Wednesday, June 3

Eatability Founders Launch New App To Bring Rating To Dating

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The duo behind Eatability, the highly successful website which was the first to allow people to rate Australian restaurants a decade ago, is bringing rating to dating in a bid to tackle online harassment head on. Their dating app, Pair, launched today for iPhone, is designed to bring respect and honesty back to dating.
Celeste and Hui Ong were the founders of the Eatability food guide that was acquired by Optus in 2012 for $6 million. Through research, the couple identified a gap in the dating industry.
“Online dating has grown to become a $1.8 billion market due to the rise of smartphones. However, there are many frustrations that need to be solved such as harassment, unwanted messaging, out of date profiles, and scams,” said Ms Ong, Co-founder of dating app Pair.
A remarkable 57% of women and 21% of men reported experiences of harassment in online dating, according to a 2016 U.S. survey by Consumers’ Research*. Furthermore, findings from a Norton by Symantec study in 2016, has revealed that a staggering 76% of Australian women under the age of 30 have experienced some form of online harassment.
Online harassment is a difficult problem and the couple found that they needed to develop a unique feedback system into their dating service along with sophisticated matching algorithms. Due to the sale of Eatability, the Ongs were in a position to be able to fund the startup independently.
 “The dating industry is a very competitive space that has seen a lot of startup failures. Funding ourselves gave us the time to understand this industry, to avoid common pitfalls, and to validate our ideas. As we have had the time to do it right, we believe our app will make a difference for those looking for love but wanting a little respect,” explained Ms Ong.
Pair combats against harassment with the goal of crafting a dating experience where people feel respected and safe. It sports a unique feedback and rating system, which allows members to give each other a thumbs up or down for behaviour, whether they are safe to be around, and whether their profiles and photos are accurate. In addition, members are rewarded for being more responsive, behaving well and being active on the service. The reward comes in the form of prioritising a member’s profile when they are shown to other members.

“Pair has nailed some key challenges that modern singles face. Over the years, online harassment in dating has been on the rise and is now a real problem. Giving people the ability to provide feedback on whether your date has communicated or behaved badly will help to reduce these problems and keep everyone accountable”, said David Evans of Digicraft, a dating industry consultancy.

Alongside crafting a dating community that brings back social etiquette, the app innovates with features such as matching by passions, and Ava – a time saving assistant that helps members hone in on compatible matches based on their must haves, deal breakers and preferences.
Pair is free to download in the iOS App Store. Matching via photos is a free feature, and there is a trial period when matching via interests, or via Ava, the digital assistant. An in-app purchase subscription is available to enable all features.
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About Author

Paul Towers is a passionate supporter of the Australian startup ecosystem and the Founder of Startup Soda. Originally, Startup Soda was solely a newsletter that helped curate the best content from the Australian startup community, more recently however it has turned into a media platform with the aim of improving coverage of Australian Startups, Founders and VC's.

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