Posted by Jaclyn Bryson on Tuesday, October 28, 2014 · Leave a Comment
You upload a photo to a new dating app. Next, you add a question: something that’s important to you, something that guys need to answer correctly before they can even begin talking to you. If they answer wrong, they’re gone.
This is how the Singled Out app developed by SetMeUp works. According to CEO Jay Wadhwani, a former University of Massachusetts student, this program gives women control in the conversations they have with men.
“The whole concept behind Singled Out was to have women ask questions and eliminate guys based on how they respond,” he said.
Wadhwani added that this app avoids the problems that well-known dating apps like Tinder have. Instead of being based on superficial appearances, conversation flows more easily with Singled Out.
“When girls do use Tinder, a lot of times they get a bunch of offensive messages from guys and admittedly it’s funny at times,” Wadhwani said. “But you lose credibility with the app and trust with the people you are meeting.”
The idea was sparked about two years ago with the creation of the Boston-based company known as SetMeUp. An app of the same name was soon launched, which allowed users to connect people to each other through their friends. According to Wadhwani, about 30,000 people signed up on the app but it wasn’t the numbers the company was looking for.
“We had a pretty good track record,” he said. “But I think the product and where the market was wasn’t explosive like Tinder numbers. The user experience was somewhat complex.”
So six months ago, they tried a product that was bigger and better. Thus, the Singled Out app was born.
“Over 25,000 responses have been logged into the app so far,” Wadhwani said. “The people who have been using it have been pretty aggressive on it.”
At UMass alone, about 1,600 students, the majority of which are female, have been participating in the app since its beta launch on campus three weeks ago. Around 1,173 questions were asked so far and 62 percent of men usually answer these questions correctly based on women’s standards.
“The biggest thing that these numbers tell is that men surprisingly like an app that empowers women just as much as women do,” Wadhwani said. “Now that we know that, it really helps us pack in more heat for the female experience.”
And while this creates a new potential dating experience, it has also reveals unique patterns and data about UMass students.
According to Wadhwani, the most popular question women ask men is if they consider themselves dog lovers, followed by if they go to the gym and if they have ever been arrested. The data found that 85 percent of men responded that they were dog lovers and 95 percent like short girls, but 72 percent don’t like girls with short hair.
“I think data tells a story,” Wadhwani said. But from a business standpoint, these numbers also tell the company how to proceed in the future.
“We have very aggressive and edgy marketing campaigns that are directed right at Tinder and most people have been fairly receptive to it,” he said. “We’re going to do a very methodical launch, go from campus to campus in the northeast and start with the schools we know very well and do a cluster-based marketing approach to get maybe 4,000 to 5,000 new users per school. Then let the vitality take off on its own.”
While the purpose of the app is to make connections and possibly seek out romantic relationships, Wadhwani said that this product could expand to become a tool where people provide honest feedback to each other.
“The feedback could be something superficial. It could be girls asking questions like, ‘Do I look good with short hair? Do you prefer blonds or brunettes?’” he said. “Or it could be used for something more unpredictable or functional, like ‘Do you have this textbook for a class?’”
And for this company, the creation and life of this app has been a learning process they will keep improving upon.
“How do you create a Snapchat? How do you create something with the virility of a Yik Yak that goes around the campus and becomes explosive?” Wadhwani said. “Understanding the way people use the app really helps us build a better product for everybody.”
Jaclyn Bryson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.