There has been a continued shift to video-focused dating apps in recent years as more users opt for authentic connections that photos and text often fail to achieve. In February — referred to as the last month of “buzz season” — three startups are launching dating apps that use video to help users find love: Candid, Idem, and IRLY.
Video offers a more authentic experience for users who may have grown tired of mindlessly swiping for hours on profile pictures that frankly start to look the same after a while. Not to mention, online dating is plagued with scammers, catfishing and ghosting, making it even more difficult to find your soul mate.
This week AapkaDost looked at three new video-based dating startups that are using video to connect people ahead of their real-world dates.
Candid launched on February 14 to offer users a new TikTok-style dating app with video profiles to show off your personality. The 45 second videos are recorded in the app so potential matches know the video was recently taken and is authentic.
Meanwhile, other dating apps allow users to upload videos to their dating profiles from their camera roll or social media, so the videos could be several years old or may have been taken from another person. Hinge recently launched video-specific prompts, which require users to record in the app.
Candid works in a similar way to Hinge’s new feature. Users can choose different prompts such as “Why I love my pet,” “A recent shower thought,” “Perfect first date,” and “Freestyle,” a prompt that allows users to talk about anything they want.
You can also choose different categories to appear at the bottom of the video, which allows the algorithm to rank the potential matches with similar interests higher in the deck, matching users with like-minded people. For example, you can choose from different values, interests, and goals, be it cooking, nature, spirituality, religion, etc. The categories appear as hashtags that move across the bottom of the screen.
Candid users can vote for other video profiles and select the most “creative”, “stunning”, “funny” or “candid” post. The videos with the most votes or comments will have a banner at the top that says “#1 Creative”, and so on.
In the future, Candid plans to launch features such as retouch filters on video profiles and the ability to video chat with potential matches.
Candid co-founder Sharon He created the app because she was experiencing online dating fatigue herself, swiping through hundreds of profiles and going on hundreds of horrible first dates — 155 dates, to be exact.
“I got this idea after trying Tinder, Hinge, Bumble, and many other apps on and off for nearly three years. I’ve been on 155 first dates,” he told AapkaDost. “Candid is based on all the frustrations I experienced myself.” She actually met her co-founder, Kyle Kelly, on Bumble, who bonded with He about how they wanted to reimagine the online dating game.
Currently, Candid is focusing on marketing its app to colleges in the San Francisco Bay Area, such as UC Berkley and the University of San Francisco. However, the dating app has launched in the US and is available for download by anyone. It is available on the App Store and Google Play Store.
Video chat is generally a great way for users to meet online dates. There are plenty of video chat dating apps out there, including Hulah, Zepeel, Lovoo, Clover, and Filteroff, among others.
We’ve also seen video speed dating apps become more and more popular among companies looking to change the online dating game.
Even major tech company Meta dipped its toes in the space and tested a video speed dating service called Sparked. However, Meta dropped the experiment last year after it couldn’t get enough traction.
Video speed dating, however, remains an interesting concept for users who may want to meet their potential matches face-to-face digitally first so they can find out if the person is who they say they are before going on an in-person date. It also allows users to quickly find out who to have a conversation with. Video speed dating apps typically limit the duration of each conversation to less than five minutes – which is helpful if you don’t want to make an excuse to end the conversation when you don’t feel like it.
Ditto, for example, hosted its first live video speed dating session for users living in New York City on Feb. 13 at 8 p.m. ET.
Formerly known as Iso Date, Ditto is the startup’s new video speed dating app where users can have three-minute speed dating sessions via live video chat. Sessions take place every Tuesday from 8pm to 9pm ET. Please note that there is currently a limit of 30-40 people per session, but this may change in the future.
Ditto is currently only available to users in New York. The company plans to roll out the app in Toronto and Los Angeles by the end of April or May, with future expansion in international cities in the UK, Germany, France and Australia.
Before the user joins the session, they can select their preferences: age, gender, sexuality and interests. Once the event begins, a host will greet the user and explain how Ditto works before connecting the user to a live video call where they can speak to a potential match.
Each video call lasts three minutes, allowing users to meet up to 20 potential matches during the hour-long session. Ditto also has a $19.99 membership, “Ditto Deluxe”, which includes a “Stop the Clock” feature that allows users to pause the date during the session and extend the video chat.
At the end of each conversation, users have the option to “Like” or “Pass”. They can also rate each other by selecting prompts such as ‘Can hold a conversation’, ‘Funny’, ‘Serious’, etc. If it is a match, the user can further connect through the in-app messaging feature or a longer video set up chat date.
Ditto is also partnering with outside organizations to host video speed dating events in the future, which will be centered around shared interests, such as yoga, dogs and more. Ultimately, Ditto wants to host networking sessions and sessions for people to meet new friends, similar to what Bumble has done with Bumble BFF and Bumble Bizz.
However, some users may be hesitant to use video chat based dating apps as it raises the question of safety. Let’s face it, no one looking for an online relationship wants to feel like they’re on Omegle or Chatroulette. That’s why Ditto uses AI to detect nudity or harmful images like a swastika tattoo. Ditto co-founder and CRO Luke Connolly told AapkaDost that the AI technology creates a short recording of the inappropriate video to help the company further investigate the issue, then disables the video feed. The person is then banned and their account deleted, he explained to AapkaDost.
Ditto also has a reporting feature that users can use at any time to report an incident involving another user.
It can be downloaded from the App Store and Google Play Store.
Another video chat-based dating app, IRLY (I Really Like You), launches on February 28. IRLY is aimed at Gen Z and lets users video chat with a potential match and play in-app games like “Truth or Dare”, “Would You Rather” and more.
There are also conversational cues like “The strangest food combination I enjoy is…”, “The first thing on my bucket list is…” or “The most ridiculous thing I believed as a kid is…”, so folks have different ways to break the ice.
Users have the option to switch between “Live Mode”, which immediately starts a video call with a potential match based on your preferences, and “Classic Mode”, which allows users to send matches and schedule a video chat for a later time. IRLY also gives users the option to chat with video messages.
While IRLY is not available at launch, it is working to launch audio messages, virtual gifts, video profiles, and paid features. It’s also working on implementing an AI feature that detects nudity or other inappropriate content (which shouldn’t have been an afterthought!). We were told that a reporting and moderation system will be available at launch.
IRLY was founded in 2021 by Canadian-based university students Connor Rose and Laura Rollock. Social media influencer Cameron Dallas joined as a co-founder in November 2022.
“Dating apps are the most common way to meet people today, but they often fall short of delivering real and meaningful connections,” Dallas told AapkaDost. “We are solving solutions based on a foundation of video chat-based communication that allows users to see and hear each other before meeting in person and break the ice with fun and engaging games. We believe this adds the human element to dating apps that people are currently missing.”
Of course, these apps aren’t the first to use video. Tinder, Hinge, Bumble, and Badoo are some of the big players that have been riding the video wave for years, launching features like video-based profile prompts and live video chat. Smaller startups have also experimented with different ways to shoot video, such as Snack, Desti, and Feels.