News, Insights and Stories from the Australian and New Zealand tech ecosystem.

Startup woos the romantically challenged

No matter what advocates say, many people still find dating sites downright embarrassing. Some users worry that an acquaintance may stumble upon their profile and spread the secret. In a case of reverse-disruption, a quirky new startup, Woo!, is set to transform the modern-day dating scene with an old-school style “social club for the romantically challenged”.

Unlike matchmaking apps like Tinder, or online dating sites like RSVP or eHarmony, Woo! wants to bring back traditional customs like calling cards and the shy glance across a crowded room.

Soft launching on Valentine’s Day, the startup will be creating opportunities for singles with common interests to get together for a shot at romance at a range of events at Sydney’s bars, restaurants and festivals, along with other social activities. Woo! is different because there are no member profiles, no uncomfortable five minute interviews à la speed-dating, and no promise of scientific matching algorithms.

Alison Wrbik, Founder of Woo! said in the media release, “Online dating can be a shallow and superficial process. It can also be really time intensive trying to find someone who sparks your interest.”

“We believe that many single people are looking for an alternative to online dating but lack options. We developed Woo! to create something new and establish a better way of meeting other single people in a fun and stress-free environment.“

Screen Shot 2014-02-11 at 7.24.37 pm
Source: Supplied by Woo!

Richie Powell, of Brown Paper Wine, who provides the lubrication for a number of Woo! events said, “Going to a Woo! event is like having a great night out with your mates, except they’re conveniently all single. It’s ideal for us lazy men who don’t like the admin involved in online dating and can’t find a profile pic that isn’t incriminating!”

Going to highly orchestrated, singles events isn’t high on everyone’s list of favourite ways of finding romance, or spending their Friday night. To combat the awkwardness that many singles feel at these events, Woo! has developed an application process which seeks to maintain a member base with common interests. This way, singles can just show up and enjoy a good time with like-minded people. In fact, the application process specifies ‘no zombies’ to ensure no-one is forced to endure boring small talk.

“Rather than copy the model of a traditional dating service, we decided to adopt the exclusivity model of a social club. To ensure that our members get the most out of our service, we ensure that we’re only accepting people within a certain age range and a certain location range; and while we’re not promising any profile matching we do try to attract members with shared interests,” Wrbik said in the media release.

“Our aim is to make a Woo! event feel just like a great night out with your friends.”

The startup is set to bring back the “gentle art of wooing”, and has a selection of events planned for their members to make magic happen.

Membership to Woo! is free across length of their beta release. For more information or to apply, visit joinwoo.com.au.





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