“10% of the world’s population is part of the LGBT community,” explains Magdalena Rodriguez, CEO of GPS Gay, a tech startup located in Montevideo, Uruguay. “Not to mention the fact that the LGBT market tends to spend 40% more than heterosexuals on themselves.” The LGBT market is big opportunity around the world and few have learned to tap into it as well as this two-year-old tech company, GPS Gay.
GPS gay is a platform designed specifically for the LGBT community. It’s an interactive social network where the LGBT community can find LGBT friendly hotels, clubs, events and activities. It also contains LGBT content including movies, novels and other forms of media. “But,” cautions Rosario Monteverde, Co-Founder and CTO, “GPS Gay isn’t a dating app. Instead it’s like a real GPS. It can tell you all the cool places to go and where everyone is hanging out.”
In addition to the website platform, GPS Gay recently launched an app that is already winning plenty of awards and comes in Spanish, Portuguese, and English. They recently were named Uruguay’s best app and won the Monile Premier Award’s best app in the world.
GPS Gay has accumulated a large following in Latin America, totaling 350,000 users and 310,000 fans on Facebook. “Our average age is about 30 years,” explains Rosario. “That’s key because they are not too young that they don’t have discretionary income and are still in the age range where they are native internet users.”
So where did the idea come from? “We were in visiting Brazil and wanted to go to a gay bar but couldn’t find much information,” explains Magdalena. “We thought it would be cool to know where to go. It also allows us to use our talents in design and IT to create something positive for our LGBT community.”
“Our biggest assets is user data,” says Rosario. “But we also make money through sponsorships and commission on sales of LGBT content. Later this year, we are going to launch our first LGBT party. Generating revenue through parties will also be a big opportunity to gain revenue and grow our database.” In the short term, however, sponsorships generated through unique partners that fit GPS Gay core values are their bread and butter. Magdalena sites one important sponsor as Dove. “Dove has great values that are aligned with ours. It’s important to us that we choose sponsors that fit our culture and values. We would never have a condom sponsor for example; we want to distance ourselves from dating sites.”
Looking forward, Magdalena and Rosario are forecasting 1,000,000 users by end of 2015 and 50,00,000 users by end of 2019. A lot of that growth will come from expanding their market to the USA and Europe. “GPS Gay combines aspects of the biggest social media networks in the world, but are fine tuned to suit the LGBT market. Not only is it turning out to be an opportunity of a lifetime, but we’ve found a way to give back to our community,” explains Magdalena. “That’s the thing that is driving us – making a positive impact.”