5 Dating Apps That Need to be Invented Right Now

Maxwell Anderson
Aug 15, 2015 · 7 min read

It’s almost hard to imagine now, but I remember when people didn’t date online. It caught on while I was in college, and it grew fast but everyone was still sort of embarrassed about it. Now, of course, all that has changed. A stunning one-third of new marriages today initially began online. Once dating went online, it was only a matter of time until it went mobile. Today more than 50 million people use a single mobile dating app, Tinder.

Everyone, it seems, who is looking for love is looking online. But it’s taking longer and longer to find the right person —the median age for a first marriage is now 29 for men (it was 23 in 1960). Maybe they haven’t been looking for love in all the right places?

I thought I’d lend friends a hand who are looking for love and not finding it using their current dating apps. Here’s my list of 5 Dating Apps that need to be invented now.

1. Nearer, or “TindSquare”

MY BLUE HEAVEN, Leslie Cook, Rick Moranis, Steve Martin, Melissa Hurley, 1990. (c)Warner Bros.

Like Tinder, users who download the Nearer app look at profiles and swipe yes or no. The difference is they don’t get profiles from everyone in their city. Instead, they only see other people who are in the same exact location as them. It’s like a mashup of Tinder and the old Foursquare. Imagine you show up at a bar or a sporting event and “check-in” with the app. You are served profiles only of other users in the same exact location (let’s call it a one-block radius) or in the same check-in locale. If you both like each other, you can go say hi and strike up a conversation immediately, without all the back-and-forth of texting and setting up a coffee.

With Nearer, suddenly people aren’t creepily lurking Tinder and “shopping” for dates from their apartments. Now they have a reason to get out in the world and serendipitously meet people face to face. Even the frozen food section of the supermarket could become a place to fall in love. You’d see more scenes like My Blue Heaven, where Steve Martin, playing a former mobster in a witness protection program, delivers my favorite pick-up line from any movie:

2. Jury Date — on the record dating

Credit for this one goes to my friend Bethany. She was recently on jury duty and found herself sitting in the same room for two straight days with dozens of strangers. She began wondering who among them might be single. Wouldn’t it be great to have an app tell you? Then they went in for voir dire, when the lawyers for the case select the jury. That’s when things get interesting because everyone swears to tell the truth and is questioned by an attorney to find out if they could be impartial jurors.

Image from The Family Guy

Well, wouldn’t it be interesting if you had an app where the lawyers allowed the single jurors to each type one into the app one question for one other single juror? Then the lawyers would ask the juror that question to be answered under oath? How did your last relationship end? Are you looking to get married or just for something cheap? Finally some straight answers, and you know they are true because they are under oath.

Most of the problems in relationships are caused by lack of trust and poor communication. Get those problems solved ahead of time with your next Jury Date!

3.Third Wheel — An A.I. Cyrano

Another way to overcome communications problems in a relationship might be to have a coach help in real time. People go to couples therapy to have an objective third party do just that. The therapist learns who they are, listens to them talk to each other and helps them improve their relationship by suggesting different ways of expressing their feelings that are more in line with relational best practices.

Third Wheel is an app to help coach you in real-time to communicate better with the one you love. Once you turn it on, it runs in the background and records all your conversations with your significant other. It records every interaction, uses natural language processing to understand it, and analyzes the tone of voice, speed and volume of speech, intervals between laughter and other measures to assess your relationship. It’s artificial intelligence will determine if one of you is being too sarcastic, or evasive, or short-tempered, etc., and will coach both you and your loved one on how you could improve the way you are talking together.

Say goodbye to arguments spiraling out of control, Third Wheel will be there to whisper in your ear the words you need to hear to calm down, be rational, put yourself in the shoes of your beloved, and get along again.

In the classic story of Cyrano Debergerac, a man gifted with words but disfigured by an oversized nose romances the beautiful Roxanne by whispering the right words to a better looking man to deliver on his behalf. Third Wheel is like having a Cyrano Debergerac in your pocket, minus the schnoz.

4. ArrangeMe:

Some people would like to date but think it’s just too much trouble and don’t want to choose for themselves. There are other people who think they know what other people should do with their lives but don’t know any single people they can control. How can we solve the problems of both these kinds of people? Enter ArrangeMe.

ArrangeMe matches singles who don’t want to date with yentas, amateur matchmakers, and bossy/noisy older cousins. The matchmaker then sets up the singles together using her proprietary over-confidence and the two singles inevitably get married.

Aziz Ansari argues that arranged marriages have just as high or higher likelihood of success as those where people pick their own spouse. ArrangeMe will give people a chance to see if that’s right.

I read about one guy who has offered to pay $10,000 to anyone who introduces him to a girlfriend he keeps for 6 months. That’s the target customer right there. Get a enough guys like that (I’m not sure there’s more than one) and you’ve got a real business!

5. NoPeek

Image credit: Disney’s Frozen

Every dating app makes you fill out all kinds of biographical info about yourself and all the qualities you are looking for in someone to date. But most of that is bogus say the CEOs of Match.com and OKCupid. The founder of OKCupid did a study and found that no one pays attention to any of the biographical info — they just look at the photos.

What?! It’s not shocking, but it is disappointing. That ruins the whole intellectual appeal of online dating. Wasn’t the lesson, don’t judge a book by its cover or a potential spouse by their cover photo?

Bigger picture, isn’t the premise of the Big Data revolution that as we have massive amounts of data and analytics computers will help us unlock the mysteries of the world and about ourselves? With hardcore data science and machine learning, we are supposed to make better decisions and lead happier lives if we trust the data instead of our own fallible judgment.

Well let’s give that a try. NoPeek is a dating app where you enter all the data about yourself except your name and your picture. The algorithm will connect you to the best match for you, and you will then be introduced and able to message each other through the app, both in text and in voice over IP. As soon as you are ready, you meet in person.

Then if you meet and it turns out that the person isn’t as attractive in person when you see them, the app will give you a haptic buzz (works best with the iWatch) to remind you not to trust your eyes but instead trust the data. No matter if this person is horribly unattractive, if the machine says that this is the person that will make you happiest, then you need to suspend judgment. Forget love at first sight, this is love at first algorithm. Your job is to let go and let love. You’ll be happier and whoever ends up building this app will have a billion dollars.

Go forth ye entrepreneurs and build ye these dating apps! I’d just like a royalty of $1 per happy relationship made. In the meantime, if you just liked this piece, drop me a heart below.

Maxwell Anderson runs Stagecoach Ventures and publishes The Weekend Reader, a weekly newsletter highlighting the best articles on the biggest ideas and trends in culture.

Maxwell Anderson

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I publish The Weekend Reader. Subscribe at www.maxwella.com I’m also a founding partner of www.saturnfive.com.