Dating apps are very much the present and future of modern life. Across Europe, many people find themselves setting up profiles on different apps hoping to find their new fling, their soulmate, or a new way to connect with people.
Swiping left, swiping right, chatting through instant messaging services – these tend to be the basic elements of a dating app. But, there are some platforms that do things a little differently. European startups are playing a key role in the dating app game, and there are a number of different players adding their own bit of spice to the mix.
The ever-growing online dating app economy is projected to grow at a rate of 9.26% to reach €3.9 million ($4.5 million) by 2027. So, we decided to take a look at which European players are changing the game, keeping dating interesting and encouraging genuine, human connections.
So Syncd: Based in the UK, So Syncd takes a personality-centric approach to dating. After all, personality compatibility is what matters, and often what is lacking on dating sites. The application uses a unique algorithm, based on the Myers-Briggs personality types, to match couples based on the outcomes of a personality test. So far, the startup claims that the Myers-Briggs test has been widely used in the business world, including by 89% of Fortune 100 companies, but not yet for dating. The company has grown nicely, with more than 60 million messages already sent on the app and about 60,000 users. The sibling founder team, Jessica Alderson and Louella Alderson, nabbed €827K in funding in 2021.
Relate: Founded in Stockholm in 2018, this app aims to create a new era of dating, bringing about genuine and meaningful connections. The startup was launched with the aim to make a profound connection and authentic communication fun and simple, to bring people closer in order to reduce loneliness, superficiality and polarization in society. Its app combines relationship psychology with tools from personal development to help people get to know themselves better and express themselves. In 2022, the startup reported it had helped 27k Swedes get into relationships, and the number of matches more than doubled compared to 2021.
Breeze: Based out of Delft in the Netherlands, Breeze sets out to take online dating, offline again – helping us to move away from endless swiping and boring conversations. Every day, users receive two profiles selected by the personalised algorithm, which enables them to go out for a drink with one of these two. the idea is to help push people to actually meet in person, get a direct first impression, and take that step from digital connections to in-person ones. It also provides tools to help you learn about yourself and what you’re looking for in a partner. Launched in 2019, the company now has a solid user base with over +1000 active users nationally.
Jigsaw: Founded in 2019, Jigsaw’s dating app covers the user’s face in a jigsaw puzzle. It means personality is prioritized and dating decisions are made not by vanity, but by genuine connection. The app’s face-shielding mechanism involves a puzzle made up of 16 pieces which, piece0-by-piece, are removed as the conversation continues to finally reveal the face underneath. Described as “anti-superficial dating”, the app positions itself as a ‘tech for good’ platform. After nailing €3 million to expand in the US, the London-based company is currently available in New York and London and plans on expanding further in the States. So far, it has connected over 100k members.
Flamme: Freshly launched by Barcelona-based entrepreneur, Ankit Nayal, Flamme aims to strengthen relationships. The app helps couples stay connected, regardless of how busy their lives are – something that in the modern hustle can become a frequent source of friction for couples. The app centralises experience decisions in relationships (think which movie you watch, where to order food from…) and also covers communication development by including a daily discovery question along with other relationship-strengthening tools, which include advice articles from relationship experts and generative AI-powered “Ask Me Anything” tool.
Thursday: This dating app’s tagline says, “One day, you’ll meet”. And it is precisely what it does – the app is live only one day a week: every Thursday. This means you can only match and chat with potential love interests once a week. Thursday aims to limit how dating apps can take up so much of your time. Founded in 2018, in London, Thursday is like other dating apps in that it is like-based, users build their profiles to attract potential matches and wait for Thursday to roll around and start connecting and chatting. In June 2021, Thursday secured a seed investment of €3 million.
Smitten: Reykjavik-based Smitten is a mobile dating App that is trying to make the process of knowing and conversing with a new person a lot less awkward and a lot more fun. Through the app, users access interactive games and fun questions to get to know their matches, so the whole process is more light-hearted and there’s more engagement than in the traditional app format. It even gives instant conversation starters so there’s no stress about breaking the ice or thinking of a cheesy opening line. Founded in 2020 it has raised a total funding amount of €13 million.
Linkup: Not specially tailored to dating, but rather on a mission to help young people forge meaningful connections, Manchester-based LinkUp is aiming to revolutionize socializing in the digital era, using tech to promote social connection rather than detract from it. Founded by Jack Peagam and Ben Whatson, Linkup encourages users to put down their phones, meet like-minded people around them and focus on today, at the moment that counts. It’s a platform that enables any kind of meeting in person, for any kind of person – forge friendships, discover fellow hobbyists or just go for a drink with someone nearby. The app will launch later this year after picking up attention from a variety of early investors this summer, resulting in a €530k raise in July. Renowned music duo Krept & Konen are among the investors, along with Callum Airey (Calfreezy on YouTube).
The Sauce: Based in London, The Sauce adds a little extra spice to your dating experience. It’s a dating application designed to change the conventional dating idea into a fun approach, bringing personality to online dating through video content. Via the app, users can date via video, create short videos and chat and comment on each other’s profiles. Founded in 2020, the startup helps to create more genuine connections – with video content, singles can better express their personality through voice and humour and it encourages originality and expression.
HER: HER is the top dating app connecting all women, non-binary, trans and gender non-conforming folk. Despite the name, HER isn’t exclusively for females – it’s open to cisgender and non-binary people too. It’s about creating a safe space for people to connect and form relationships, whether that be a travel buddy, a friend in a city or a future soulmate. With European headquarters in London, the company takes an inclusive approach to dating and is growing fast.
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