Taly Matiteyahu, Founder of Blink Dating App
Hi Taly, how did you two meet?
We met through a dog mom Instagram group in January 2018 and became startup cofounders in November 2020! When we met on Instagram, we were living in different cities on the east coast. We met up a couple times in NYC, but were mostly friends through text. We then coincidentally moved cross-country to Los Angeles in 2019. Making the transition from East Coasters to West Coasters brought us together more than just geographically — we’ve celebrated holidays together, brought our pups to Instagrammable pop-ups, and… started Blink Date together! It’s been a beautiful friendship and we’re so thankful our pups brought us together!
Who had the initial idea for a new dating app and what inspired the concept?
The idea was born from a blackout dining experience. Taly dined in complete darkness with total strangers and had an amazing conversation with them without having any idea what they looked like. After the dinner ended, she saw my dinner mates for the first time and realized that, had she seen them before the dinner, she would have assumed they wouldn’t have much in common. And she would have been wrong. The experience sparked the thought: would people be more open to meeting and getting to know one another if they didn’t know what the other people looked like first?
How is it different from all the other dating apps?
We’re differentiated from other dating apps in a few key ways:
○ Blink offers a profileless experience, allowing daters to get to know each other on a more genuine level through conversation. Singles want to find each other based on experiential attributes, such as kindness and sense of humor, as opposed to indexable ones, such as profession and hair color.
○ Most dating apps require users to match based on profiles, whether they’re photo, prompt, or personality based. This results in members filtering one another based on curated content and indexable attributes as described above, as opposed to experiential attributes.
● Synchronous versus asynchronous communication
○ Blink starts with a ten-minute phone call, allowing members to get to know one another more quickly and accurately. By connecting people through voice, it allows members to hear one another’s intonation and sense of humor.
○ Most dating apps rely on asynchronous communication. While asynchronous communication has its upsides, it makes getting to know a prospective partner harder. Beyond stretching out the “getting to know you” period, there can be a mismatch between someone’s text persona and in-person persona, and people can misread intention and tone from texts.
○ Instant gratification can be rewarding and validating. It encourages people to return to an experience for further gratification.
○ On Blink, instant gratification comes in the form of an actual date. Free tonight? Great, we’ll schedule a date for you. No waiting around for someone to respond – it’s time for a real-time conversation with a prospective partner. This type of gratification is much deeper than a simple “it’s a match” notification, and for daters looking for a committed relationship, it’s far more meaningful.
○ On other dating apps, the instant gratification comes from “matching” with people as you swipe through profiles. From there, it’s a waiting game – someone messages first and daters try to take the conversation from there. Sometimes it works, but most of the time it doesn’t pan out and the conversation dwindles.
credit: Blink Dating App
You started your business in the middle of a pandemic. Looking back, was that a good or bad decision?
It was definitely a good decision. Not only did I have more time to dedicate to working on Blink, but the pandemic shifted dating norms and people have a deep longing for authenticity and connection right now such that it’s the perfect moment for Blink.
Who taught you to think and act like an entrepreneur?
As the child of immigrants, I always saw my parents hustling – my dad as a self-employed contractor and my mom as a teacher who often juggled multiple jobs. I learned what it meant to build something from nothing, both in terms of a business but also in terms of a life. I started my own entrepreneurial ventures as early as high school, self-funding trips to Spain and Costa Rica by selling thousands of Airheads to my classmates. Through college and beyond, I constantly worked on side projects, both because I loved having a creative outlet and because I dreamt of building something.
You also host your own podcast. What´s this podcast about and what role does in play in your marketing strategy?
Date in a Blink is a speed dating experience where we bring two total strangers together for a ten-minute, voice-only date. We provide our guests with a prompt to get the conversation started and see how it goes. Do sparks fly? Does the conversation fall flat? The podcast offers folks a chance to listen in and hear others’ first dates, successful and otherwise.
We started the podcast with a few goals. First, we wanted to validate our concept of voice-focused dating and see what people thought of it. We also hoped it would expose people to the concept of voice-only speed dating, as it’s a novel dating method that differs from traditional dating apps.
The feedback was incredible – daters rated the experience a 9 out of 10 on average and our match rate is six times higher than traditional dating apps. Beyond that, the podcast has become a powerful and evergreen marketing tool for Blink, allowing daters to hear what voice-only dating can be like while learning some do’s and don’t’s for first dates.
With a business model that´s based mostly on online / over-the-phone connection, how is your workplace set up? Where are you located? Are you working remotely? Do you have a team?
We’re entirely remote. My cofounder, Laura, is based in Los Angeles, while I’m based in NYC. We have developers and interns scattered across the world.
You first launched your business in LA. How do you remember your first months after launch? Was your audience open and curious about this new form of dating?
I feel like we’re still in those first months, to be honest! There’s so much build up leading into product launches, but really, they’re pretty anticlimactic and, in my mind, they mostly signify the start of a new chapter. With that said, our earliest users were definitely curious about the new form of dating. We got a lot of incredible feedback that we’re working diligently to implement!
Do you have any plans to expand?
Yes! Geographically, we plan to expand to NYC next. Beyond that, we plan to expand to other verticals as well.
Would you say there will be (or is) a shift in how people will approach dating after such a long-time social distancing and isolating?
Yes, definitely. The pandemic shifted how people think about online dating. Swiping endlessly, especially when IRL dates weren’t necessarily forthcoming, seemed less and less appealing as the months of isolation wore on. Beyond that, several studies have shown that after over a year in isolation, singles are looking for more serious relationships post-pandemic. Some tried new ways of dating (audio and video calls), others turned to niche apps, and yet others are trying new ways to meet people.
Ultimately, after almost two years of living through a pandemic, people are shifting away from traditional dating apps and are looking for new and creative ways to connect, hoping to find deeper connections.
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