Internet dating has been an established part of the dating scene for many years now and the increasing use of AI in this sector has seen match-making become more accurate and customised.
The evolution of this technology has given birth to apps such as Tinder and grabbed the attention of millennials in particular. As augmented reality (AR) technology improves – driven by the likes of Pokémon Go – one innovative start-up is seeking to grab a stake of the lucrative “relationship” market with its own unique approach.
FlirtAR is a new app that is looking to introduce AR into the dating environment and we took some time to speak with co-founder and COO of the company, Anderson Gobbi to find out a little more about the technology.
Can you tell us a little about FlirtAR?
“FlirtAR is about connecting people in the real world, making dating simple and in real-time. We combined two innovative technologies to provide the real experience we want to drive: augmented reality (AR) and real-time geolocation. We see a lot of the same out there, and we wanted to create a distinguished and disruptive experience to empower the users with empathy and innovation.
“Imagine you are walking on the Santa Monica pier and you suddenly see someone you’d like to know better? Open the FlirtAR app using the AR experience, and if he or she is registered, we’ll show you their name, age, interests, depending upon how that user has configured their profile and permissions. The person you would like to meet will get a notification, and if they are interested, just start a conversation! Because you have access to the individual’s profile, starting a conversation is as easy as saying “I also love hiking and volunteering.”
What was your motivation for creating the app?
“Renan Godinho, our CEO and youngest co-founder created the concept based on his own experience while single and looking for the “right one”. The other dating apps were not working out too well for him and he kept seeing a girl around his college campus but didn’t know how to approach her. He knew he wanted to meet her, but he didn’t feel confident enough to go up to her. He hadn’t found the right moment. As he kept seeing this girl, he jotted down his idea of the perfect dating app. He wanted to meet her in real time, a place they were both at, and maybe even learn something about her before going up to her and striking up a conversation. That was his motivation to create FlirtAR.”
What part of the technology is unique to you?
“Definitely the combination of augmented reality (AR) with user profile layer and real-time geolocation. There are many dating apps out there providing more of the same: a gamification process to generate profit. We want FlirtAR to be the icebreaker of connecting people. We want to enable the platform, and our team, to learn as we move forward using empathy to listen and focus on the WHY. Thus, providing a unique user experience.”
What makes you believe there is a market for this app?
“Dating apps are a $5B market and today there are nearly 91M dating app users around the world. What makes FlirtAR unique is the introduction of the augmented reality component. This enhances the real world experience in addition to the layers of interactive information to engage the audience and provide a much better user experience. The AR technology also expands our reach to the VR/AR audience market, with 108M users and predictions of reaching $80B by 2020.”
Do you believe the world is ready for dating with AR?
“Yes, I believe augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) are the major technologies to compose the upcoming computing platforms. While the consumer space may not be ready to fully emerge there, there are many indications the technology is evolving to provide a better experience on the way we interact with our digital lives. I believe the enterprise and consumer space will be soon ruled by AR and VR experience with the increase of wearable devices. A dating app like FlirtAR adds the human layer on top of this experience, where the virtual objects become real people interacting with the purpose of getting connected.”
How long has the app been live?
“We are around about 8 months old. The iOS version of the app was released back in October 2017 and the Android version in December 2017.”
What has the reaction to FlirtAR been?
“We see an outstanding reaction from the users with a 4.7 rate on Apple store and amazing reviews about the app experience using AR. That, combined with a very positive response and press endorsement, gives us the opportunity to continuously invest in our dream. The dating app market is not an easy one to compete in and our biggest challenge today is increasing adoption and maintaining a high number of active users.”
Do you see the technology being able to satisfy other markets outside of dating?
“The future is absolutely related to AR. Smartphones are not a natural device for the human beings and the evolution is going to be on wearables and different concepts of mobiles. The common denominator is that AR and real-time geolocation will be there and we are very well positioned in all these areas.”
I came away from the interview fully aware of the potential of FlirtAR but strangely more enthused about the opportunities the technology offered in other sectors. Going beyond dating, the application of AR around business and social events – in fact, anything that could help you locate other like-minded persons – is a well we have barely dipped into.
Conversely, for all its obvious benefits, there was something that made me uneasy about other users of an app being able to find me in a crowd. But then I guess that’s the point of FlirtAR in the end. It makes it easier than ever for us to be found or to find that potential life partner we all seem to be looking for.
Flirtar, Inc. is an early stage start-up founded in Silicon Valley and based in Los Angeles, CA. The company was founded by Anderson Gobbi, Glauter Jannuzzi and Renan Godinho, and today counts a team of 10 talent people and 4 advisors. If you would like to learn more about the technology then visit the FlirtAR website here.