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What’s a better way to continue our celebration of National Women’s History Month than with Lori Cheek, a female entrepreneurial firecracker?She’s the Founder and CEO of Cheekd, an online dating app that connects local people in real time, beginning with an initial in-person interaction.Lori has proven herself to be the ultimate risk taker by leaving her secure career in architecture to pursue a passion, ignoring advice from Shark Tank investors, and pulling wildly creative marketing stunts.

A few months later, we popped up on the cover of the Styles Section of The New York Times…

“Move over, Match.com, this is the next generation of online dating.” A couple of days later, I got a call from Oprah Winfrey’s Studio asking for an interview. I left my job and started working full time on Cheekd in November of 2010.

Soon after, Cheekd went global with customers in 47 states in the U. and 28 countries internationally, but that didn’t make for instant success…After finishing off my savings from my 15 year career in architecture, I had to get extremely creative to continue funding my business. I made nearly ,000 by selling my designer clothes at consignment shops and on e Bay, doing focus groups, secret shopping, app testing, dog walking, house sitting, watering plants and by selling my electronics and other odds and ends around my apartment on Craigslist. The biggest chunk of cash came from renting out my West Village Studio in NYC on Air Bn B, while I couch surfed for 14 months, nearly got evicted and ultimately lost my lease of 5 years in my gorgeous apartment.

And finally, after four tumultuous years of building my startup with the wrong partners, lots of bad decisions and some major rookie mistakes, I was determined to find a way to take my business to the next level …

and what better way than to apply to ABC’s Shark Tank?

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