Contributed by: ElyseRomano Friday, October 20 2017 @ 10:05 am
The San Francisco Bay Area lives and breathes tech. As home to the iconic companies of Silicon Valley, and a mind-blowing number of plucky startups, there are few places in the world with a more unabashed love of all things that come with the digital age.
Naturally, that extends to dating. Countless dating apps and websites call the region home, helping its tech-savvy and time-strapped residents find love despite their busy lives. The latest to join their company is Belong[*1] , a smart dating app that uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to curate personalised matches and social experiences for accomplished singles.
Belong makes the bold promise that it’s “reinventing the modern dating experience.” The app becomes smarter the more you use it, allowing the machine learning mechanism to provide hyper-targeted matches and date suggestions designed just for you.
“I know the struggle of dating in the tech world all too well,” says Founder and CEO Bahareh Mohammadi. “There is nothing more frustrating than spending the limited free time we have in online conversations that go nowhere, and people who are uncommitted or uncaring. I knew we needed something better.”
While working as a product lead at Oracle, Mohammadi found it almost impossible to juggle the demands of his job, his startup dreams, and his love life. Having experienced the struggle first-hand, he left Oracle to build a solution for other professionals facing the same challenge.
"We have so little time to waste on online dating sites and apps that are so frivolous — I wanted to make something effective, and something that understood these unique challenges and mitigated them,” Mohammadi told Bustle[*2] . “The idea was to utilize these incredible technologies that are emerging in the tech space, i.e., artificial intelligence and machine learning capabilities, and use them to solve problems with dating, i.e., futile swiping, 'ghosting,' too much focus online, etc., in a fresh way."
Both Mohammadi’s location and his Oracle background informed his tech-focused, futuristic take on online dating. Belong starts with LinkedIn and Facebook authentication to ensure users have a professional background. Over time, as users are more and more active on the app, AI and machine learning technology recognize their inputs and preferences. The app becomes increasingly adept at making personalized matches designed for your preferences and your lifestyle.
In an effort to get the Bay Area’s constantly-hustling young professionals on actual dates, Belong also offers users invitations to curated events with other singles. The hope is to get them off the app and into real-life interactions as soon as possible.
"Belong will change app dating with a two-pronged approach that makes us unique," Mohammadi says. "It is precisely the combination of using AI technology to personalize matches and a focus on getting users to meet in real life as quickly as possible…. These ideas have never been combined.”
Curious to see it in action? Download Belong for iOS here[*3] .