Friday, October 10, 2014
BeLinked: How Professional Networking Can Improve Your Dating Life
Story by Benjamin F. Kuo
What do you get when you cross Tinder with LinkedIn? You get something like BeLinked (www.belinkedapp.com), a dating app which uses--you guessed it--the business centric profiles of LinkedIn to match you with potential dates. We spoke with Max Fischer, CEO of the company, to learn more about how he came up with crossing the business worlds of LinkedIn with the popular world of swipe right, swipe left dating apps.
This is an interesting twist on dating, how'd you come up with the idea?
Max Fischer: BeLinked, formerly LinkedUp, is the first, mobile dating app that has the popular swipe left, swipe right feature, but which is based on the LinkedIn platform and LinkedIn API. There are lots of other dating apps, but which are based off of Facebook. This is the first based off of LinkedIn. We feel that LinkedIn gives users a truer sense of who the other user they are connecting with is. LinkedIn is one of the largest social networks, with 300 million users, and we fell that it has a higher quality user base. That allows people of like minded interests, ambitions, and background to find each other more easily. We think that LinkedIn answers some of the most basic questions in a relationship--where you are from, what do you do, where did you go to school--which are the primary ice breaking questions that people ask when they first interact. I think it gives a better sense of a potential for a relationship, and the ability grow and evolve that into something more. I go the idea when I was on LinkedIn, and noticed that some of my friends had been actually getting dates through the site. As we were developing the product, we noticed that more and more articles were popping up about people going through dates due to LinkedIN's platform. So, what we've done is created an opt-in community, which harnesses the positive energy of people in LinkedIn. No data flows back to LinkedIn, just as no data flows back from other dating apps to Facebook. You can remain anonymous, and remain at your level of comfort, but at the same time get a chance to date someone of higher quality, because of the better information you have on that person.
What's your own background?
Max Fischer: I'm a former investment banker and investment professional, and I have worked a little bit in the entertainment space as well.
Why LinkedIn? Not too many people think of LinkedIn in conjunction with dating...
Max Fischer: There definitely is the idea that LinkedIn is a professional networking site. But, so much about dating starts out very subtly. I think that people with similar interest, similar life paths, and similar careers can get to know each other in that subtle sense. One of the most popular features of LinkedIn is that feature that let you see who has viewed your profile recently. You never know who there might be actually admiring you. LinkedIn has a network of over 300 million professionals, who tend to be highly educated and ambitious, and this really can help you find like minded people, and create a community of them that is complimentary to what's already there.
So it's kind of a self-selected group of professionals you have tapped into?
Max Fischer: LinkedIn definitely provides a great universe of people who would probably already be more than likely to get to know each other. We let you also filter by industry, and even by the school that someone went to. As a result, we can create a more reliable interaction versus other apps, which don't show where someone works or those kinds of information.
It sure seems like there are lots of dating app developers here in LA, why do you think that's so?
Max Fischer: That's an interesting question. Our app has actually seen traction throughout the rest of the United States, but particularly in major metropolitan areas, like New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and areas like Washington DC, Boston, Chicago, and Miami, plus places like London. I think the offering is a nationwide and even global offering. However, I guess it's maybe because the folks in LA have a better finger on the pulse of developing these new kinds of startups in the dating space.
What are the next steps for you?
Max Fischer: We're in the process of fundraising right now, to fund our future growth and marketing. We're also working on promotional efforts to really gain critical mass in those metropolitan areas we are mentioning. We are also making sure we can continue to enhance the user experience, and create what we think users are looking for, and give them a cut-above dating experience through this great product we've created.
Thanks, and good luck!