Speed dating is going virtual as Toronto remains in lockdown
As lockdown measures continue in Toronto, people are turning to new types of dating apps that aren't just swipe left, swipe right.
The app, which has already become popular in cities like New York, London and LA, is starting to break into the Canadian market thanks to it's unique take on dating.
Filter Off, which has only been around for a few months in Canada, pairs you with a prospective match based on age, gender and interests in a 90-second live video chat. After "the date", if you both give a thumbs up, you match and can continue to video chat or message within the app.
"We're literally changing the way people date," said co-founder and CEO of Filter Off, Zach Schleien, explaining that this way of dating emphasizes personality over looks as well as saves users from wasting time with someone they have no chemistry with or getting catfished.
"People are realizing how valuable video chat is," he added.
While other dating apps like Bumble, Hinge and Tinder have also added video chat features since the panedmic, Schleien explains that "it's still in the old paradigm," in that the video call only comes after you match with the person.
And this new way of dating has been a big hit — especially during the pandemic.
"We really took off," said Schleien. For example, in cities like New York, the app hosts went from hosting one event a week to three a week.
"People are much more comfortable now video chatting than before.
They're feeling disconnected and video chat is not that bad of an option," he added.
And despite only being available in Toronto for six months, Schleien told blogTO that there's over 100 attendees at each of Filter Off's virtual speed dating sessions.
The City of Toronto one is hosted every Friday, but there are others that are more niche community or interest group-based that happen as well, such as the Subtle Asian Dating group.
Schleien explains that anyone can run a virtual speed dating event through the app.
"If you run a community or have a passion for something you can run your own event at no cost," he said.
And as lockdown measures continue, these types of dating events and apps will likely only amass more users. However, it will be interesting to see when the pandemic is over if virtual speed dating sticks or if everyone will go back to their old ways.
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