“Emily and I were out one valentine’s evening with a group of single friends, and we were all discussing the online dating scenario, and what a shame it is when you meet a nice person but there’s not a romantic spark. It would be nice to be able to say to that person – let’s go for a walk or meet for lunch, but because there’s a romantic implication with it being on a dating site, it’s likely that the other person won’t be interested in that, and then it’s not going to go any further.
We felt like there was a real space available to create a platform that would take away the pressure to date, and just have companionship, very much on a one-off basis with no real pressure to take it any further than that. There’s no need to even follow up because the messaging service we have on the website, comes to an end a while after the start time of the outing. Therefore, there’s not going to be any comeback unless you want to reconnect with that person and exchange numbers.
There really is a gap in the market for this. There are online meet-up groups, but even dating sites have started to realise there is a need for more friendship-based situations. However, the way they are doing it is in the same dating format; you’re still scrolling through faces and getting very little information on the person, and possibly no interests in common. We felt we had a real opportunity here to turn that approach on its head.
We start the process with what somebody is interested in, then people can post their outing, event, or activity on our online outings board and then people can apply. They don’t even have to reveal their profiles until they are really interested in something on the board, or, if they want post something themselves.
It’s not gender specific so you could be a guy wanting to meet another guy, down the pub for a drink after a day’s work – and that could be a day’s work at home. Obviously working from home has increased so the office social life has been dramatically reduced. It could be going for a bike ride with someone or having someone to motivate you for exercise.
There is also the opportunity to meet up first, for a coffee and a chat and to get to know them if needed. Some people are nervous, and the pandemic has potentially made that worse. But it is important to point out that what we do is not just for lonely people, it’s for anyone that would like a companion for a shared interest.
The age range of the people that have signed up on our website is 18 to 81 which just shows how wide our demographic is. We have lots of lovely women signed up, but we need more men to sign up! There’s a potential stigma attached for men admitting that they’re lonely, sometimes they just want to enjoy the camaraderie of meeting someone down the pub with no pressure, or intensity, or doing an activity alongside someone, and that is something we are offering with the use of our website.
Now it’s free to sign up, that’s simply because we are trying to grow our database, and we’re aware that people are in difficult financial situations because of the pandemic, as well as there being a lot of lonely people out there. We want to encourage a lot of people to jump on board now to use the site, and then, we will, at a certain point introduce a four-tiered subscription, offering student and OAP discounts. That will be when the time is right, and we have enough people to give a good user-experience.”
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Instead of scrolling endlessly through profiles as you have to do with on-line dating, you could scroll through fun outings, or create your own, and then choose a like-minded companion to fit. They appreciated that the need for companionship went beyond the dating scenario and could benefit anyone just looking for company.