GDI London 2023 Roundup: The Origins and Evolution of Chapter 2

To highlight the insights shared at our recent conference in London, Global Dating Insights is proud to share a roundup of some of the event’s presentations.

In this article, we summarise the live interview with Nicky Wake, Founder of Chapter 2.

There are many similarities between the Social Discovery and Dating markets; but perhaps no app illustrates the crossover more obviously than Chapter 2 – as Founder Nicky Wake explained in conversation with GDI’s Senior Reporter Sean Nolan at the GDI conference in London.

Chapter 2 is a common term within a particular circle: widows and widowers.  Triggered by the passing of her own soulmate, she discovered the help of a support group and through it got to meet other widows.  She soon realised that many conversations quickly turned towards ‘starting again’ and that most younger widows like her are not ready to accept that their love life is behind them. 

“Widows are different from divorcees,” she told the audience. “Our houses are full of photos of our much loved and lost partners.  Other widows and widowers understand that; they are happy to talk about the ones no longer with us, to celebrate important dates from our past, and support each other through the hard days.”

Emphasising the crossover with the social discovery market, Chapter 2 describes itself as a community and dating app – and stresses that it was built by widows for widows and widowers. 

“People who have the same shared painful experience have an immediate emotional understanding and connection,” she explained. “And there’s also a shared language.”

Until she attended a widows’ event and engaged with the community – there’s an estimated 3 million widows in the UK alone – Wake had not come across the term ‘widows fire’.  But she immediately understood what it meant, and it was evidenced by the nightly reminder of the empty space in the bed beside her.

As a partner site to Chapter 2, Wake has now launched a more ‘adult’ offering called WidowsFire – which is for those looking for a physical connection but not yet ready to embark on another long-term partnership. 

Chapter 2 also has a face to face in real life element, and Wake has run successful widows’ gatherings in Manchester and Birmingham with a London event set for October 12.  

“They are vibrant events,” she says. “Until you’ve seen 90 widows on the dance floor you really haven’t lived.” 

On a more serious note, Wake stresses how important verification is to her when accepting new members onto the app.  “Widows are ripe for exploitation,” she explains, “and have maybe just received a large life insurance payout.  We have to protect them and ensure that everyone who joins the site really is a widow or widower – we ask for all types of proof before admitting them onto the site.”

The next step for Chapter 2 is international – with a test launch in Florida on the agenda. “Connecting with people with a shared painful experience is really supportive and it’s the same the world over,” she explained, “because if you know… you know.”

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