Think Dating Apps Are All the Same? Think Again

November 8, 2016

Anyone who’s been in the dating pool in the last few years knows the days of blind dates, a meet-cute at the grocery store, or (shudder) a drunk glance around the bar at last call are long gone. According to the Pew Research Center, although just 5% of Americans say they met their current squeeze online, a whopping 27% of adults aged 18-24 say they’ve used an online dating site or mobile dating apps.

While we’re sure you’re familiar with Tinder, Hinge, and Bumble, have you heard of Qualify? It’s an up-and-coming contender in the dating world and is Boulder-based. The start-up was founded by a group of CU students who felt disenchanted by the superficiality of apps like Tinder, and the one-size-fits-all questionnaires from more traditional dating sites like Match. According to the Daily Camera, Qualify’s creators were hoping to provide more than just a hookup—they wanted to foster a convenient way for users to find potential matches using their own individual interests as a guide. Think of it as Tinder meets OK Cupid meets Trivia Crack. Check out their promotional video below to see how Qualify works:

[embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8s3LYan4P_k&feature=youtu.be[/embed]

The app is only available to Colorado college students who attend the major universities in the state (users need to enter their school email address in order to sign up). Keenan Olsen with Qualify says that feature adds an extra sense of trust and security among potential daters on campus. “[Security] is still one of the biggest problems students have in other dating apps.”

Recently, Colorado PERA sponsored the Esprit Venture Challenge in partnership with the Boulder Chamber at their annual Esprit Entrepreneur event. The challenge pits entrepreneurs looking to fund their start-ups against one another in a live pitch contest. The prize? A check for $10,000 from the Boulder Chamber, looking good in front of a room of potential investors and customers, and of course, the glory of victory.

When the dust settled after what proved to be a tough competition between other finalists including the education focused Class Composer and the device management start-up Bear Systems, Qualify was named the winner. Olsen says Qualify was excited to participate, and thrilled to win.

“The Esprit Venture Challenge was one of the biggest moments so far throughout the Qualify journey and is something we are very grateful for winning. The level of competition and energy felt in every other start-up involved and in all rounds of the challenge show exactly why it’s the right place and right time to be starting a business in Boulder.”

The Qualify team plans to use the $10,000 prize to support a marketing effort, and hire students at other campuses to help grow the app’s user base even more. We’re expecting big things from Qualify in the future, and here's hoping their innovations make dating apps an even better experience for young singles.