« In the early days I’d go to nightclubs with a bottle of sambuca in one hand, and tequila in the other, and encourage girls to download the app in return for a shot, » says the 29-year-old.
Then at UK lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) festivals Manchester and Brighton Pride, she targeted women by standing outside the portable toilets handing out toilet paper with flyers promoting the app.
This was back in 2013, and Ms Exton’s low cost, but innovative, approach to marketing soon saw user numbers rise steadily, then further gaining traction thanks to positive word of mouth.
Founded in London, but with its headquarters moving to San Francisco last year in order to be closer to US investors, and to be in the thick of the burgeoning social network scene, the Her app now has more than one million female users around the world.
Her was born from Ms Exton’s frustration with existing lesbian dating websites and apps, which she didn’t think were good enough.
She says the market was dominated by « dating sites that were initially created for gay men, and tuned pink for lesbians ».
Ms Exton had an inside business knowledge of this because at the time she was working for a London-based branding agency, where her client made dating platforms.
The light bulb moment when she e when she was in a pub with two friends, one of whom had split with her girlfriend.
Ms Exton says: « We told her you’ve got to join these sites to meet someone else, there’s no other choice.
« It was crazy because I knew the industry because of my client, and I thought, ‘is this the best that exists to women? Because it’s embarrassing, and humiliating that we are forced to use these’. »
Armed with ?10,000 of savings, including a ?4,000 lottery win, Ms Exton launched the first incarnation of Her in 2013, initially calling it Dattch, which stood for « date catch ».
To secure support and business advice she successfully gained a place on start-up mentoring programme Wayra, which is run by telecommunications firm Telefonica. Lire la suite