On the list of things you’d expect comedian Norm Macdonald to do—a list you’re fastidiously keeping—“co-creating a dating app” is nowhere to be found. It’s so far off the list, filled with entries like “side-kicking for Adam Sandler” and “nabbing his own Netflix show,” that it would be hard to believe if I weren’t telling you for a fact that it was, indeed, true.
“One evening I went over to my friend Norm [Macdonald]’s house to vent about my recent first dates that went nowhere,” serial entrepreneur Vivek Jain recalls. “Norm wanted to get to the bottom of this so we talked until we figured it out. And we realized the problem was first dates. They rarely go well. It seemed like an inefficient use of time—when free time was so precious to begin with.”
Thus, Loko was born. It’s a video-based dating app that places an emphasis on getting you face-to-face with a match, as opposed to messaging them your entire life story only to find that they, say, have skipped town, or look nothing like the person in their profile.
“I think the existing dating apps have a place for many singles, but there is a void when looking at the 30+ age demographic who are looking for committed relationships based on a real, meaningful connections,” Jain says. “This demographic doesn’t have time to waste on first dates that aren’t enjoyable or text exchanges that go on for weeks—that may or may not result in a face-to-face date.”
Here’s how Loko works. First, you’ll create a video-only profile—a “Hello” video, which is an eight-second max introduction, and an optional “About Me” video, which can run up to 30 seconds. (Every profile is approved by an administrator before going live, so you don’t have to worry about them being, how should we put this, porn-y.)
With your profile complete, you’ll swipe through potential matches, as you would with other dating apps, watching their videos and liking or not-liking to your heart’s content. Once a connection is made, you’ll have 24 hours to schedule a virtual “Elimidate” in the app (within the next 24 hours), lest you be unmatched and lose said match forever. The “Elimidate” is essentially a pre-date interview: an up-to-15-minute video chat with your match, more or less designed to cut to the chase. Can you actually see yourself with this person or not?
If you don’t agree to exchange contact information or meet following the call, you won’t be able to match or communicate with each other via the app ever again. This is to nudge you into actually making plans—or at least deciding whether or not you’d like to actually make plans.
The whole thing might remind you of those ‘90s-era video dating services (think: Singles), updated for the digital age. That’s kind of the point.
“We believe singles in 2018 are ready for video dating,” Jain says, noting that the medium curbs the pratfalls of other dating apps, like catfishing. “It’s a perfect mix of bringing technology together with old fashioned dating charm—where human interaction and personality are the root of making real connections.”
Loko launched this month in the US and Canada—with unrestricted geographical boundaries—although they’re focusing their marketing efforts on New York, Los Angeles and Las Vegas to start. It’s available in the app store and Google Play. Get ready for your close-up...