BOSTON – As Americans look for love these days, they seem to be turning more often to a cell phone or laptop for dating apps and websites.
It’s now about a $3 billion dollar per year industry in the United States.
Singles swipe through popular sites like Tinder, Bumble and Match.com to reach potential mates.
Two local entrepreneurs, Kevin Murray and Mark Brehaut, have launched a new company, called Icebrkr, to help improve the chances of success with online dating.
Brehaut believes attitudes about online dating have changed.
“There was almost a stigma to online dating,” he explained. “It was almost like you were weird … now it’s almost flipped script, where it is the opposite. Where, if you are single nowadays, and your friends see that, and you are not using online dating, they are like, why aren’t you using online dating?”
The first phase of their company is a texting service which provides anxious daters with immediate advice.
“We can help them in real time,” said Murray. “In terms of profile writing, photo selection and how you make conversation.”
Those tend to be the biggest land mines when trying to make a real connection. Both men say honesty is the best policy.
“You’ve got people who are body conscious, they are like, ‘I am not in as good a shape as I want, so I don’t want to put my lower half in there,'” Murray added. “But if you meet somebody, you can’t show up with the bottom half missing. You’ve got to show everything. Just own who you are.”
That’s the kind of thing Icebrkr feels it does well is give honest, unbiased feedback.
“One of the worst things you can do is ask a friend or a family member for advice,” said Murray.
The second phase of Icebrkr is the development of a new dating app. It will use artificial intelligence to give feedback and help make better connections. The app is still being refined and they are raising money to launch it.
The texting service is available now for a free trial. It ultimately costs $20 a month.