Interview: Sfara CMO Shares Vision for Safer Offline Dating 

This article is brought to you by Sfara’s Content Partnership with Global Dating Insights. Sfara offers smartphone-based, personal safety features, providing industry-leading safety services for easy integration into your dating app.

Global Dating Insights had the pleasure of speaking with Rocco Tricarico, Chief Marketing Officer at Sfara, about how online dating platforms can take the next step in their evolution: safer offline dating.

Read the full discussion between GDI’s Senior Reporter, Sean Nolan, and Rocco Tricarico below:

Q1. Hello Rocco. Sfara is normally viewed as a company with smartphone-based safety solutions for enterprise organizations and vehicular safety, what does it have to offer to the world of dating apps?

Thank you Sean, Number one, Sfara is first and foremost a safety company. Our goal is to provide mobile safety services to anyone with a smartphone. Yes, our services include many features for vehicle safety, but we’ve always been also focused on duty-of-care and personal safety features, such as our innovative Triple-Tap, which are directly applicable to many industries, and especially the world of dating.

Our personal safety features are easily integrated into a dating app with an SDK, so providers can seamlessly offer these services to their customers.

We feel that any personal safety features that travels with the dater is going to be beneficial. They’re going to provide security and peace of mind, so daters can focus on being themselves. It can help stop escalating incidents before they happen. It might even save some lives.

Q2. So what do you see as the business case for providers of dating apps to offer safety services to their subscribers?

The first dating app to prioritize dater safety as part of its brand will receive the biggest and most benefits. Being the first to adopt this concept can help solidify a brand’s reputation. Think of a dating app that is synonymous with safety, like Volvo is with safety in cars. Adopting “safety” as their brand ethos is a great way to do that and attract both new and existing customers.

Dating app services are challenged to stand out, and incorporating personal safety into their brand can help differentiate them. Once one app takes the lead, others will likely follow, but being the first gives a competitive advantage.

A more broad-ranged benefit to the industry of offering safety features is, to use an old-school term, public relations. The state of the world, as well as increasingly reported incidents occurring that are dating-app related are creating an image and personal safety issue that could harm the industry if left unaddressed. With the lack of a centralized authority to regulate, such as how government safety organizations regulated transportation, then it is up to individual app providers to first enhance their brand and their relationships to their customers, and for that to slowly become the norm. Otherwise, what are the consequences of the industry not addressing these issues?

Q3. Do safety services benefit app usage in any way?

One big benefit for all dating apps is an increase in frequency of use.  Once a dater has a date set up, they are basically done with the dating app until it’s time to seek out the next date. But personal safety features encourage consistent usage of the app. Such as when a person sets up a check-in timer before going on a date with a stranger. When the timer is up, the dater will receive a check-in call to make sure they are safe. If not, the call itself sometimes is enough of an interruption to allow them to make an exit from the situation, or we offer discrete ways to call for help.

This feature can also be used in other situations, like going for a run or a night out. By utilizing these safety features, users are constantly reminded of the app’s focus on safety and are more likely to use it again in the future. Every time they open your app to use the service, they are reminded to use your services again. Now that’s a brand benefit.

And to answer any questions before they arise, yes, the provider has full control of the user experience and interface.

Q4. How do you envision that a dating-app provider would market safety benefits to their end users?

Fortunately, we believe that personal safety will sell itself without needing to be aggressively promoted. We predict that it will attract new customers and keep existing ones loyal, leading to a significant boost in profits for the first dating app provider to implement and advertise it.

Our experience messaging consumers tells us that in their minds, safety means freedom. Freedom from worry and concern- the freedom to relax, be themselves, and enjoy the present moment without worrying.

It’s important to note that when a dater calls for help with our services, they don’t go straight to 9-1-1 or 1-1-2 dispatchers. No S.W.A.T. or ARU team is going to swoop in. If that were the case, daters would often be afraid to use the service.

Instead, when daters call for help, they reach a trained safety agent, who, if necessary, can reach emergency dispatchers, even while still on the phone with the dater. If emergency services are not necessary, the agent can stay on the line with the dater, call back later for a check-in, or do a number of things to help diffuse or assist in a situation, or simply make the caller feel more comfortable because they have the brand at their back.

How do you sell that? I don’t know. Do you have to? We already know that 92% of women are concerned for their safety when they go on a run. Almost 40% of women and 28% of men said they felt uncomfortable or unsafe on a date at some point. And one more survey from this last December stated about one-third (31%) of women reported being assaulted by an online match.

There is a need for this. All that is necessary is for a provider to get started, get the message out there, and we think the followers will come.

Contact Details
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