Launch: November, 2007
Members: Fewer than 100
Site founder Arya Marafie, a London-based entrepreneur and enthusiastic member of real-world private membership clubs, wanted to create an exclusive, online, private membership club. A marketing campaign targeted at exclusive social circles in the Middle East and Europe garnered 7,000 applications for membership. Fewer than 100 were accepted, though Marafie plans to expand the club to 20,000 members. One member, a headhunter for financial firms, says the site's rigorous application process was revolutionary—and appealing. Once accepted, members pay a $60 monthly fee and gain access to networking opportunities hosted by members or exclusive offers of items they might like to buy. In an effort to tackle the problems created by mixing business with pleasure, members have two separate identities: a social profile in the "Lounge" and a business profile in the "Boardroom." They can choose the personal details they want to disclose and set limits on who can view either profile.