What possessed them
While both married recently, they know how difficult it is for a single person to meet someone. Suzette says the ways to meet new people in Johannesburg are limited unless you have a particular hobby. “They say the bigger the city, the lonelier you are,” she adds. They found an external investor who believed in the concept and rightly so as it wasn’t long before Meet Joburg started generating money through memberships and events.
Meet Joburg targets the higher LSM market, and Suzette says to date it has attracted professionals, mostly between the ages of 34 and 44. She believes most members pursued their careers when they were younger and are now ready to meet someone. To become a member you have to be older than 25, able to attend the events in Johannesburg and of course, single.
Dating with a difference
Meet Joburg is different in that it is based on the fundamental principle that attraction happens naturally. Unlike Internet dating sites that use automated checklists to match up members, Meet Joburg provides a fun environment through its events where single people can network. The members’ values, interests and personalities are assessed and they are then invited to the events. The company’s events range from river rafting, art gallery openings and ten pin bowling to dinners in carefully selected restaurants and poker evenings.
The growth of Meet Joburg surprised its founders who originally expected to have about 300 people signed up by the end of 2011. Instead it already has over 1 000 members. Suzette and Tilda are currently securing partners to launch Meet Durban and Meet Cape Town. They are also starting an image consultancy service which Suzette refers to as “social presentation skills” which will assist members with communication skills and dress sense.
The concept was inspired by a divorcéd friend of Suzette’s who joined her and her husband on holiday in December 2010. He told her how he loved going to functions and meeting new people but said that there just weren’t enough of them. He confessed that he had resorted to Internet dating sites to meet someone, with no luck. Suzette and her husband double dated with him a few times as he met with the ladies from the dating site, sharing his shock and laughter as they all turned out to be dreadful. Suzette realised that there is a market for people to meet in a natural environment and that they shouldn’t be embarrassed to admit to it.
Suzette Leal and Tilda Loots met at university where they both studied psychology. Suzette focused on industrial psychology and Tilda went on to attain her PhD in psychology. They both went into the corporate world after completing their studies but always talked about starting something together.
Players: Suzette Leal and Tilda Loots
Company: Meet Joburg
Launched: June 2011
Contact: 0860 225 545; meetjoburg.co.za