This NYC Startup Has Re-invented And Revived The Blind Date
After debuting as a web app in 2011, blind dating service "Grouper" has been making noise in mobile app stores, so much so that it'd been named as one of the top 10 New York City start-ups to watch in 2013 by Time Magazine.
And while the Big Apple-based company has plenty of competition capable of clogging the roads to success in the dating service field, CEO Michael Waxman believe that it's his company's uniqueness that serves as a strength in Grouper's bout to become the premier app for love-hungry bachelors and bachelorettes.
"We like to focus on our strengths, what we think to do best, which is the hardest part and that's actually getting people to get there," Waxman told Tech Crunch at a Time party announcing the list. "So, traditional online dating sites and social networks like Facebook I think allow you to look at photos and exchange messages but ultimately it's about meeting up and having a good time in the real world, so that's where we're really differentiated in what we think is our strength."
The concept behind Grouper is fairly simple. You, the man or woman in search of a good time out, sign up. The app then matches you with someone based on your Facebook information. You grab two of your friends, "they" grab two of theirs and voila you have a 3-on-3 group date, or grouper. All you and your friends have to do is pay a $20 fee for each person, which includes a first round of drinks (it's meant to ensure your attendance), and meet at one of the many designated bars around the city that Grouper works with.
And while the CEO remains coy when it comes to revealing the numbers on his balance sheet, he more than welcomes an opportunity to speak about the growth his 15-person powered company has experienced.
"We’re pretty tight-lipped, but the stats that we are public about are, as of this week we’re in 20 cities in the U.S.," Waxman told the Wall Street Journal. "Cumulative drinks shared to date are now in the multiple hundreds of thousands. It’s getting to be pretty substantial. For us, we’ve grown tremendously over the last six to nine months, and we’ve been deliberately trying to establish ourselves before talking about how much money we’re making or how many users we have. Both are starting to be pretty meaningful."
Profits and revenues can lay on the wayside for now. What is much more important and fascinating is the fact that with Grouper, Waxman, who according to Huffington Post coincidentally found the love of his life while testing out his own app, seems be doing the impossible: resurrecting the phenomenon of the blind date, this time without all the creepiness and cringe worthy thoughts of meeting up with the wrong-person.
"A lot of women have soured to the same old sketchy guys walking up to them at bars or messaging them on websites," he said last year to Huffington Post. "Grouper offers a filtered social club through which women can meet people in the safety of their two friends and his two friends."
At the very least, the structure of Grouper's service provides users an opportunity to have fun night out, without the pressures of having to make their meet-ups an epic success, knowing that, at worst, their night can turn into a time out with the guys, or gals. And that is, ultimately, one of Waxman's premier goals.
"Something I’ve been saying from day one: we’re not just about dating,” Waxman told WSJ. “We’re about getting each other offline.”
Photo via Tech Crunch