Joseph Phua is one of the founders of mobile dating app Paktor (, which allows you to scan profile images of nearby users, and to “like” their images anonymously, until someone you “like”, “likes” you back. (A bit like the better known Tinder.)

How did you come up with the idea for Paktor?
I was spurred to create Paktor while living in the US. After suffering the heartbreak that accompanied ending a long-term relationship, I realized how hard it is to meet people and date. Dating websites certainly helped, but they were far from perfect, particularly for an Asian. If I was struggling to find a date in the US, surely those facing similar problems in Asia—where fear of rejection is much worse than it is in the US—must be going through an unbearably difficult time.

What is your target age group and why?
Paktor’s target age group spans people from 18 to 30. Singapore’s long working hours have become a hindrance to an active social life, making it difficult for them to find a suitable partner.

What’s special about the Asian market?
A reserved, simplified approach to dating is preferred by Asia’s socially conservative and introverted society.

Before Paktor, did you try any other dating services?
Yes, I’ve tried many during my time in the US: Some good, some bad. Online ones tended to be better. Part of the reason we launched Paktor was because of the lack of similar products and services in Asia. We took some things we liked in the West, then adapted them for the Asian market.

Any tips for people using the app?
Don’t be afraid to like somebody’s photo. We keep it all anonymous.