We Heart It

inspiring images that you will love

Interview with Ranah Edelin

Ranah Edelin, CEO of We Heart It, opens up to GeekyCorner and talks about their different kind of social network targeting people who love beautiful, inspiring images. How We Heart It came to life and what inspires Ranah, find out from our interview with him below.

Can you explain in a few words the idea behind this photo-oriented social network and how it all started?

We Heart It was created by a design student who wanted to collect and organize images that he could refer to later for design inspiration. It was originally a personal project but grew organically to be a very positive and supportive community where people share beautiful, inspiring, and expressive images.   

What kind of images would the user find on We Heart It? 

Most of the images on We Heart It are beautiful, inspiring, and expressive images that capture how someone is feeling in-the-moment or what is important to her.  Beautiful scenes, rich imagery, creative shots of brands, and text over images are some of the popular types of images on our service.  Selfies are not as popular because We Heart It is less about “what I did” and more about “who I am” and “what is important to me”.

What differs We Heart It from other similar social network sites?

The We Heart It community is overall a very positive, supportive, and authentic community.  In addition to the images being more beautiful and expressive, the community itself is built around people taking only positive actions towards each other in the form of hearting someone else’s image or following that person or brand.

25 million users and 80% of them females under the age of 24, how do you explain that?

We are fortunate and humbled to have a very passionate community of young women who love our service!  They tell their friends about the app and share their favorite images from We Heart It to other social networks they use, resulting in even more their young women joining the service.  In general our users are connected via their smartphones (over 80% of our activity is on mobile), they view expressing themselves visually as more efficient than expressing themselves through words, and they find We Heart It refreshing after experiencing the pressures of other social networks. 

What is your revenue model?

People love to express themselves through their favorite brands and we already have millions of images of brands that have been hearted billions of times without any prompting from us!  We believe there is an amazing opportunity for a brand to have more control of their presence on We Heart It by creating a verified account, having users follow their account, and sharing images that embody that brand’s identity and values. Brands can also add the “Heart It” button to their apps or sites so that their followers can easily add that brand’s images to We Heart It and increase their exposure.

We are starting to work with a select group of brands as part of a pilot program that we hope to roll out in the coming months. We are already working with great brands like Conde Nast properties Teen Vogue and Lucky and more are joining the platform each week. I’d say that any brand that wants to increase their exposure and relevance with Millennials should get on We Heart It!

Explain why you are calling this app “bully-proof”?

We believe that the best experiences are ones that are simple and focused.  For example, we don’t allow comments on our service.  We did that originally to keep the site focused on images but it has resulted in a much more positive and supportive community because people can’t berate each other via comments.  The only actions I can take towards you if you add an image to our service is to Heart the image or follow you, both or which are positive actions.

What's your plan for improving the user experience and attracting new members?

We have an amazing team of 18 people at We Heart It who are constantly working to make it easier to share and discover the content they want as well as to connect with the people and brands in which they’re interested.  We’ve got some exciting things planned for 2014 so stay tuned!

If you were to start again, what might you do differently?

I’m not sure we’d do anything differently since even things that maybe didn’t go as planned were all valuable learning experiences.   That’s the fun part about startups….we are constantly learning and adjusting based on the new information and insights we have.

What is the coolest feature of We Heart It in your opinion?

I love how easy it is to feel connected to other people via hearting their images It gives people the comfort and confidence that they aren’t alone or that other people believe in their views.  We had one user tell us that they love to browse We Heart It while eating breakfast and heart people’s images because it allows them to start their day in a much more positive frame of mind.

What is your advice for other entrepreneurs?

People like to glamorize startups because they tend to focus only on the success stories that make things look so easy.  That taps into the dreamer in all of us but people should be ready to work hard and also be comfortable with a lot of ambiguity since the path to success for startups is rarely straight and clear.  It is also important to communicate regularly with your team.  Given them context into what the goals are for the company and why.  The more information they have, the more connected to the company they’ll be and the better decisions they’ll be able to make.

What are you most excited about at the moment?

I am most excited about our team and some of the new things that we’re launching in the coming months. There is already huge momentum around social, mobile, and the visual web in the marketplace and 2014 is shaping up to be a very exciting year for We Heart It!

Pie in the sky, whose advice would you like to get?

I have always admired Richard Branson.  I think it’s amazing that he built Virgin Records into the 400-company strong Virgin Group with no clear connection between the various businesses (entertainment, airline, telecommunications, food, drink, and even space travel) besides the strength of the Virgin brand and his creativity, passion, and drive.  I would love to hear his philosophies on being successful in business while also living what looks like a very interesting and fulfilled life!

Review Author: Irina Georgieva

About the Author

- Irina currently works as a Chief Editor for GeekyCorner after having previously worked over 10 years in IT and Marketing across a number of industries, including mortgage, electronics, and software. She enjoys spending time with her family and is an avid fan of salsa.
January 06, 2016
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