More than half of Millennials say they are single, and for them, the hunt for love is increasingly mobile. As dating apps have become more popular, they’ve also gotten more niche, narrowing in to help young users find just who they’re looking for.
Valentine’s Day is around the corner, and 54% of Millennials say they’re single. Of those, 26% say they’d rather be in a relationship. Of course, for Millennials hunting for love has changed a lot, even in the last few years. Online dating has gone from having a stigma to being the norm, especially in larger cities, and since we wrote about it last year, mobile dating tools have continued to gain popularity. Our most recent monthly survey found 20% of Millennials ages 18-32 say they have tried a “meet up app” like Tinder, compared to just 11% who said they did so in early 2014. The “left swipe, right swipe” mentality has permeated popular culture and is being applied to more than just dating. Dating apps have become the go-to for many single Millennials, whether they’ve just moved to a new city and want to make some friends, they’re looking for love, or just wanting to have some fun. As they’ve become more common, more and more niche dating apps have emerged, some of them providing solutions for some of the issues users are finding on more popular apps. Here a few unexpected, niche apps that are narrowing in to facilitate friendship, flings, and love for young users:
Referred to as the “Sadie Hawkins” of online dating, bumble says they are “changing the rules of the game.” The idea that guys are supposed to make the first move when it comes to dating still applies somewhat to online and mobile dating, and for female users, messages can quickly turn into harassment. Many users play with Tinder as a game, resulting in even more unwanted messages for girls. Bumble, which uses almost the same exact interface as Tinder, puts all the power in its female users’ hands to make interactions feel safer and less, well, icky. Girls must initiate the conversation with their matches, and they must do so within 24 hours, or the match will disappear. The app has garnered buzz by curating a popular Instagram account, which exudes a catchy, sarcastic, and superior tone, and has garnered over 45,000 followers in the past four months. Last week bumble introduced a new feature to help break the ice: photo messaging with the ability to draw or write on the image, making it the only dating app allowing direct photo messages.
Like most dating apps, High There is helping likeminded individuals come together. In this instance, those individuals are just trying to find another nice marijuana enthusiast to spend some time with. Yes, this is the dating app for pot smokers only. The premise behind the app is that while it’s easy to tell your date you love playing tennis, bringing up the fact that you enjoy smoking weed can be a little less comfortable. The Colorado-based startup removes that white elephant from interactions, and even suggests activities for matched pairs. Design wise, High There also emulates Tinder’s build. However, before users start swiping, they’re are asked to answer questions specifying how they like to get high and what they like to do while high, to help facilitate matches with even more like-minded users. High There is not necessarily just a dating app—connections can be made with “new friends, current friends, fellow patients” or of course, “that special someone who understands and supports your choice to consume.”
Just launched in January, The League aims to be the intelligently elitist dating app. Recently raising $2.1 million in funding, the startup is on a mission to curate the most interesting, ambitious and intelligent singles onto one dating platform. Using the hashtag #getmeoffTinder on its social feeds, the app makes it clear that it wants to provide a different experience than your average mobile dating platform—and that experience is somewhat controversial. It promises users only “high quality” matches, and uses an algorithm to accept only the most ambitious, successful users. Rather than drawing information from Facebook, like most apps, The League also uses LinkedIn profile data. To increase privacy, the app hides users’ profiles from friends, business contacts, and coworkers. The app has been met with some harsh reception, for its percieved elitism. However, founder Amanda Bradford takes this critique in stride, saying that its selectiveness is also its selling point. Despite the criticism, and mockery, The League has managed to secure a waiting list of 75,000 future users.