While it might seem like the ultimate kind of social networking experience, most social media managers will concede that matchmaking technology has proven a little cheesy: swiping right to show an interest in a person just seems a bit like selecting a brand of beans or pretzels. But Y Combinator newbie The Dating Ring is seeking to shake that all up with technology that matches soulmate-seekers together in groups of six. No more awkward silences or flatlining conversations.
Last month, the New York-based startup took its service to San Francisco, too, suggesting that its group approach has proven popular with users. Intrigued social media managers may be wondering how it works.
Users begin with a $25 consultation with one of the startup’s matchmakers, whereupon they’re set up with a series of dates involving five other singles (currently it’s a 50:50 mix of men and women). The dates, ($20 a time) take place in relaxing and informal settings like restaurants or bars; the idea is that people in small groups feel freer to interact with one another and get to know each other. And the chances of two out of the six actually hitting it off are multiplied by the group context.
Following the dates, users send The Dating Ring feedback about the other people they’ve met, including whether there was someone there who caused their hearts to flutter.
The composition of the groups is the outcome of a clever fusion of human matchmaker input and algorithms that process it to come up with matches (the data improves with the ongoing feedback of the users).
And the startup isn’t content to sit still: it’s just announced a Crowdtilt campaign to raise between $10,000 and $50,000 to fly women from New York to San Francisco. Curious social media managers asking “Why?” will get the answer on the dating Ring’s campaign page. It reads:
“There are tons more single women in NYC, and tons more single men in SF. And, see, the two cities are only separated by a bunch of crappy airports, flight delays, and cheap roundtrip flights.
“So, we started joking about doing some cross country matchmaking. And you know what they say – make a joke 12 times and it becomes a Crowdtilt. So, America, let’s make this happen.”