricky to create with a low budget, according to Massachi. Tons of engineering went into making sure the servers were able to handle all the users logging onto the new platform at the exact same time. Usually, this would take anywhere from six to nine months of production, but Massachi and his partner, along with the rest of the Dandy team, had the app running its beta testing in less than three months.
Things were also tricky involving finances since the two college seniors were paying for all the development out-of-pocket. That in turn left limited funds for proper marketing of the product, so the young entrepreneurs needed to be extremely mindful in how they were spending their small budget. Thankfully, Massachi prided himself in executing resourcefully and minimally, so he quickly found brilliant ways to spread the word about their new product. Since the design of the Dandy logo contained an outline of a flamingo, Massachi decided they’d buy hundreds of plastic yard flamingos and place them all over the USC campus to build up brand recognition. They also printed small flyers at their local Kinkos and placed the Dandy logo on them, along with the catchphrase, “you’ve been flocked!”. The small, but effective marketing strategy was an instant hit, and once Dandy’s launch day arrived, hundreds of users were in front of their phones at 8pm waiting for the app to go live.
“People felt like it was magic,” Massachi said while he described the user feedback they received after launch day. “We had people telling us their heart rates went up and that they got jittery once they were matched, almost as if they were meeting the person in real life. And that’s exactly what we wanted”, he added. Once the app reached a certain level of sustainability, Massachi became the company’s full-time Chief Marketing Officer, while his partner Newman was assigned the role of logistics as Chief Executive Officer.
As the app continued to exceed expectations, Massachi and Newman got to pitching Dandy in efforts to fundraise for future development. After over 100 rejected pitches, their 118th pitch landed them with a check from an investor. The first investment opened the gate for many others, and in a matter of two months, Dandy had raised over $3.3 million in funds from executives involved in massive tech companies such as Uber, Snapchat, and Airbnb.
Then, in 2020, Dandy restructured its brand and created a new application as a result of the global pandemic. Using similar elements from the original Dandy app, they built Zoom University– a live application dedicated to establishing new relationships with its two-on-two video calls. The new app was launched a day after the rebranding idea was discussed with the team, and within a few weeks, thousands of users were registering to participate. “We knew person-to-person contact would be extremely limited for students as a result of classes going virtual, so we decided to build a product that would maintain the connectivity of new relationships that is so essential for our generation at this point in our lives,” Massachi commented.
The rebranded application reached a waitlist of thousands of users on top of the existing 100,000 users already using the platform. In under two months, marketing impressions led by Massachi exceeded 50 million, and the application landed on the Top 10 Social Networking Apps of the Apple store.
“There is a process behind turning my wild imagination into substantial ideas. I’ve learned that the most effective way to reach success is by testing out all kinds of different things in order to find the one concept that works. And you do that repetitively with every aspect of the company until things start coming together. It isn’t a method that works for everyone, but so far, it’s worked tremendously for me and our product-based company,” Massachi said. “The important part is always starting with a blank slate and never getting too comfortable with something already works. There is always a way to make it more efficient,” he added. Massachi also mentioned he wakes up every morning eager to build cool, new products that change the way people live their everyday lives. He is constantly aiming to launch products that provide meaningful value, are delightful to use, and bring joy and efficiency to its users.
When he isn’t diving headfirst into his improving company, Massachi is usually taking time to refresh by either biking, eating good food, or spending time with his friends. He firmly believes a balance between work and leisure is necessary for the sustainability of any company, new or old. In the end, taking a break when things get overwhelming helps him come up with better ideas for the company in the long run.
Today, in true entrepreneurial nature, Massachi and his co-founder are currently in the process of building yet another product that is estimated to change the face of the tech world. “We can’t say much about it at the moment, but we will say that we are taking our learnings from Dandy and Zoom University and applying it into our upcoming project,” the CPO/CMO said. “We promise it’ll be worth the wait,” his partner, Newman added.