On August 17, a new dating app launched in San Francisco, CA. It's called BELONG, and it's the first smart dating app to use artificial intelligence and machine learning to curate personalized matches and social experiences exclusively for accomplished singles, according to Bahareh Mohammadi, CEO and Founder of BELONG. So, instead of endless messaging back and forth with matches, the apps says you can "go from match to meet in real life, fast." In fact, the app promotes having limited communication in advance of meeting. I don't know about you, but I think this sounds exciting, as one big overall flaw of online and app dating is the matches that either ghost, become pen-pals, or some variation in between. So, with BELONG, they hope to revolutionize the dating app space by matching you with quality matches and curated events based on shared interests and lifestyles.
"My vision was to create a solution for single professionals like myself," Mohammadi tells Bustle. "We have so little time to waste on online dating sites and apps that are so frivolous — I wanted to make something effective, and something that understood these unique challenges and mitigated them. The idea was to utilize these incredible technologies that are emerging in the tech space, i.e., artificial intelligence and machine learning capabilities, and use them to solve problems with dating, i.e., futile swiping, 'ghosting,' too much focus online, etc., in a fresh way. The result was BELONG."
A recent survey of 1,000 online daters in July, commissioned by BELONG, found that over half of respondents, 53.8 percent, are frustrated with "flaky users that aren't serious" about meeting in real life or creating meaningful relationships. (I'm sure I'm not the only one who can relate to this!) The survey also indicated that 41.5 percent of online daters are frustrated by an "overload of unfit choices." Again, is it just me?! ;) So, BELONG hopes to change the current dating app landscape as you and I know it.
No More Fake Profiles
In case you're curious as to how BELONG weeds out potentially questionable match choices, the app requires a two-step authentication — both Facebook and LinkedIn — to eliminate fake profiles. This is also "to ensure a robust community of sophisticated and accomplished single professionals," says Mohammadi.
How The App Works
BELONG was developed by former Google and Oracle product leads, and the technologies it uses are not found in other dating platforms, says Mohammadi. As she mentioned above, the platform's technology uses artificial intelligence to analyze each user's demographic and behavioral data — with their permission, of course. It does this through photos, profiles, interactions, and events. So, it sounds like you'll have your very own personal matchmaker. Even as users find a match, the app keeps studying the user, so to speak. The app learns all about your tastes and, as a result, will recommend specific date plans and guide users through the process of setting them up, from the time and location of the date to the activity. Afterwards, users can rate their date experience — yes, please! — and give the app feedback.
"BELONG will change app dating with a two-pronged approach that makes us unique," says Mohammadi. "It is precisely the combination of using AI technology to personalize matches and a focus on getting users to meet in real life as quickly as possible. Other apps have tried to accomplish their goals through either of these means by themselves, and failed. These ideas have never been combined, and that is our main value proposition. BELONG's AI tech looks at myriad user inputs to curate the most personalized matches possible — data like clicks, 'likes,' ratings, and even photo composition and writing style are analyzed for the user's benefit."
And, There Are Also Social Events
Aside from going on one-on-one dates, BELONG will also organize a large variety of social events. Yep, you'll have yet another way to meet fellow matches IRL. That is key, right?! Its artificial intelligence will come into play more by the app tailoring event recommendations to each user's tastes. "Our other core differentiator is our inclusion of social events specifically curated based on user's preferences and lifestyles," says Mohammadi. "So, in addition to personalized matches, users have other options for finding true connections in real life."
It's Only Launching In San Francisco... At Least For Now
"We are so excited to be launching locally, and we hope that the San Francisco Bay Area will benefit from all our vision and hard work," says Mohammadi. "We truly want to change the dating scene for good, and help all the wonderful people around Silicon Valley to come together and be happy! Let's make dating experiences more meaningful, fun, and less work — and, along the way, build some awesome friendships and relationships!"
If you're in San Francisco or the Bay Area and want to check out BELONG, you can join via their website or download the app in the iOS App Store. And, hopefully, BELONG will extend past San Francisco and the Bay Area one of these days so that even more people can try it out. A girl can hope!