A new app founded by a Westchester entrepreneur is looking to reinvent how we date online, and at just the right time, too. It’s called Filter Off, and we’ll get into the details shortly. But first, a quick questionnaire regarding your past experiences on Tinder, Hinge, Bumble, or other dating apps.
How many times have you been left waiting for a reply after saying, “Hey, how are you?”
How many times did you make it to the first date with high hopes, only to realize the person wasn’t what they seemed online?
During quarantine, how often did you wish you could have a real conversation instead of texting back and forth?
If your answer to any of these is “way too many times,” then Zach Schleien’s new app is worth giving a shot.
What’s so different about Filter Off? Well, the platform is based around the concept of “video first.” Users fill out their likes and preferences, then when they are matched with another user, are scheduled for a 90-second video chat. Then, each user can “thumbs up” or “thumbs down” the date. If both users like each other, they are entered into a match where they can text, video message, or host further video calls. All video calls are encrypted for security purposes.
“It really comes down to promoting authentic romantic connection, where [with other apps] it’s a lot of searching, browsing, swiping,” explains Schleien. “It’s a long process and we’re eliminating all that.”
Additionally, Filter Off hosts virtual speed date events, based on location, age preference, and gender interests. They offer speed date events by industry, too. For example, brands can sponsor interest-based events like a health speed dating event or a tennis interest event.
“We also have an upcoming event based in Brooklyn for [the concert venue] Littlefield NYC. It’s a way for their fans who are single to meet each other,” says Schleien. “They charge a fee on Eventbrite and give them an event code, so we get a percentage off these private events.”
The model is undoubtedly paying off. Schleien, a Larchmont native currently living in New Rochelle, sees the app being used on a global scale with top 3 user percentages being 40% in the United States, 30% in the UK, and 5% in India, with under $4,000 spent on marketing. According to Schleien, 75% of their users participate in more date night events after just one experience.
The app’s format comes at a welcome time, too. During the recent coronavirus-related shutdowns, Filter Off has seen 25-fold increase, speaking to a universal desire to make new connections despite not being able to meet in person.
“People have been extremely lonely and really have been turning to Filter Off to find that authentic connection. It’s super cool to see us being able to help people connect romantically,” explains Schleien.
With sights set on the future, Schleien has the company pursuing both funding and expanded offerings. They’re currently working with venture capitalists on a Seed Series A to raise a $750,000 convertible note for marketing and personnel.
“We’ve had a few conversations that are looking promising so we’re really excited to really accelerate this,” says Schleien.
In the coming weeks, Schleien says Filter Off will be introducing Matchmaker, an as-of-yet unannounced paid tier for the app that offers a hyper-curated selection of dates at an increased frequency than the current free version allows.