If we’ve said it once, we’ve said it one thousand times. Online dating has grown into big business, but it’s still pretty creepy. There are a lot of startups out there trying to do it better, trying to innovate and iterate, but given the very nature of the beast, it’s a tough obstacle to tackle. Meexo, a startup launching this afternoon at TechCrunch Disrupt is trying to offer a new spin on the dating model by becoming a truly mobile dating site.
So what’s it like interacting with this mobile-centric dating app? Meexo is like Pandora for dating, as you interact with the application, it learns about you, and becomes more relevant as you go. If you use Foursquare and Facebook, Meexo pulls in that data to learn more about who you are and what you like.
Yet, as many dating site veterans know, dating platforms can be creepy — and sometimes even dangerous, so Meexo wants to help you manage your privacy. It does this by allowing users to send text messages using the app without actually revealing your phone number. Right, because there’s nothing less creepy than a “private number”. Meexo does also help the creep factor by only allowing one profile per smartphone, so you can’t go crazy creating those fake, stalker profiles.
A great feature, though, considering the alternative, is that Meexo enables users to block direct connections on social networks, so that none of your friends can see your Meexo profile. The founders said that, in doing their due diligence, they found that many people refuse to join dating sites for fear of exposing dating profiles to people they already know. Thus, Meexo’s solution for this is the reverse social graph, which means that none of your direct connections on social networks can see your Meexo profile. You know you’re in a safe environment, transforming Meexo into an app that truly connects you with people you actually don’t know, not more people you do.
What’s more, users have access to calendars, to which they can add events and plan dates; if you’re running late for a meetup, for example, you can message right from the app. Meexo is also looking to become your personal concierge (or assistant), remembering that both you and your girlfriend love sushi, and her birthday happens to be coming up, so the app will alert you and help you set up a date at a great sushi restaurant. (A partnerships with OpenTable, for instance, would be a huge leg up here.)
Lastly, Meexo is distinguishing itself from the pack by game-ifying dating. When a user joins Meexo, they receive virtual currency, which users pay out when they message other people, forcing daters to be more discerning in their selections. Obviously, in this way, Meexo is attempting to avoid the spamming that has become so endemic to dating sites.
Meexo will be available on the app store soon, and the earlier you sign up, the more virtual currency you get, so check it out.
The future of the online industry is mobile, but as it stands, most mobile dating feels like an extension of desktop websites plus location. As this is the case, Meexo is offering a bunch of cool features to set itself apart, though game-ifying dating does seem like it has the potential to be a bit creepy. Will be interesting to see how the startup moves forward from here.