Back in the day before dating apps and websites dominated the "looking for love" scene, it was not an uncommon occurrence for people to play the part of matchmaker and essentially 'vouch' for a friend that they were a good catch and 'set them up' with someone else.
The latest endeavor into the dating app universe actually brings that option back into play as the new free app Vouch, which allows singles to invite their closest friends and family to matchmake for them while providing a group chat for everyone to keep on the same page. Through this social approach, singles are connected with higher-quality matches with more potential for serious relationships.
Vouch officially launched with a big party at The Rustic in Uptown. The patio was packed as well in excess of 500 people were on hand for the unveiling of the new app and concert by the Ray Johnston Band.
"About a year ago, Kevin Tinkle and I had this idea," said Austin Eudaly, the Director of Business Development for Vouch and one of the app's co-founders. "We were sitting at the Old Monk and started talking about it and it really sounded like a great idea, enough so that we decided to go after it."
They knew they need help on the back end and development side, so they brought in current CEO Bobby Simpson.
"Bobby knows the tech world," Eudaly continued. "I went to him with the idea, said it was a dating app that's totally different and I thought it was worth pursuing. He did his own research, saw that there was nothing like this and he got really excited and engaged. He had all the connections to put the pieces together for us."
Simpson works in the energy and tech world in New York City and has experience with app development.
"I loved the idea," Simpson said. "I discussed it with some of my friends who are currently involved in app development and mapped out what would be possible. After pitching them on the concept, they were all on board with it."
In a market that seems like it would be flooded at every angle with options ranging from Match.com and E Harmony and to the opposite end of the spectrum with Tinder, the group behind Vouch has found its niche and managed to be a unique player.
"All of those other apps and sites are really created for single people only," Eudaly said. "We felt that the dating app game can be a lonely experience. There's no context into who the people are, so we wanted to create a dating app where your close friends and family actually swipe for you.
"You have your four vouchers, that's kind of your 'Vouch Squad' you can call it," Eudaly continued. "If two of your vouchers swipe right on a girl and two of her vouchers swipe right on you, then it matches you up. If you are the single person, you don't have to do any swiping and you get sourced a high quality match. Hopefully it will be a better experience because your friends are involved."
Vouch also has the feel of a social network as rather than going head-to-head with other apps like Tinder or Bumble, people can join Vouch, create their profile and spend time interacting with their friends and their friends are actually doing most of the work. Since going on dating apps can be very time-consuming, this eases that burden as well.
"Our hope is that you will have higher quality matches," Simpson said. "Your friends are backing you up and their friends are backing them up, so there is a lot of authenticity to it."
In a world where many girls are giving up on dating apps due to getting harassed, being sent inappropriate messages and catfishing, Vouch's design allows the girl to go to a guy's profile and each of the vouchers will have a description of said person. The descriptions help to allow for transparency into the situation.
"This is how dating really works," Simpson said. "A lot of people meet through friends and there's a very strong social component to dating that is not really represented in the dating app space, so for us, this is a step in that direction. A more social environment within a dating app can help people find better relationships."
The setup is pretty basic as you set up your bio, add photos, pick your friends to be vouchers and you are good to go. You can chat with your friends along the way, giving them ideas and telling them what you are looking for and get feedback from them. If you match up with someone and choose to go on a date, the social support is there.
Sean Lowe, known to many from his time on the 17th season of The Bachelor, is an investor in the Vouch app and is also its Director of Marketing.
"Kevin and I have been good friends with Sean for five or six years now, we were actually in his wedding," Eudaly said. "Sean has a lot of experience in the marketing world with branding and when we told him the idea, he really bought in to the concept of having your group of friends being a community around you."
Eudaly, Simpson, Tinkle and Sean and Catherine Lowe got the party underway as they all went up on stage and Eudaly told the huge crowd the story of the Vouch app.
Ray Johnston is also an investor in the Vouch app and shortly after the official launch of the app, his band took the stage and played deep into the night.
The free app is available on mobile devices and at tryvouchapp.com.
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