An Interview with Whim founder and CEO Eve Peters

whimLogoWhim founder and CEO Eve Peters graciously took the time to answer some questions for Love Data.  Whim is a new dating app that bills itself as “The ‘Hotel Tonight’ of Dating”.  They will send you on a date:  tonight!

 

Q: Given that there are over 3800 dating businesses out there right now, what made you decide to create something new in the dating space?

There may be 3800 dating businesses, but none of them is really solving the problem of meeting new people. While most apps have done a great job of mastering search and discovery of people, they’re really only solving 10% of the problem. 90% of the friction is in getting from the online connection to an offline relationship; Whim is uniquely focusing on providing a solution for that.

Q: In your CrowdFunder video (https://www.crowdfunder.com/whim) you mention using 16 variables to help match potential dates. What sets Whim’s algorithm apart from other dating apps?

Most mobile apps will present you with any matches who fit your very basic criteria – like age range and location. We go further by employing the detailed level of matching you’d find on an app like Match (including race, education level, height, body type, interests, and more) while still providing the convenience of a mobile app.

Q: At the iDate conference in June, you had a great slide showing the typical time a person has to invest before getting to that first date. With the exception of Grindr, it seems to be at least 5 days to weeks before people usually meet up in person. Are you worried it will be more awkward for people on a Whim first date since they have not had any time to get to know a little bit about each other first?

I’m not concerned about that. First dates are a little silly feeling and awkward no matter what. The advantage of a Whim date is that it happens almost on the fly; there’s less time to get nervous, less build-up, and less of a need for it to be something great. It’s just a casual weeknight drink with someone you might enjoy.

Q: How many dates do you think the typical Whim user would want to go on? Do you think people may suffer from “first date fatigue”?

Our target is to get active users going on at least 2 Whim dates per week. They’re so easy to set up and so fun to go on – I think this goal is realistic. Most of the dating fatigue in apps comes from the extensive profile browsing and messaging back and forth that ensues, not from the actual face-to-face meeting. Of course, some people have more social energy than others; some Whim users might just do a couple per month, while others might date every other night like it’s their job!

Q: Can anyone with a Facebook account join Whim, or is there any kind of vetting process to help weed out less savory users?

Currently anyone with a FB account can join. However, if a user reports any suspicious or inappropriate behavior to us, we will immediately check it out and dismantle your profile if necessary.

Q: Whim has a “How was your date?” rating afterwards. How will this information be used to improve Whim’s algorithm or other features?

When enough data accumulates, we can use these ratings to predict what kinds of people you are most likely to enjoy on a date and serve you continually better matches.

Q: Whim’s model includes potential partnerships with bars and restaurants. You pay $5 if you accept a date for that night, and in turn the bar/restaurant offers a free drink or appetizer. I love this idea because it cuts down on people flaking, and has an actual revenue model for Whim–something a lot of dating apps lack. Do you have a lot of partnerships with bars/restaurants at this time?

We have ten partnerships established thus far, including Primitivo, Salt Air, Willie Jane, A Frame, and Circle Bar (all Los Angeles establishments).

Q: Congrats on getting a slot with 500 Startups! What does this mean for Whim’s next steps?

Thank you! As of July 14th the team has moved up to San Francisco. We’re grateful and excited to be part of 500 Startups; it means we’ll have the advantage of their mentorship, network, and support behind us as we move forward toward our native app launch (September ‘14) and beyond.