Dating app Filteroff is bringing its community dating app to the Art Dubai festival this month, which covers art from over 100 galleries and 40 countries.
Apps such as Filteroff, Tinder, OKCupid or Islamic-oriented muzmatch challenge traditional matches in Arab society where families tend to arrange marriages.
Instead, these apps offer lonely hearts an array of potential partners, all at their fingertips.
New York-based Filteroff is new to the Gulf dating scene as sponsor of Art Dubai from March 11-13.
Filteroff says it differs from other dating apps because it’s event-based, which means people looking for romance can find each other based on mutual interests, such as art, music, hobbies or even religion.
“You create your profile and then you can choose from many virtual events available, which can be arts-based, or festival- or holiday-related,” co-founder and CEO Zach Schleien told Arab News.
He added, “Then once you respond and confirm you will be there, we schedule you up to 10 video speed dates, which are about three minutes each to break the ice.
“After each date ends, we ask you if you like each other. Then you move on to your next date. When the event ends, you see if you have any matches. If you do, you can then message or video chat with these matches.
The CEO said Filteroff takes a more community-based approach to dating, unlike the endless swiping of most apps. This, combined with the fact that potential matches are filtered and selected by Filteroff, means that scammers are prevented – at least to some extent – from hiding behind fake profiles.
Schleien launched Filteroff in February 2020 and said the business had been boosted by the pandemic, given that most events around the world at the height of the health crisis had to be held online.
Co-founder Brian Weinreich came on board in October of the same year, and the two managed to raise $2.4m (SR9m) in seed funding in 2021.
The lead investor was “a well-known beverage company” along with several angel investors, all former employees of Airbnb, Tinder and Google Schleien.
He added: “This investment is all about marketing and people. Building our team – which is currently three – and really accelerating our growth.
Filteroff’s business model is based on two revenue streams.
Schleien said: “We have a paid matchmaking service. Our matchmakers will match you with up to four people each day, depending on your preferences. And you can also create your own event and sell tickets, and Filteroff gets commission from ticket sales.
The company won’t reveal its number of active users, but according to Schleien, it has hosted more than 10,000 virtual events.
He also claimed that “our match rate is about two and a half times that of Tinder.” Filteroff says its users match about 23% of the time.
With Tinder, the match rate is around 0.6% among men, according to a 2016 study from Queen Mary University of London in the UK, while women are more selective, achieving a higher match rate. by 10%.
Schleien added, “Filteroff provides a video-first experience and that’s what leads to higher metrics.”
This has resulted in six marriages to date, Schleien claims — one of which was covered by The New York Times.
“We are now bringing Filteroff to the Gulf region with the Art Dubai event,” said Schleien. “We see the Gulf as a region where the telecommunications infrastructure has really improved. And I think the Gulf region aligns with our brand in terms of family and community values.
However, critics might argue that dating apps of all kinds undermine local traditions, where weddings tend to bring two families together in a planned way, as opposed to two people meeting by chance and falling in love.
Schleien countered that Filteroff is more of a platonic introductory service without the instant connection encouraged by other dating apps.
“With Filteroff, it doesn’t have to be romantic,” Schleien said. “It could just be a monogamous friendship. Our platform is about connecting you with other humans.