Lex Raises $5.6 Million in Seed Funding, Appoints New CEO
Lex, the app inspired by vintage lesbian personals, recently secured $5.6 million in seed funding and announced Jennifer Lewis as its new CEO. Co-founder Kel Rakowski will transition into the role of chief creative officer, while Michelle Parsons, former product boss at Hinge, joins as the chief product officer.
The Challenges of Funding for Women and Queer-Led Startups
In a statement, Lewis expressed pride in the 11-person team for successfully raising funds, highlighting the challenges faced by women and queer-led startups in securing venture industry funding.
A Growing Platform for LGBTQIA+ Individuals
Although Lex is not on the same scale as popular platforms like Reddit or Tinder, it has gained popularity among LGBTQIA+ individuals, particularly in cities like New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles where it ranks around #350 in social networking apps for iPhones.
More Than Just Dating and Hookups
Lex offers more than just dating and hookups. Users in places such as LA use it to find roommates, sell tickets, express their opinions, or indulge in some flirtation. The app’s text-only posts create an eclectic mix resembling a local LGBTQIA+ newspaper, Craigslist missed connections, chaotic poetry subreddit, or trans Twitter.
Debate Over Community Focus
A redesign in February sparked debate about the app’s focus on community rather than dating and hookup features. Despite the controversy, Lewis believes the changes aligned with what most users desired—a comprehensive social app for everything queer.
Seed Funding and Investors
Peter Boyce from Stellation Capital led Lex’s seed round, which also received contributions from Slauson & Co, Hope Lab Ventures, Best Nights VC, Great Oaks, Graph Ventures, Manuela Rios, Melanie and Lila Steinbach, and Lex’s pre-seed investors—Female Founders Fund, Alpaca Ventures, Red Swan, and Gaingels.
Expansion Plans and Monetization Strategies
Lex plans to utilize the new funds for expansion while also maintaining user satisfaction. Being an LGBTQIA+ inclusive platform, Lex is exploring monetization and growth strategies that are uniquely tailored to its community’s needs, distinguishing itself from ad-based social models like Facebook or TikTok. The app currently offers a few paid features, such as allowing users to post more frequently than usual.
Transitioning into a New Role
Rakowski shared her excitement about transitioning into a new role that allows her to focus on supporting queer individuals and making impactful changes within the community.