It’s love at first sight, not at first text.
Andrew Bowman wants millennials to stop swiping on Tinder — and to start dating in real life.
Bowman, a Dayton resident and pilot in the U.S. Air Force Reserve Command, is working with other entrepreneurs to launch a new dating app called Venue. The app, which launches in Dayton on Aug. 24, encourages single people to stop simply talking to other people online by setting them up at local restaurants, breweries and entertainment spots.
Bowman — and entrepreneurs including Erik Lasky, Tyler Mutton, Taya Richardson — wants to help young people stop the cycle of fruitless online dating apps. Though Bowman and his friends knew a lot of people using apps like Tinder and Bumble, the matches never amounted to any serious relationships.
“I am excited as a member of the Dayton community to be bringing technology like this to life and launching it here in Dayton first,” he said.
The app works through four simple steps. An app user picks a local event they’re interested in on a night where they don’t already have plans. Other app users who are also interested in that event pop up as possible matches, and then users can decide who they’re attracted to based on other users’ photos.
The last step? “Meet the old-fashioned way, in person,” Bowman said.
Online dating is an increasingly hot market, especially for millennial. About 15 percent of all U.S. adults said they’ve used online dating sites or mobile dating apps, according to Pew Research Center. The research also found online dating has lost much of its stigma, and the majority of Americans say online dating is a good way to meet people.
Tinder gets 26 million matches per day, and has more than 20 billion matches since its inception in 2012.
Millennials and young adults are driving the force more than older generations. The share of 18- to 24-year-olds who use online dating has roughly tripled from 10 percent in 2013 to 27 percent today, according to Pew Research. The problem is that most of them don’t actually meet people in person.
A survey from LendEDU, an online marketplace for student loan refinancing, found more than 70 percent of college students say though they’ve used dating apps, they haven’t actually met up with anyone from the app. That’s what Venue wants to change.
In Dayton, Venue will coordinate meet-ups at places like Warped Wing, Proto Build Bar and Urban Krag in the Oregon District. The app will then launch in other cities like Columbus and Indianapolis.
“You can go on an awesome first date, actually meet your date in person,” Bowman said. “I see it as a way of finding people to hang out and explore a city.”
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