Left, left, left, right. These directions may ring a bell among singles who are actively looking for a potential partner or “match” on the popular dating app Tinder. More or less a yardstick of comparison for most dating apps these days, the American geosocial networking and online dating application has amassed plenty of users around the world. At the same time, Tinder has garnered a reputation as a platform for hook-ups, cringeworthy pick-up lines and even frightening dating experiences.
So where do the honest folks go for love? Enter Singapore’s latest dating app Lovenn, a soon-to-launch, time-saving platform that emphasises meaningful connections for singles.
Founded by Vernice Yap, a former trader and passionate local volunteer, the idea for Lovenn first came about when a few of Yap’s successful, career-driven friends joked about hiring an intern to swipe dating profiles for them. Fuelled by sheer curiosity, Yap then sent out surveys on existing dating apps to complete strangers via LinkedIn. Out of the 300 singles aged 18 to 35 surveyed, three out of four respondents found existing dating apps time-consuming and of low quality, just like her friends.
In Yap’s opinion, the problem lies with the steps of using existing dating apps, which is swipe, match, chat, date, find out deal-breakers, only to go through the whole painful cycle again.
But with Lovenn that’s supported by Enterprise Singapore, startup incubator Pollinate and Alibaba Cloud (SUSS Entrepreneurship Programme), the app (which has its own Kickstarter campaign) won’t be designed to keep you single and within the dating community.
Built on a greater purpose of making a social impact instead of short-term gain, Lovenn will have singles focusing on all the right things—saving time, cost, and further heartbreak.
Our interview with Lovenn’s founder Vernice Yap continues below.
Tell us how Lovenn works.
Lovenn is designed to be the solution to existing dating apps that are ineffective and time-consuming.
First, users begin by setting up their profiles, which includes sharing their dating criteria such as deal-breakers and flaws. Then, Lovenn scans the entire user base to show users their best-fit profiles. These profiles fit what the user is looking for and vice versa. Users who use Lovenn for free will be shown five best-fit profiles daily while paying users will see 10. Besides the profiles, users may be shown a “Liked You” profile on a daily basis. This profile may not have the highest compatibility score but users may opt to like him/her back to start chatting right away.
When matches occur, the conversation begins with what users most like about one another. Thus, instead of resorting to cheesy pickup lines or fretting over what to type after a cordial introduction, users are able to engage in a meaningful conversation right from the start.
How does Lovenn differ from regular dating apps such as Tinder, or even Coffee Meets Bagel?
Lovenn differs from traditional dating apps in a variety of ways. Not only is Lovenn the only platform that emphasises honesty with the sharing of criteria, deal-breakers and flaws right from the get-go, the app also ranks profiles based on mutual compatibility instead of popularity scores. Lovenn is also designed so that the profile you see right away is better than the next one, to save the users’ time. Furthermore, each chat begins with what users like about each other’s profile.
Some consider current dating apps a social media platform. Would you say the same for Lovenn?
I can understand why some would consider current dating apps a social media platform. Traditional dating apps ensure we focus on superficial aspects of dating instead of what is really important in relationships such as friendship, commitment and shared values. As a result, on these apps, users feel obligated to paint an Instagram-ready, rosy picture of themselves on their dating profile, conforming to social norms.
But Lovenn isn’t a social media platform. Lovenn allows users to look beyond photographs and a short description. Users can connect with whoever they are fundamentally compatible with, by matching important criteria.
You have been vocal about how conventional dating apps want to keep you single. How does Lovenn profit if not by similar methods?
As researchers and experts have pointed out, existing dating apps are designed to keep the users single to profit more. However, consumers these days are getting wiser and more savvy. In my opinion, the only sustainable business model going forward is building a product that actually works for its users.
Lovenn does not believe in keeping users single to “trap” them within the dating community. Instead, with each successful couple Lovenn brings together, the app may see 10 of their single friends joining the platform. This is how dating app operations should be done.
Can you advise how people with mental health issues can also use the app?
No one is perfect. Lovenn is designed such that it is compulsory for all users to share your criteria, dealbreakers and flaws before you are shown any profile in your feed. By normalising the sharing of imperfections, Lovenn stimulates conversations on mental health well-being amongst other meaningful topics. As a result, Lovenn helps singles connect over things that truly matter.
For example, Lovenn encourages users to share criteria and flaws honestly, as depicted in the mockups. In this way, as a user, I am able to share things about myself that others may view as deal breakers. That includes my past with depression. I do want to reiterate that the motivation behind sharing your flaws at Step 0 is not about insecurity. It’s about self-love and confidence, and wanting to match with people who can cherish a human being who comes with flaws.
This is also a good instance of the time-saving aspect of Lovenn.
In-app credits have been mentioned. What are they?
Operating on a freemium model, Lovenn is free to use. With the basic tier, you can see five best-fit profiles daily and set two deal breakers on your criteria checklist. But the more impatient and pickier users may want to opt to pay for the premium tier to see more profiles daily and also set more dealbreakers. The price for the premium tier ranges from $19-$39/month depending on the subscription duration.
What do you want your users to take away from this app?
A partner, hopefully!
More information about Lovenn available here.