The rapid proliferation of online dating sites -- there are thousands of them in the US alone -- speaks to how far the most recent technological revolution has reached, seeping into practically every corner of our lives, including one of our most personal: how we find and connect with romantic partners.
Traditional, pre-digital dating involved meeting potential love interests through mutual channels such as shared schools, friends, or extracurricular activities, followed by IRL introductions and conversations over dinner or drinks. Fast-forward to today, in our world of instant messaging, social media, and wide-ranging networks of Facebook“friends,” it should come as no surprise that our dating lives are coming less under the jurisdiction of mutual territory than complex, compatibility-predicting algorithms that are being developed by several of the major dating websites. Now, 1 in 5 relationships begin online, and it’s the 2nd most common way to meet someone.
For years, the online dating industry hinged on the premise that if people answered enough profile questions and spent enough time vetting the virtual, they’d eventually find their soul-mates. However, the effectiveness of algorithmic matching on online dating sites has recently come under fire. In February, a team of relationship scientists published a study in the Psychological Science in the Public Interest, which found that there is no compelling evidence that suggests algorithms can accurately predict romantic compatibility.
Enter HowAboutWe.com, an ffvc portfolio company that has turned online matchmaking upside-down by focusing on date ideas to get people offline and enjoying great experiences together, in the real world. Mashable profiled the company’s business model and listed a few of the (quirkier) date ideas:
“How about we…bike along the lakefront and have a progressive picnic at each beach, starting way north.” (Chicago)
“How about we…buy bingo scratchers at random liquor stores. If we win, we move on to the next?” (Boston)
“How about we…throw Twinkies at Marie Antoinette on Bastille Day at the Eastern State Pen?” (Philly)
Instead of trying to quantify and predict an elusive phenomenon – the process of falling in love – HowAboutWe helps users to move offline and on fun dates to discover chemistry for themselves. With approximatley 1,000,000 dates posted on HowAboutWe.com and thousands of couples with fun “how we met stories” of amazing first dates, it seems like HowAboutWe’s “go online to get offline” ethos has made for many successful matches.
But HowAboutWe wants to do more than just help couples have great first dates: it’s their mission to help people in all stages of their relationships experience true romance. And it’s with that goal that they recently launched a unique new service, Howaboutwe for Couples.
HowAboutWe for Couples, which has been profiled by the New York Times, Mashable and TechCrunch, is a membership service designed specifically for couples that extends the HowAboutWe dating ethos by making it easy for people in relationships to enjoy one-of-a-kind experiences, built for two.
Each month, members receive a new DateBook -- a curated catalogue of HowAboutWe date experiences -- all hand-picked for their quality and originality. Certain dates are free with membership, and members can purchase additional dates at up to 75% off. Non-members can purchase the dates, too, but will pay full price.
Dates on offer range from special menus at five-star restaurants to private lessons from top chefs to off-the-beaten-path getaways; they’re designed to be intimate, fun and unforgettable. Membership also comes with other perks, like members-only experiences, access to sold-out tickets, Couple Rewards — engaging discounts on things that benefit a couple’s relationship, from car services to flower deliver to massages to dinner parties — and early booking on new dates.
HowAboutWe, by focusing on shared experiences, has discovered a refreshingly simple — and effective — way to help people find and sustain their relationships.
Contrbuted by Joan Xie, Summer Former Associate at ff Venture Capital.