Charly Lester first entered the dating industry in 2013, when her blog ’30 Dates’ went viral. Quickly head-hunted by The Guardian, and then by Time Out media, where she was Global Head of Dating, Charly has spent the last six years working in dating.
In 2014, she launched The Dating Awards, an international set of industry awards for the online and offline dating industries. Charly ran the UK, US and European Dating Awards until 2018, when she co-founded Lumen, a new dating app for over 50s. Lumen received £3.5m investment from Andrey Andreev – the dating titan behind the Badoo, Bumble and Chappy dating apps. The four apps now form The Magic Lab.
In addition to her work with the Awards, Charly has consulted for a large number of companies within the dating space, with a particular focus on marketing and PR. She was Agony Aunt for eHarmony, and her dating advice has appeared in most national newspapers and magazines. She regularly appears on TV and radio representing the British dating industry. In 2015 she was a guest judge on the final of The Apprentice, advising Lord Sugar on the viability of a dating app idea (see photo below).
Charly teaches regular business classes at the Guardian, and is the author of two business books – The Female Entrepreneur and Modern Marketing for Start-Ups. Outside of dating Charly is a huge advocate for female entrepreneurship, and co-founded of ‘A League of Her Own’ – an online training platform for early stage entrepreneurs. Charly is an Ambassador for the rape charity Survivors Manchester, and a Community Governor at Kendrick School in Reading.
In 2018 Charly was named one of the 5 ‘Women of the Future’ in entrepreneurship. She was profiled by Forbes the same year.