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Siren CEO Susie Lee celebrates the app's win at the 2015 GeekWire Awards.
Siren CEO Susie Lee celebrates the app’s win at the 2015 GeekWire Awards.

Siren, the Seattle-based dating app that lets women make the first move, has raised $500,000 of a planned $750,000 seed round. The lead investor was Blackrun’s new women-focused investment arm, Half the World Holdings.

The Siren dating app lets women make the first move.

Half the World Holdings will invest $225,000 in the dating app, said Siren co-founder and CEO Susie Lee in an e-mail about the funding. The investment was announced as part of Half the World Holdings’ debut on March 8. Four to five other angel investors are joining in the round, for a total of $500,000.

The dating app, which won App of the Year at last year’s GeekWire Awards, will use the money to further develop their platform and user base, working “to achieve quality social interactions and positive network effect,” Lee said.

“Siren strongly resonated with the directors of the fund [Half the World Holdings], who saw the investment opportunities in businesses focused on women at the critical stages of their lives. My first conversation with [Blackrun director] Debra Langley, a total bad-ass, felt like I was talking to a long-time friend; she immediate recognized the pain points but also the immense business opportunity in a relationship platform that wasn’t just another twist on the basic dating swipes.”

This most recent round of funding builds upon a previous $410,000 round of convertible notes, Lee said.

Currently, the app has about 20,000 users, Lee said, and this is from word-of-mouth only, since Siren has not launched any concerted advertising campaigns. The company has now expanded its team to five.

Lee, a Yale-educated entrepreneur and artist, co-founded Siren with COO Katrina Hess, a design consultant. The dating app is different from competitors like Tinder and because it allows users to engage through their answers to daily questions provided by local businesses and local cultural icons.

The questions are things like, “What did you want to be when you were a child?” or “What is a hidden gem in Seattle?” Lee says that this system gives users a more authentic portrait of others’ personalities than traditional dating sites that ask people to promote themselves on long profiles or to pick partners based on just pictures.

The app also prioritizes women’s safety, Lee says, by letting women make the first move. If they see a man whose answers they like, women can make a connection, and things go from there. Women can also send out a “Siren Call” on the app, which puts out notifications to a select group of men who are willing to meet up at that particular moment. Lee says that by making the app explicitly focused on women’s safety, women are more likely to stick around as users, knowing that their information is protected.

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