This startup thinks it's fixed the major flaw in dating apps like Tinder - and Apple just featured it as a 'best new app'
But that's a problem, according to Keisuke Kamijo, the CEO of Tokyo-based Mrk & Co., whose company recently launched a new dating app in the US and Canada called "Dine." The goal of Dine is to get you from a match to that first dinner or drinks date as quickly as possible.
Being consistently charming in a text conversation, especially with a complete stranger, is not necessarily a perfect indicator of whether you'll be compatible, so Dine tries to get you to that first restaurant as quickly as possible.
Mrk & Co. was founded by veterans of Japanese gaming giant DeNA, who Nintendo partnered with to bring its games to smartphones for the first time last year. But Dine strips most of the game-like elements out of its dating app, relying instead on a smooth path toward an actual date. Apple was impressed enough with the concept to feature it on its list of "best new apps."
Here's how Dine works.
After filling out a profile, you pick three restaurants or bars (there's Yelp integration) where you'd want to go on a date. Dine then shows you 2-5 people per day, and which places they chose, and you can request to go on a date there.
Once you send someone a date request, and they accept, a chat box opens so you can get some sense of whether you have any chemistry. But the act of having the restaurant or bar right there at the start makes it feel much less nebulous than chatting on Tinder.
Kamijo gives a rough estimate that about half of accepted requests lead to actual dates within two weeks, based on data from the beta testing Dine did in Vancouver. Now Dine has launched to all of the US and Canada (though you'll have better luck where there is higher population density).
I tried Dine in New York City. Here's what it was like:
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