Swiss startup Blinq wants to revolutionise the way people connect on dating apps, by giving their users a real life context to the online dating experience.
Based in Zurich, Switzerland, Blinq uses beacon proximity technology so users are alerted if any singles that fit their criteria are in the same location, at the same time.
After connecting via Facebook and creating a profile, nearby users will pop up on the app, and like Tinder, you either choose to Hi or Bye them.
If there is a mutual interest between the two, they are put in contact.
For the beacon technology to work, Blinq launched its Estimote Beacons last September, and have installed them in many clubs and bars across Zurich.
We spoke to co-founder Alex Zimmermann about why they decided to use this technology to help singles connect, he said: “We wanted to improve the match-to-date ratio. If you know that you are in the same club or bar the probability that you meet someone is just higher.”
They have installed 200 beacons so far, mostly in nightclubs and bars, but also in various cafÃ©s and gyms.
This works alongside its in-app feature InstaConnect, which Blinq singles can use to quickly arrange a date at a certain time, without having to trade lots of messages before their first encounter.
The app also uses a Hotspot feature, which shows users which venues are popular at any given time.
Speaking about this feature, Zimmermann said: “The Hotlist shows you which clubs and bars are trending in real-time. Based on the distance to the venues, the activity (number of people) at the venue and a recommendation algorithm we give you a list of five venues that suit you best.
“The more you go out, the better the recommendations will be because we learn from your behaviour based on previous beacon detections. The Heatmap feature also shows you in real-time on a map where something is going on in your city.”
As of December 2014, the app had 40,000 downloads, with 25,000 actively using the dating service.
Currently, 80% of Blinq’s users are based in Switzerland.
So far, the company have raised 1m Swiss francs to aid the development of the app.
Following its success in Zurich, founders Alex Zimmermann and Jen Berchtold are hoping to increase the number of active beacons and bring the app’s proximity-based matching to other European cities.
The app is currently free of charge for all users, but Zimmermann is confident Blinq’s unique matchmaking qualities will attract brands and venues they can form partnerships with.
He said: “We don’t monetise the app at the moment. But we are in talks with different partners to integrate them. Especially the Hotlist has potential to promote clubs and bars. Premium features are also planned.
“We are in talks with potential partners but we have not yet officially announced any partnerships so far.”
Asked why brands should want to partner with Blinq, Zimmermann said: “With the new HotSpot feature a partnering brand can position itself in the nightlife market and can directly connect to a large user base. Moreover, we have very interesting data from our users about their going-out patterns through our beacons.”
Check out Blinq here.