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Local creator helps start friendships

By Angela Brown, Portage Daily Graphic

A woman who lives close to Poplar Point has a new idea that is gaining popularity on the internet.

The area resident recently was in the spotlight when she appeared on the Dragon's Den television show hoping to receive support for her new idea of Friend Match, a website where people can connect and make new friends around the world.

Katie Hartle, who lives near Poplar Point in the Marquette area, was selected to appear on the CBC show the Dragon's Den on March 7 to present her new website:

"There is a huge on-line match-making and on-line dating industry. So I decided to take it to the next step, which is on-line match making, but for friends instead of dates," she said. "It serves Canada and the United States as well. The idea is maybe you have moved and you don't know anyone. It's a modern way to meet new friends."

She said it could be helpful for people looking for running partners or even new parents seeking others to connect with.

While Hartle said she wasn't successful in receiving funding for her venture on Dragon's Den, she was happy just to get the exposure.

"I did get a lot of publicity and a lot of traffic from the Dragon's Den," she said.

Her next step is to go to a conference in Los Angeles in June focusing on on-line ventures.

When someone is selected to appear on Dragon's Den it can be a good boost for the individual and their product.

"It's definitely great to have your business go on the show," said Dragon's Den production-assistant Jane Chupick. "Obviously, even if you don't get the deal, you are still seen by all of our viewers. Often times, you can get sponsorship or funding from other areas or people who have seen the show, as well as the general public. I'm sure she got quite a few hits for her website after the segment aired."

For Hartle, her site has garnered thousands of members since it was started.

"It's actually leaking into the U.K. already, so it is growing," she said.

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