Are You Tired Of Swiping?

In our series of GUILD member interviews and SERENDIPITY attendees and speakers, we met with Kati Schmidt who just launched her startup Piña Colada — a new way to date and dine!

Kati is passionate about immigration, female founders, and gluten free food. As an early former employee of Airbnb, she left the company in November of 2017 after 6.5 years to pursue her own venture, Piña Colada SF, to create meaningful connections between groups of six like-minded singles over great food. Kati will join us at the STARTING SOMETHING house at SERENDIPITY, our 2-day (un)conference on October 26+27 and share her experience as an early-stage entrepreneur.

My passion for the dating industry began when…

I heard about the funky and sometimes horrifying stories of my single friends who were swiping on all available dating apps. Even though I was lucky to meet my partner on Tinder, I think (online) dating is broken and can be done better.

What inspired me to start my company…

With the concept of Piña Colada — group dinner dating at San Francisco’s best restaurants — I was able to combine my passion of connecting people in the offline world and celebrating great food!

Best advice for fellow entrepreneurs / women…

Don’t be too shy to ask for help!

Especially here in Silicon Valley, there is a great ecosystem of support for entrepreneurs: free conferences and workshops, serial entrepreneurs and investors who are looking for the next thing or give back as mentors and free trials of products that can help boost your company.

Sometimes, you have to be a bit bold and ask!

The area of dating and dining that excites me the most…

Dating can be awkward. By bringing together a group of like-minded singles the atmosphere is more casual and relaxed. Even though the people don’t know each other, the experience can feel like dining with friends. I partner with restaurants like The Perennial that have a story to tell and an interesting concept for their food so that the dinner turns into an experience where you might learn something new.

What is Pina Colada…

Piña Colada connects like-minded singles over great food in San Francisco’s best restaurants.

My vision for the Pina Colada is…

I want to host Piña Colada dinners for everyone who is looking to meet their partner and who appreciates good food. Our dinners are open for every age group, sexual orientation and interest. It doesn’t matter if you are tired of swiping or have never used dating apps before.

I love what I do because…

As an entrepreneur I get to deal with new challenges everyday. By bootstrapping my company, I wear many different hats and get to make every single decision. This is a feeling of empowerment that I was missing at my previous corporate career.

What I love the most is that at this early stage, I am in touch with my users, get to know them through the matching survey and follow up with them afterwards. I cannot wait for the day when the first Piña Colada couple gets married!

Wild Card: It’s a random day in 2007 — what are you doing?

In 2007, I spent a few weeks in Madrid, Spain, teaching English at the British Council School. Back then, I barely spoke any Spanish but managed to communicate with the students in my class, the bus drivers, local business owners and my host mum who barely spoke English.

My ASK for the GUILD community…

Whether you are single or matchmaker, I would love for you to test Piña Colada or refer us to your friends. As a one-woman-show, I welcome your feedback!

My OFFER to the GUILD community…

Get $10 off your first Piña Colada group dinner date.

Head over to the perks section of your GUILD profile to unlock this offer :)