These recent college graduates want you to provide matchmaking.
Ted Middleton and Anna Lummus were students at Wake Forest University when they started setting up their single friends running in different social circles on campus. What originally started as a blind dating service through Google Sheets and Google Forms is now a scalable startup and full-fledged app, Vortex.
“It started as a way to make new connections on campus and introduce people who wouldn’t otherwise know each other,” Middleton told Hypepotamus. “We’ve seen that there are a lot of people out there who really love to play matchmaker for their friends. It is a very specific personality type. But if you know someone who started a marriage, they probably haven’t let you know the end of it.”
Those looking for their next first date download the app and select a group of their friends to act as official matchmakers. These matchmakers screen potential dates and once the date has accepted, they are added to a chat room with no photos or no names.
It might be an old-fashioned approach to meeting people, but Middleton believes it’s the best way to get beyond the constant swiping and chatting found on more established dating apps.
The app grows by bringing people, regardless of their relationship status, onto the platform. It allows “people both in and out of a relationship to join in on the fun of the dating scene,” Middleton added.
“You trust your friend with a movie recommendation. So why wouldn’t you trust your friend with dating tips and advice? added Middleton. “It’s nothing to swish, nothing to feel, but we’ve seen some really amazing matches come out of this new twist on dating.”
Given that the startup was born on campus, Whirl will target universities like Duke, UNC, and Wake Forest as it begins to expand in 2023. The team will also test the program in Atlanta and Charlotte to expand its customer base in larger city ecosystems.
Middleton said along the way that he sees the ability to monetize the app by connecting successful “matchmakers” with other daters.
matchmaking in technology
After graduating this May, Middleton and Lummus are fully committed to bringing a tech-centric experience to the matchmaking world.
Middleton said the scene has changed dramatically over the course of the Techstars Atlanta program this summer. Originally named Thea after the Greek god of vision, the startup changed to Whirl in the past two months to reflect the acronym “We Hangout In Real Life.”
The team raised early funding from friends and family to get the app up and running before heading into Techstars Atlanta. The team plans to move to Charlotte early next year to continue growing Whirl, according to Middleton.
Of course, the mark of a successful new dating app on the market is whether or not it creates meaningful relationships in real life. Early versions of the app and its alpha testing have already produced a group of successful second dates, Middleton told Hypepotamus.
Featured image from Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash