Entrepreneurs

How Female Entrepreneurs Are Changing The Online Dating Landscape

Today’s online dating industry is changing rapidly. Gamified apps such as Tinder are old news, even as Tinder in particular remains the go-to matchmaker for millions of Americans in their 20s and 30s.

Popular social media platforms such as Instagram and TikTok are getting in on the action, too, as users repurpose these platforms to meet potential love interests. The “selfie video” is becoming an art form as Gen Zers use them to seek more authentic connections.

What has become apparent in all of this is that any novelty associated with online dating is long gone. Clients today are demanding more than the swipe-right, swipe-left assembly line can give them.

‘No’ Really Does Mean No: Enhanced Safety Fuels Profitability

Women deserve much of the credit for the online dating scene’s biggest shifts. Bumble founder Whitney Wolfe Herd recently became the world’s youngest self-made billionaire after her groundbreaking dating app’s wildly successful IPO.

Bumble gained rapid, widespread popularity chiefly because it put women in control of the online dating process. Wolfe Herd’s app solved the frustrating—and oftentimes alarming—challenge that every woman seeking opposite-sex matches knows all too well: unwanted, continued contact by overeager, creepy, or downright vulgar men.

Bumble’s success serves as a wake-up call for an industry that has traditionally been dominated by white male leadership at companies such as Tinder and the other popular matchmaking services. Wolfe Herd was able to move quickly into a crowded field by addressing a common, long-standing complaint from women that wasn’t being prioritized at other companies.

Expanding the Options for Meeting and Matching

A former Match.com executive who was also part of the founding team of Plenty of Fish, Kim Kaplan is now taking advantage of what she sees as a huge opportunity for change in online dating. Dissatisfied with the dating app landscape and intrigued by the possibility of social media–enabled video dating, Kaplan has sought to create an innovative new dating model where people—especially women—feel comfortable meeting and matching on their own terms.

Snack is an all-in-one mobile dating solution that keeps users engaged. It blends the visual richness and creativity of video dating with communication features popularized by Tinder, Bumble and other successful dating apps. Snack also eliminates another frustrating aspect of the digital dating scene: jumping from matching on one platform to communicating on another platform such as Instagram or TikTok.

Mindful of the negative experiences many have had on Tinder and other “assembly line” dating apps, the app is designed to accommodate a wide range of gender expressions and sexualities. “I wanted to create an inclusive platform where people can be themselves while being able to seek the exact match they are attracted to, rather than just being another addition to the male-female-other trinary that’s so common elsewhere,” Kaplan says.

The Days of the Online Dating ‘Boys Club’ Are History

Wolfe Herd and Kaplan are not the only women founders and executives changing the dating app game for the better. Other women entrepreneurs, tired of substandard app features and emboldened by the success of others, have entered the fray.

Based in San Francisco, the three Kang sisters—Arum, Dawoon and Soo—cofounded the dating app Coffee Meets Bagel. Three years into development, an appearance on Shark Tank yielded a $30 million offer for the company from Mark Cuban. However, the women turned it down so they could retain control of their dating app. Specifically, the Kangs wanted to make sure that their app prioritized fewer relationships as a means of cultivating quality and authenticity.

Another female founder, Amanda Bradford saw the need for ambitious, working professionals to have their own online dating environment with a few filters pre-installed. Specifically, Bradford’s app, The League, draws member information from the user’s LinkedIn profile. The League gives clients a chance to see how a potential match represents himself or herself to the world of business. It does not take much imagination to guess that an individual’s LinkedIn profile information carries with it an increased measure of honesty and accountability.

Dissatisfaction Can Lead to Hidden-in-Plain-Sight Opportunity

As the U.S. digital dating market grows to a projected $674 million in 2021, female entrepreneurs are certain to have plenty of company—and competition—in the coming years. As born innovators striving to make the dating world a little more welcoming for women and LGBTQIA+ people, Wolfe Herd, Kaplan and others doubtless welcome the challenge.

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