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Wednesday, Jul 24, 2024

YES Aims To Redefine Online Dating

APPS: Alternative to ‘Hook-up Apps’ Provides Safer Experience

SAN DIEGO – Meeting people for the first time through a dating app can be exciting and fun, but the one-on-one experience also can be awkward and a little scary for many people, especially women.

In a new twist on dating, the app developed by San Diego-based YES arranges dates based on public events, and the meetups can be singles, double dates or groups to make things more comfortable. The dating app market is currently dominated by apps such as Tinder, Bumble and Grindr, which are more geared toward singles looking for hook-ups, rather than relationships or a way to grow one’s social circle.

Jordan McMurtry

“The full premise of the app is definitely to get out there and make in-person connections and real-life experiences,” said Jordan McMurtry, co-creator the YES app. “It’s definitely an innovative approach to dating.”

YES is aiming its new approach into the online dating services market, estimated by Brainy Insights to reach $10.8 billion by 2032.

The company was founded in 2020, and the app became available for use in December after a small friends-and-family fundraiser. So far about 4,000 people have used the free version, CEO Jonathan Friedlander said.

“It was a pretty complicated app relative to other dating apps out there,” Friedlander said about its development. “They’re essentially pretty simple apps. You have three profile pictures of people. You end up swiping right on them, and if there’s a mutual connection, you end up in a chat.”

McMurtry said too many online encounters never get beyond the chatroom stage.

Jonathan Friedlander

“A lot of people use them for social aspects or to have more Instagram followers or have endless chats,” she said. “We definitely have developed this to get people off the app and to meet in person, whether that’s meeting new friends or a one-on-one date or a double date.”

Places to meet are arranged through the app, and users can participate in an event arranged by the site or create their own date and invite others to come along.

No More Swipes

Friedlander noted that a popular dating app has people scrolling through endless profile photos and swiping right on ones of interest. Someone may end up swiping right on 75 different profiles, entering in chats with several of them and losing track of who they are chatting with, he said, adding that such multiple chats do not happen on YES.

“The goal on those dating apps is to strike up a conversation, eventually get the other person’s phone number, and at that point you’re taking a connection offline,” he said.

“Unlike other apps we actually know where they’re going. We know what they’re doing, which provides a lot of exciting opportunities.”

Ric Militi
CEO & Executive Creative Director
InnoVision Marketing Group

Ric Militi, CEO and executive creative director of InnoVision Marketing Group said he was approached by one of the app’s co-founders in 2019 to help develop the concept.

“They just had the idea of a dating app and a real-life experience, and they asked us to develop everything,” he said. “The name, the logo, the tag line, the strategy, the position, social media layouts. And we set them off on their course.”

Militi said the app stood out from others because it was relationship-oriented and had a high level of safety for users.

“We were quite adamant when they came to us that we didn’t want any part of a hook-up app,” he said. “We have a tremendous level of brand ourselves at this company, and our integrity level is incredibly high.”

Giselle Campos, senior president and senior creative director at Innovision Marketing Group, helped develop the app.

Giselle Campos
SVP& Senior Creative Director
InnoVision Marketing Group

“Our team is very female-heavy, and we really wanted to make sure we were going to create something that was going to be comfortable for all women, because going in and dating as a woman can be a little scary, especially with these apps and meeting somebody online.”

Benefits for Users

Users can create a date such as hiking in Torrey Pines and ask other people to join, or they can choose from several dates the app has set up with incentives.

“I believe we are the only app that offers in-app benefits,” McMurty said. “We partner with a lot of restaurants, clubs and bars downtown to provide our users with an incentive to drive traffic there and create a date based on that benefit.”

Users can get 15% off their bill at participating restaurants, a free cocktail or shot at participating bars, discounts for yoga sessions and tournament sessions with Volo Sports, which organizes games such as volleyball, kickball, pickleball and soccer.

McMurtry said the app offers 25 benefits, and seven more will be announced soon.

Participating restaurants are in Little Italy, the Gaslamp District and Seaport Village, and she said they are in discussions to add others in North Park and Pacific Beach.

Other benefits have included free tickets to the Wonderfront festival, and the app is organizing a yacht party with a chance for 12 people to win free tickets.

Friedlander said the app at some point will be a subscription with different tiers, and he expects the cost range will be between $15 and $20 a week, which is much less than some dating apps. When the time is right, he said the app will expand to Los Angeles, with an ultimate plan of going nationwide.

CEO: Jonathan Friedlander
BUSINESS: Dating App
WEBSITE: https://howitbegins.com
CONTACT: https://howitbegins.com/reach-out/
SOCIAL IMPACT: The app is designed to connect people through shared public events, creating a safer environment than many traditional online dating services.
NOTABLE: About 4,000 people are using the app.


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