There are more dating apps on the market than you could possibly count, with new ones popping up seemingly every week. Though they cover a diverse - and sometimes outright strange - range of people and interests, the vast majority are made with heterosexual couples in mind.
Winkd is a dating app based in Sydney which just launched this month. It hopes to take a different approach and join the likes of Grindr as a successful service built by putting the LGBTQ community first.
Founders Diana Kalkoul and Neda Robat-Meily, who are both queer, found themselves frustrated with the lack of inclusivity in most popular dating apps. But rather than giving up dating apps altogether, they decided to create their own.
"Tinder always catered to the hetero-market first," Kalkoul told Mashable, "so you could either be male, you could either be female ... It was adopted by queer people and kind of augmented, but that was never the purpose."
Kalkoul and Robat-Meily took what they liked about Tinder and similar services ,and added their own twist. When a new Winkd user signs up, the default setting is “I am a human seeking a human.’ They can change the settings to male or female later if they wish.
Once their profile is set up, a Winkd user can check in to their favorite locations to see who else has checked in. “Winking” at someone in the app is a low-stress way to indicate interest. If they wink back, it’s a match and a chat window appears - but only for 20 minutes. Drag your feet on saying hello and the chat will vanish, along with your match.
Kalkoul said the disappearing messaging function was an attempt to eliminate conversations that don’t lead to actual connection. "We're creating a time pressure to push people to go out there and talk to people and get offline," she said to Mashable.
In another departure from Tinder, Winkd doesn’t feature a user’s name or age on their profile card. That information is only revealed after a match is made to maintain users’ privacy and prevent ageism. The app aims to strip back the complex features on many other apps in order to provide a “raw connection experience.”
“It’s about leveraging the technology we have today to reignite that traditional spark of meeting someone for the first time and knowing little about them. It really encourages people to go out and find more information about another person,” Kalkoul told Startup Daily.
Winkd is part of University of Sydney’s Incubate program and just came out of a closed beta phase. Kalkoul and Robat-Meily have employed a non-subscription revenue model and initially target new users through other LGBTQ platforms. Look for the app now on the Play Store and iTunes.