The League, the dating app branded as “elitist” in the press, has launched in San Francisco, and wants to correct some misconceptions about their product.
Founded by 29-year-old Stanford MBA graduate Amanda Bradford, the app seeks to create a selective and secure user base, by requiring singles to have both a LinkedIn and Facebook account.
Profiles use information from both networks, such as what your job is and what university you went to, and you are given curated matches based on your preferences.
These matches are sent every day at 5pm – a potential enemy of engagement in a world where singles are used to swiping at their own discretion – that relies on the daily matches being high quality.
Depending on these preferences, only those who fit your criteria will be able to see your profile, and vice versa.
And cleverly, by using both social networks, The League lets you hide your profile from Facebook friends, LinkedIn connections, and your current coworkers.
Bradford said they want to create a “community of people who are looking for other like-minded, ambitious professionals”, who may well be disillusioned with apps like Tinder.
Last week The League launched in San Francisco, where 3,000+ people have signed up.
They have a total of 11,000 national registrations – 30% have advanced degrees, with an average age of 29.
When the app was picked up by the press, The League’s name and certain “Ivy League” connotations were latched on to, and it was pitted as an elitist service only for the upper percentiles.
We spoke to Amanda Bradford and asked whether their marketing plan had played off being slightly controversial and provocative.
Bradford said: “We actually got press before we intended – while we were still recruiting people into our alpha back in September. I wanted to go to market with the privacy message as no other dating apps offer this type of privacy feature, and I think this is a value proposition that young professionals really understand.”
Asked whether she felt the app was misconstrued, she said:
“The press very much sensationalized the fact that we were keeping the group curated and had a screening algorithm – which is to be expected. I think they misconstrued the ‘Ivy league’ angle – we have plenty of users that are not from top schools but are phenomenal in other ways.”
Bradford said they were looking for users from all professions – whether artists or chefs – and certain qualifications were not a prerequisite for entry.
To ensure privacy on the app, by using LinkedIn and Facebook, their algorithm checks you have a certain number of connections on each – and haven’t recently created either account simply to get entry.
Regarding monetisation, The League offers an interesting subscription service that lets singles browse the user base anonymously – only revealing themselves when they register their interest in someone.
Bradford said that this was geared towards people who might want to keep the visibility of their dating app use to a minimum – and that professors, doctors and high-up executives had expressed interest in the premium service.
This costs $15 a month, and The League also offers in-app purchases and suggests nearby dates and events to their singles.
With Tinder recently releasing their premium feature – which lets users undo an accidental swipe, and change your location to browse overseas users – we asked Bradford what she thought of their subscription plan:
“I think Tinder’s monetization strategy – their passport feature – is a feature designed for creepy guys by creepy guys. Now women can be ogled by men from all over the world. MY hope is these girls get off Tinder and join the League where they can have complete control over who is viewing their profile and Tinder can stop using these women for their monetization strategy.”
Bradford said their plan for expansion was to wait until enough users requested The League in their city, before launching it.
You can also see the progress and number of requests for The League in your city, on the app.
She saw this as central to the success of the company – making sure they created a strong brand by combining an air of exclusivity with a curated user base, that ensures a good user experience based on the quality of their matches.
Download the app here.