Instead of people’s profiles, you’re immediately greeted with a meme set against a colorful, cartoon-like backdrop, with the choice to swipe right for “like” and left for “don’t like.”
After a certain amount of swiping, the app’s machine-learning model attempts to evaluate what kind of humor you like and your topics of interest, such as politics, pop culture or science. At that point, you’ll receive a “#MatchRec” with someone whose humor allegedly matches yours, leaving you with the choice to “Schmooze” or “Snooze.”
A few years ago, Madhavan was working in India and debating whether to go to graduate school. She cold-emailed someone who had attended a U.S. business school asking for advice. That first email led to more than 150 email exchanges filled with jokes and humor and, eventually, to marriage – as well as Madhavan’s conviction that humor is a good proxy for romantic compatibility.
Coyle, who has used Tinder and Bumble in the past, said Snack’s emphasis on video provides “more of a sense of this is what they actually do when they’re at a party or something, not just from a picture
“Meme-based dating fits so perfectly with this generation,” Madhavan said. “Because memes are the way we all communicate, right? Whether it’s sharing news or sharing how you feel.”
The 27-year-old Stanford business school graduate co-founded the company with college classmate Abhinav Anurag and launched the app as a beta test in early . It recently surpassed 300,000 users, with concentrations on the East Coast and in Los Angeles. (For scale, Tinder has about 66 million monthly users worldwide.)
“Now, are you writing a longer bio? Do you have three prompts? Does the woman go first? “And that means you have to have your profile to be so curated, to stand out.”
When it comes to the question of looks versus personality, a dating app called Iris is taking the opposite approach to Schmooze’s – while also reducing the burden of self-presentation.
Returning to the fundamentals of physical attraction, the app, which was launched in early 2020, has users train a machine-learning algorithm by swiping through three rounds of stock photos. It then recommends potential matches where there may be mutual attraction, either locally or in the entire database through a “Super Search” function.
The founder, who has not come out publicly yet, said they aimed to re-create the experience of initial attraction when meeting someone in real life, independent of factors such as educational level, hobbies or political affiliation.
Iris is also offering a free round-trip plane ticket for any couples who match if they live too far away. All they have to do is email the company, though no one has taken it up on the offer yet, Chief Growth Officer Daniel Mori said.
Although Iris isn’t explicitly aimed at Gen Z, the company has seen success marketing on TikTok, which was its top source of user acquisition in its first year, Mori said. It has also formed a network of about 400 influencers to promote the app.
Aside from who you’re liable to meet, is there any real difference in the experience of looking for love on a Gen Z app?
Those are all things that change, but essentially every dating app has a profile and a photo,” Madhavan said
But he has struggled with finding videos of himself to include in his profile and wasn’t sure how long he was going to last on the app.
Schmooze, another dating app wooing Gen Z, is also organized around a form of digital content the generation has fallen in love with – memes.