#onlinedating | This Female Founder Is Making Online Dating Easier

Melissa Jeffries is the cofounder of the video dating app, Wingerly.

Terrell Mullin

Melissa Jeffries was tired of how online dating apps lacked transparency.  Swiping wasn’t enough to give her an idea of what the person on the other side would be like in real life.  “I have been using online dating apps for 7 years with very little success and I have literally tried all of the major apps,” Jeffries said. “It’s so hard to get a sense for someone’s personality, vibe, or style energy through static images and text, so most conversations die very quickly if they get started at all.”

Instead of giving up hope, Jeffries decided to launch her own dating app with one special element. 

Wingerly is a video dating app that allows you to browse clips of singles answering questions, so that you can hear their voice, see their body language, and get a glimpse of their personality before you talk on the phone or go on a first date!  This makes it a lot easier to determine if daters want to be meet or not before even going through their profile.

Jeffries started in Biomedical Engineering with a degree from Yale and worked for several years in the Medical Device industry as a quality and risk management engineer.  She is on a mission to help those looking for love to develop healthy and organic relationships which can further bring about the positive transformation of various communities.  

Joresa Blount:  How was Wingerly started?

Melissa Jeffries:  I designed the app myself. After the design of the app, I got a freelance developer to get the app programmed. I funded the development of the app and other business associated with it all by herself.

Mellissa Jeffries developed a dating app because she has not been able to get much from the use of dating apps after seven years. She attributes her failure to make much out of dating apps to the difficulty in having an idea of what one’s personality is just from written words and pictures. As a result of this, conversations do not last. According to Mellissa, videos cannot be compared to pictures and written bios.

Joresa: How is Wingerly different from other dating apps?

Melissa:  Wingerly is not a dating app for people that are looking for casual relationships. It is targeted towards people that are looking to for serious and long-lasting relationships. Anyone that wants to find a mate on Wingerly has to make a video before going on to make use of the app. The video will be used to answer certain important questions. 

Making a video can be a scary thing for many people and a vulnerable thing to do, but as Brene Brown said, “Vulnerability is the birthplace of love, belonging, joy, courage, empathy, and creativity. It is the source of hope, empathy, accountability, and authenticity.”

Video is scientifically better than pictures. According to Mehrabian theory, your ability to assess trustworthiness and likeability is based 93% on the tone of your voice and your body language. According to a survey from Match.com, 58% of respondents believe that one’s voice is a factor in their overall attractiveness.

Our video gives a deeper glimpse into the person, looks, voice, style, and mannerisms, much more than curated pictures.

Joresa: How does Wingerly screen out casual daters?

Melissa: It might be difficult for other dating sites made for serious relationships to keep casual daters away. Wingerly, however, has found a perfect way to ensure that casual daters or those wanting to catfish will not get in the mix.

On Wingerly, pre-recorded videos are not allowed. As a result, this requirement naturally deters casual daters, and actually eliminates catfishing (people mis-representating themselves). Over 50% of online daters are worried about people lying or misrepresenting themselves online; by using an unaltered video we’re helping to circumvent this particular pain of online dating – being catfished.

Joresa: How does Wingerly match people?

Melissa: Wingerly does not depend on a fluke to bring people together. It is a dating site that takes advantage of the existence of science and deep learning to bring people together. This is easy because Dr. Dowlat, Chief Research Officer and co-founder of this dating app has a Ph.D. in psychology with online dating in focus and has brought his knowledge in online dating into play in this app. So, beyond making use of videos, Wingerly makes use of technology to ensure that clients are excellently matched.

Joresa: How does Wingerly help potential mates meet physically?

Melissa: Wingerly organizes events every month. This makes it easy for people that have been matched with each other to meet physically. Beyond just creating a simple and routine opportunity for people that have been matched to physically meet, Wingerly provides a comfortable and safe environment that takes away any form of insecurity or anxiety associated with people meeting for the first time. Also, it’s just a fun time to grab some friends, go out, and meet some fun, single people! Furthermore, at the monthly events which are organized by us, games are usually provided in an attempt to help people mingle very easily.

Joresa: How did you meet your cofounder?

Melissa:   We met at one of my singles mixers. My cofounder is Dr. Richard Dowlat Ph.D. – Chief Research Officer. He is leading the integration of science and Deep Learning into our matching algorithm.  Another attendee, Jason Russell, told me that he had a Ph.D. in psychology and his research focus was online dating. Upon meeting and showing him the app, he said that he had also independently thought that video should be integrated into online dating for it to be more successful. So from the very beginning, we were on the same page.

Melissa: Focus on building relationships and a community one individual at a time.  – Rashad (CEO @UberBarbershop)


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