'Tinder for things to do' app attracts big-name NZ tech investors

Christchurch entrepreneur Emily Heazlewood has raised money from some big name local tech investors for her Romer app - which she describes as "the Tinder for things to do".

Romer lists activities and events in a city, plus the likes of walking trails and cafes. You can swipe left to dismiss them or, Tinder-style, swipe right to like them - at which point you can also loop in Facebook friends. And, yes, you could even use it for dating.

The 24-year-old Heazlewood says her app has had more than 45,000 downloads since it was launched in 2017. She says it has around 4000 active monthly users and has yet to hit profit.

Her funding round just closed raised $250,000 from backers including the Tauranga-based Hadleigh Ford, who sold visitor management app SwipedOn to a UK outfit for $11 million.

Also on board were Chris Pescott and Dan Shaw of customer intelligence company Perceptive, who have had successful exits from fast-growth technology investments; Gerald Mackenzie, Singapore-based director of innovation and digital transformation for a global bank, Paul Bingham, an ex-director of Air New Zealand and current director of Christchurch NZ and Ngai Tahu Tourism and Canterbury investor Ben Kepes.

Kepes tells the Herald, "There has been much hand-wringing about New Zealand companies selling offshore. The fact that, only a few months after SwipedOn was acquired by a UK listed company, four of the individuals who cashed out at that time are already recycling their capital should quieten these concerns.

"New Zealand is rapidly becoming an incubator of fast-growing tech startups and that's a fact to be celebrated. Romer's future success is, at least in part, fuelled by the past successes of those who have gone before."

Heazlewood had early investment in her company from the developers Smudge Apps, was accepted into the Vodafone Xone accelerator last year, and has attracted prominent business partnerships with organisations such as AA Traveller and Christchurch NZ.

Romer is available via Apple and Google's app stores for various locations in NZ, Australia and Singapore. Heazlewood plans to use her newly-raised funds for further international expansion.


Emily Heazlewood