Facebook friends play matchmaker on new dating app
The smartphone app, which launched nationwide Thursday for Apple iOS devices, is targeted at both singles and couples alike, but it relies on the latter bunch to play matchmaker.
During the sign up process, users indicate whether they are would-be “daters” or “matchmakers,” connect their accounts to Facebook and create profiles with a few basic details. Then, they can begin suggesting potential partners for their Facebook friends — or even complete strangers who are also on Spritzr.
“Online dating has always been like going to a random bar where you have no social connections. You might meet someone great, but the chances are small,” said Manshu Agarwal, Spritzr’s founder and CEO.
Spritzr, however, said Agarwal, 41, is the digital equivalent of going to a friend’s party or wedding, where the atmosphere is more conducive to making romantic connections with friends of friends.
Spritzr also hopes to facilitate more friend-made matches with mobile tools that eradicate the sometimes-uncomfortable steps that people usually have to take when hooking up two friends — think: forced double dates or clumsy introductory emails and text messages.
“Matchmaking offline is awkward,” said Agarwal, who has been involved with early-stage technology companies for the past 10 years. “A lot of people don’t do it for that reason.”
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With Spritzr, users merely suggest romantic pairings. It’s then left to the singles themselves to like each other — via a swipe to the right on a person’s profile, just like on popular dating app Tinder. If both parties swipe right, indicating mutual interest, they can begin conversing through the app.
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Spritzr first debuted locally on Valentine’s Day, attracting roughly 1,000 people since then to test out the dating service in San Diego. Around 40 percent of early Spritzr users are married people who are fixing up their friends, Agarwal said. And users have thus far suggested a total of 500 matches, a fifth of which were successful, meaning the suggested daters indicated interest in one another.
Once a pairing is suggested, the daters must both indicate interest in each other before they can begin conversing on the app. – Spritzr
The four-person company, which has raised $900,000 in seed financing, enters an extremely crowded online dating market spearheaded by Match and Tinder. It must also compete with an array of smaller mobile dating apps, each with their own unique bent designed to hook online daters who want something other than just the wide selection of daters offered by the most popular services.
Dating app Coffee Meets Bagel, for instance, emphasizes quality over quantity with just one recommendation per day. Another app, called Hinge, also uses Facebook to filter potential candidates and only suggests friends-of-friends to daters. And Bumble emulates Tinder’s mobile matching system, but only lets women make the first move and initiate conversations.
Agarwal, who started Spritzr because of a distaste for the online dating world, argues that the competition takes a mostly computer-driven approach, making matches based on a limited amount of available data on daters. And people, not computers, know their friends best, he said.
Spritzr’s greatest hurdle, however, might be of its own creation. Given the company’s friends-as-matchmakers formula, singles will sign up with no one to initially check out — arguably, the single most motivating reason to use a dating app.
It’s this chicken-and-egg problem the company plans to address with its own virtual matchmaking day. Saturday, Spritzr will make handpicked matches for the singles who sign up to participate.
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