Online dating apps have emerged as a popular choice among Indians, especially since the breakout of the Covid-19 pandemic. Filteroff, a video-based speed dating app launched during the pandemic, claims that Indian users account for seven percent of the overall user base of the platform. Zach Schleien, founder, Filteroff, spoke to BrandWagon Online about the evolving dating landscape, acceptance of video-based dating apps, and more. (Edited excerpts)
Launched during the pandemic, what is the value the platform offers, as people are ready for a post-pandemic life?
The pandemic has changed online dating forever. Prior to the pandemic, singles saw video chats as being quite vulnerable. With the onset of the pandemic, people started face timing with friends and loved ones, and it became normal. Today, research suggests that most singles prefer to video chat before meeting up in person. From a safety as well as efficiency perspective, the acceptance of video dating has accelerated.
With community-based dating blocks available on your platform, how do you think it will help in taking the product forward?
We have communities that host events on the Filteroff platform, such as Subtle Curry Dating, which runs about ten events a week around the world. When you are a part of the community, you have common interests which makes more users trust and be open to then video chatting.
You also organise interest-based events. What is the kind of traction you have seen?
We believe that dating should be humanised and should be based out of the communities that you are a part of, your passion and the interests you may have. A lot of the events that we host on Filteroff are interest-based. It allows users to meet like minded people who have similar interests.
What is the kind of traction you have seen in terms of sponsorship and advertising revenue?
The bulk of our revenue comes from our matchmaking service. Besides events, we have a matchmaking service which is a freemium model.
Currently, how big is the Indian market for you?
When it comes to Indian-based events, we have conducted over 100 virtual speed dating events in the last year. In terms of percentage, the Indian market is about seven percent of our user base. We have hosted over 9,000 virtual speed dating events so far.
Do you plan to advertise sometime this year in India?
Yes. We recently raised funding which will be directed towards people and advertising.
How has the overall experience evolved in terms of people liking a photo dating app versus a video dating app?
Prior to the pandemic, it was primarily a swipe-based market. During the pandemic, the value of quality dating increased. Therefore, a lot of swipe-based apps incorporated video into their functioning. However, the whole process of swipe, match, message is still considered long. With Filteroff, we make videos the forefront of user experience.
How do you manage the data protection bit in terms of content?
We encrypt everything in transit and storage. We use WebRTC so video content is not stored on our servers.
How do you see the product evolving in the next one year?
This will be done in many ways. We will continue to expand capabilities for different communities. I still see online being huge when it comes to dating and the reason for it is efficiency and safety. People love the ability to connect with other singles before meeting up in person and that will only get more popular over time. From an offline perspective, we will host many offline in-person events to allow singles to connect.