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Meet Julie Nashawaty of Aste in South End

Today we’d like to introduce you to Julie Nashawaty.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I was working as the Director of Operations for a Machine Learning startup in Boston and was using online dating apps as a way to try to meet someone in my super busy life. Unfortunately, I had one bad date after another.
These people were either lying about their age or about the fact that they were still married or that they uploaded pictures to their profiles that looked nothing like themselves.

I finally connected with a man on OkCupid who was a 92% match and who was looking for no drama. We had a ton in common and we set up a date for a few days later. I was excited but I had this sinking gut feeling that after all my past bad dates, I should really go online and find out who this guy really was. With just a first name and phone number, I found that my date was out on bail awaiting trial for allegedly robbing a bank.

What’s a woman to do? She starts a company to prevent this from happening to others.

Since the only alternatives to researching our dates ourselves are people search bars and private investigators, I knew I had to set up a company of sluethy internet detectives that run through a myriad of public information looking for red flags like sex offender status, major arrests, and social media sites.

Since launching in January 2017, we’ve caught catfish, uncovered domestic assault charges (and various other criminal charges), confirmed marriages, shined a light on fat shamers and racists, and delivered some tough news to our clients. It’s been a crazy beginning to my entrepreneurial journey. Being invited to speak on radio and tv shows and also appearing in some massive print publications has been insanely affirming that turning my life upside down was the right decision. Seeing my name in Cosmo print was the highlight of my year! It’s all upwards and onwards from here!

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Hahaha – what a fun question. Honestly? This has definitely been a bumpy road both personally and professionally. The transition from working for someone else all your life to finding yourself in a lonely fishbowl is something you need some mental preparedness to go through. Luckily I’ve traveled a few tough roads in my past and know there’s nothing I can’t get through and that I’ll still end up stronger on the other side.

Professionally I’ve been knocked down repeatedly and if I had a dollar for everyone that I said I can’t scale my business, this company would’ve accidentally gotten it’s seed round. B2B issues, personnel issues, … you know all the stuff that goes into owning a company.

I grew up in an entrepreneurial home and watched my parents go through all this. So though I know I’ll always have challenges and struggles, it’s better than the alternative.

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Aste – what should we know?
We’re the “Dating Detectives” taking the RISK out of online dating to help you know before you go. We’re not a dating app, we’re a team committed to helping you find out what you need to know about the person you connected with online so you have peace of mind. We’re also the only human-powered solution leading the fight against online dating fraud, saving you time and keeping you safe in your search for love.

Why?
10% of sex offenders use online dating sites
51% of online daters are already in a relationship
12% of online daters are married
10% of members on free dating websites are scammers
81% of people lie on their online dating profile
$230M was lost in the USA
Internet predators are committing more than 16,000 abductions, 100 murders and thousands of rapes each year across America.

Any shoutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
Family, friends, mentors… all of the above. Love and support for each other are what this whole thing is about and I’ve been blessed to have the light and love that I give come back my way exponentially. Even the people who have reached out to me to tell me they can’t wait to see me fail, they’ve played a role in my success. I wish them well and they give me a little extra fire in my belly to change the world.

My family is the loudest group of cheerleaders on the planet and I couldn’t be more grateful for that. They were the first ones out buying the multiple copies of Cosmopolitan magazine and telling people in the parking lot with me on facetime that their daughter is in the new issue. They’re the best family ever.

I also credit my brilliant badass dear friend Marian Brown (https://www.artsconnectinternational.org/aci-leadership-team/), Founding Executive Director of Arts Connect International as being a huge source of inspiration when I started to embrace the leap and keep breathing. That it’s one life, we’re all out here together to make the world a better place and to trust and actually enjoy the process. She’s a constant source of light.

All the people in my life deserve credit. Again, I’m one lucky lady.

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