New Y Combinator Startup ‘Waves’ Matches Users Based On Sexual Compatibility

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The pressure to write the perfect dating profile is enormous. It needs to be confident but not arrogant, intriguing but not cryptic, unique but not outlandish, alluring but not unapproachable. There’s nothing easy about condensing your personality into a few carefully curated sentences and photographs. Inevitably, things must be left out. But which things?

For many users, the answer is sexual preferences. It’s an easy detail to omit - and some would say the rules of decency require such details to be omitted - but brothers Emerson and Morris Hsieh see things differently. The young co-founders launched Waves, a dating app that allows users to match based on sexual interests, and are currently part of famed incubator Y Combinator’s Summer 2019 batch.

Waves bills itself as a “safe and judgement-free environment” in which singles can explore their desires and fantasies. On other dating apps, revealing your most intimate thoughts can quickly backfire - or the the discussion happens in bed, when it’s already too late and awkward to bring up.

On Waves, it’s all out in the open. New users join the app by inputting their kinks, fetishes, and preferences and indicating their level of interest in each one (‘Yes,’ ‘Hard No,’ or ‘Discuss’). Once their profile is created, they can browse matches who have listed the same interests. This way, users are guaranteed to only see people who want to try the same things, and can rest assured they’ll never be matched with something they’re uncomfortable doing.

If you’re shy about sharing what you’re into, don’t worry. Waves does not publish your tastes unless you find a match and consent to showing them to your interests. The only thing that shows between potential matches before matching and giving consent is the number of preferences they have in common.

Waves is already making a splash. By day two of Y Combinator’s Summer 2019 Demo Days, just a few days after the company launched, Waves already had 750 new users. The app’s early success is especially impressive considering the Hsieh brothers initially set out to make a medicine technology startup, but pivoted to creating Waves after entering Y Combinator in early June and discovering their original idea lacked traction. According to TechCrunch, the brothers say their market opportunity could be 15 times the size of Grindr if all goes well.

Waves is now available to download from the App Store and the Google Play Store.