One of my all-time favorite FEMBAs is Amy Galland ’06, Founder/CEO of NTWC. Amy is an Art-Professor-turned-App-Developer, and she launched Plume this week, a flirting app with heart. Amy and I had lunch recently, to catch up on her world since FEMBA.
Dylan: What are you up to these days?
Amy: I just launched the first product, Plume, from my new company NTWC. Plume is a flirting app – it is like WhatsApp, but with almost 400 sexy emoji and stickers and the security features you’d want when sending personal texts.
Dylan: From Art History to App Developer – How did that happen?
Amy: I had a windy career path – art history professor, production coordinator in the music industry, yoga instructor, and most recently in Corporate Social Responsibility working with publicly traded companies to improve their environment and labor practices.
With Plume, I was able to circle back to my love of art and my work in Art History. But instead of talking about representations of women and immigrants, I am in control of creating sensual images of people of different genders, races, ages, sizes and sexualities.
I knew what I wanted to create, the next part was finding people to make it happen. Now I work with six amazing artists and I was lucky to find the most incredible development team, Silicon Prime, based here in LA.
So along with a technical advisor who gave me the lay of the land and explained to me high-level what I needed to know and walked me through on that end, guidance from Bill Cockrum (UCLA Anderson, Adjunct Professor of Finance) on the financing side, and drawing on my network of amazing and talented friends from each stage of my life, – we were able to create an app I’m really proud of.
Dylan (aside): FEMBA is Amy’s 4th degree! Before FEMBA, she’d already earned a PhD from UCLA. During FEMBA she worked in the music business, going into the studio at noon, coming to campus for evening classes, and then heading back to the studio until 1 or 2am.
Amy used to volunteer for Open House panels. She’d have all of Korn Hall laughing, telling about buying a calculator for FEMBA after not having taken a math class in ages. She told about sitting on the floor at Staples, surrounded by every option they had, and calling a group-mate who was good at finance.
“I want the exact same calculator you have,” she told her study group friend.
“That’s more powerful than you will need,” he replied.
“No. I know that. But, when I have a question for you, I want you to be able to tell me to push the third button on the left,” she informed him. (Of course, Amy graduated FEMBA with flying colors.)
Dylan: In honor of Valentine’s Day, I’ve downloaded Plume. I can’t wait for the Android version to put it on my wife’s phone: As you say, A picture is worth a thousand words. I must ask – how do you think of so many images?
Amy: I ask a lot of people a lot of questions that would make a lot of people blush! Seriously, I just ask people. “What are the words you and your friends use about sex and dating?” And then the artists draw them.
It is important to me to have images for people with different lifestyles. It was funny, when I presented the concept of the app to some friends from my FEMBA section – all of whom are married, except for me! – they suggested images related to “date night,” which they then had to define for me. And afterwards I spoke with the artists and we added dinner for two, movie night, two glasses of red wine, and images like that in addition to images like the hot dog, taco, sexy lips, and handcuffs. So I really appreciate the different perspectives and want Plume to be for everyone to play, have fun, flirt, and spice things up – whether you are single or in a long-term relationship.
Dylan: Speaking for the married-with-kids demographic, yeah for date night!
How can FEMBAs help your company take off?
Amy: We just launched on Tuesday (February 10, 2015), so I’m still recovering from that! But going forward, in March we will be starting our next round of funding, looking to hire C-level staff, and adapting the app for and expanding our marketing efforts into different countries.
It is really important to me that we have emoji that are culturally specific – we want to have visual representations of the different sexual colloquialisms from each of the countries where Plume is popular.
Dylan: How popular is Plume – you just launched 3 days ago?
Amy: Each day we get more users – but if all FEMBA were to download the app, we’d have a lot more! It’s available on iTunes – can you post the link?
Help a fellow FEMBA! Download Plume http://bit.ly/PlumeDwnldiOS
Dylan: For sure – one more question, what is your company name, NTWC, something you learned asking around for new emoji?
Amy: Ha! No. NTWC stands for “Not The Whole Chicken.” It is based on a quote by the Chilean author, Isabel Allende. She said, “erotica is using a feather, pornography is using the whole chicken.” So my app is called feather and the LLC is called not the whole chicken.
For more information about Plume, and to get some laughs at their fun social feeds: