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Branching Out: Sam Lukens '12

Branching Out: Sam Lukens '12

Business decisions typically are made with a great deal of research, analysis and debate backing them. Financial investments need numbers to align. The right players must be seated in the proper roles. But there is also the leap of faith that often takes an idea from paper to reality.

For Sam Lukens ’12, who has years of business experience working for companies such as Samsara, Silver Peak and Alkira, leaving a traditional role to become co-founder of a startup company required faith, trust and a gut decision.

“The single scariest moment was the day after I left my job,” Mr. Lukens said.

He did so to launch Hatched, an online dating app, which went live in January 2022. For now, the app serves Atlanta but there are plans to expand to other markets. His co-founder is Mitch Alterman, a longtime colleague and husband of fellow HIES alum Paige Philipson Alterman ’10.

“It’s hard to be successful in the crowded space of dating apps, but Hatched takes a different approach with a focus on personality and core values,” Mr. Lukens said. “The goal is to help people find meaningful relationships.”

In the development stage, Hatched partnered with a therapist to develop a bank of 1,000 questions, a selection of which are answered by people creating their online profiles. Profiles are matched with potential partners and then revealed or “hatched.”

Working with close friends and colleagues, along with appreciating the importance of relationship-building, has aided the business’s success. Mr. Lukens often recalls lessons learned as a Golden Bear.

“HIES does a great job of making you feel very connected to your peers, whether you're on the same teams or not,” he said. “I felt like part of a family and we all grew up together. I made some of the best memories playing baseball at HIES.”

Mr. Lukens is close with about 15 friends from HIES whom he sees regularly. Some were classmates at the University of Georgia as well. He graduated from the Terry College of Business in 2016. He shares some mutual friends with his wife Virginia, who is a Lovett School graduate. He credits her with being an amazing support system during Hatched’s development. The early days were far less stable than where the company stands in 2023.

“We don't always know what each day is going to bring,” Mr. Lukens said. “I have learned more about finance, marketing and working with investors than ever before. There is a lot of luck and timing, and it’s exciting.”

— Christina Mimms