Back in 2014, we had a crack at creating a female-first dating app.
It worked like one-way glass. The girls could see the guys, but they couldn’t see the girls at all unless they sent a message or a ‘tap’. Girls had anonymity until they chose to reveal themselves to someone they liked and guys didn’t have to do all the work for once, as they no longer made the first move.
It also had a real time-selfie requirement for a profile pic and Instagram only login for a while
It didn’t quite work.
Girls felt disempowered when they didn’t get a response back. No one could remember their Instagram login password. Girls hated the real-time selfie. It didn’t work on the LGBTQ+ front and Bumble came out.
Back to the drawing board.
By this time we had become obsessive students of modern romance. More people than ever were coming to us saying that they were looking for something new on the dating scene.
We have always believed there are potential love interests all around us - in the pubs we drink, the coffee shops we work and the parks we laze about in.
Why doesn’t anyone make a move? say a simple ‘Hi’ IRL?
Shuffling over could result in a heavy dose of rejection and/ or embarrassment.
We have no idea who is single, who is taken, who is open to chatting to someone new or what gender they are into.
Far, far easier to revert to a dating app and put up with the time wasters, ghosting, sleaze, dishonesty, endless chat etc.
It’s our bet if you are reading this far, you are single, a bit over dating apps and yearn to meet someone in the real world, organically, the old school way.
We started out the hypothesis that if you knew who was single, in a specific venue, maybe that would help facilitate the first hello.
So we did a little experiment in some of our favourite pubs in Hackney - starting with this poster on the back of loo doors.
Remarkably, people responded and it felt like we may have hit a nerve
The first 20 that got in touch were our original ‘Antidaters’.
We created the app advertised as ‘A dating app for people who don’t like dating apps’.
It lists the fun, lively places in Hackney we like, tells you who else likes them and if they are there in real time.
We gave our Antidaters a time and place* to meet and then left them to it.
A cross between a flash mob, a blind date and a normal night down the pub.
Only the Antidaters on the app would know who each other are and there was no pressure to do anything at all. The rest of the pub would be oblivious and the Antidaters presence would remain secret.
No speed dating tables, overeager hosts - no rules or organisation at all really.
We realised that trying to create something that doesn’t feel contrived, forced and basically cringe is hard.
Would they talk? would they fly solo or bring a wingman / wing woman? would they even turn up?