Get to know a Toronto startup: YouShouldTotallyMeet
Given all the revolutionary applications of the web over the last decade or so, it's somewhat surprising that online dating is still playing catch up. With sites based on bizarre matchmaking algorithms or trolling through pictures to find physical attraction, the industry seems ready for a makeover.
Hoping to bring a fresh perspective to online dating, a team of four from Toronto launched YouShouldTotallyMeet. In an attempt to take online dating into a new direction, YouShouldTotallyMeet is hoping to transition real-world matchmaking into the realm of social media through Facebook.
If you are single, YouShouldTotallyMeet encourages your friends to vouch for you and make introductions into their social circle. Kind of like six-degrees-of-online-dating. With an estimate of over 30 million singles on Facebook in North America, the team at YouShouldTotallyMeet is convinced that their idea will increase your chances of finding love.
Where did the idea for YouShouldTotallyMeet come from?
Well, two of our founders are happily married and the other two are single. But we've all gone through the tribulations of dating in Toronto. Ironically, in a big city with so many people, it's not easy finding someone you're compatible with. We realized the best way to meet quality, non-crazy people is through the friends we know. After all, if they can vouch for a potential suitor, similar to how LinkedIn recommendations work for a potential employee, they're no longer a stranger you're meeting for a first date. Instead, they're simply a friend of a trusted friend.
Also, through our own experiences with online dating, we know that generating your own profile is one of the biggest barriers in getting yourself online; so we thought, why not have your friends create an honest and meaningful profile for you.
The big differences are that 1) we rely on your Facebook friends and 2) we don't claim to match people with fussy algorithms or compatibility formulas. All we're doing is making it easy for your friends to set you up at the click of a mouse. We think it's bringing a human touch back into online dating. Dating sites are great and all, but they take a lot of effort. You have to spend time searching through hundreds of potential dates, not to mention the initial time invested making your profile as attractive and witty as possible. And let's be honest, a lot of people embellish their profile. What makes our approach special is that the dates that come to you are already vetted through your friends.
Basically our hope is that this app makes you kiss fewer frogs to get you to your prince or princess.
How do I set up an account? Is it easy to start meeting people?
It's super easy. And it's free! Just go to facebook.com/youshouldtotallymeet and install the app. Like any Facebook app it'll ask for basic permissions to your profile. But it's all secure and above board. Then, you choose whether you want to be a wingman for someone, or whether you're the one who wants to be set up. If you're the one who wants to be set up, you pick out a few wingmen and have them say nice things about you. Then it's in their hands to help introduce you to people in their network. Ask them to think of who'd be a good match for you and go from there. How many people you meet ultimately depends on how many wingmen you have, and how connected they are. The more the merrier.
If wingmen are required to set up accounts, don't people get concerned about who knows their business?
We don't see it that way. We recognize there's still this stigma attached to online dating, like it's somehow a less valid way of meeting people. But it's not. It's also not true that finding a relationship has to be done on your own. Your friends are there to help you. They're a fantastic resource, and they want to see you happy.
If people are concerned over privacy, they should know the only notification your Facebook friends will see is when you install the app (it just says "So-and-so just joined YouShouldTotallyMeet") or when your wingman shares a quality they wrote about you as a wall post. They're helping you out by saying 'hey, I know someone great that you all should meet and here's why.'
Are there other options similar to YouShouldTotallyMeet?
We've come across a couple apps and sites that are kind of similar, but don't have the simplicity we're so proud of. There's LikeBright who we think is great. But again, it's an app that tries to predict and serve up who will be a good match for you. We're boiling everything down to plain-and-simple human connections. We're asking your friends to simply go through their rolodex of friends and think of who'd be a good match for you. That's all.
What's your perspective on the future of Online Dating?
The fundamental structure of online dating hasn't really changed a whole lot. It's still a very independent (some might say lonely) system where you do all the work by yourself. We think there's opportunity to change that. It doesn't have to be something that single people need to be secretive about. Because we're making a conscious move away from anything that's programmed or automated, we hope to bring a sense of humanity to online dating.
I think that's what was missing for a long time. No one should feel embarrassed for wanting a relationship. The more people who know you're on the lookout for someone special, the better your chances of finding that person.