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Looking for a date? Find your soulmate in a group courtesy of New York startup The Dating Ring

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.

Group poten­tial

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).

Cross-coun­try love

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.”

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