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It’s easier to find a date than a friend these days, thanks to fervid dating apps like Tinder and OkCupid. Frustrated by this, marketing pro Olivia June Poole partnered with developer Jen Aprahamian, and the pair did something about it.
Olivia June Poole
“As an adult, you don’t have people you can quickly warm to like you do as a kid,” Aprahamian told the Daily Dot.
The idea was born in how Aprahamian and Poole first met. Aprahamian, a developer, moved to San Francisco for work from Los Angeles seven years ago. After a couple of nights of lonely room service, her colleague Poole invited her out on the town with a few girlfriends. This, coupled with dabbling in online dating as a tool to meet people, gave the pair the idea for Hey! VINA, which they began working on in August.
The two also faced the challenge of meeting girlfriends while working in male-dominated spaces: Sitting on tech panels, they realized more than half of their colleagues were men.
“This is about building a whole ecosystem of products to serve the needs of the modern woman which are largely ignored by tech companies,” Poole said. “Women are the largest consumers of social products and tech products and there’s not a whole lot out there.”
The iOS app syncs with your Facebook profile to verify your identity. Then it asks you six questions that flesh out some of your preferences, like whether you would rather go out for drinks or grab coffee, or whether you prefer the outdoors or staying in.
You can detail your preferences even further in your profile section. Like Tinder, you can swipe and read through profiles to determine if someone is the right fit for your friendly needs. You’ll only be shown matches who are within one degree of separation from your mutual Facebook friends.
When you get a match, a chat between the two of you will pop up where both of you can get to know each other and, if all goes well, set up a hangout. The app will even offer suggestions on where to meet up if you were matched through a common interest.
Later on, the app will add quizzes a la BuzzFeed where you can share results with your existing friends and be matched with potential new ones. If you’re in another city for work or play, you can likewise explore who it has to offer.
Hey! VINA will go live in New York on Monday, with plans to expand into other cities in the future.
Photos via Olivia June Poole
Molly Stier is the Real-Time Social Editor at the Daily Dot, where she previously covered politics, lifestyle, entertainment, and technology. Her work has also appeared in The Nation magazine.