CEO Series

Lunch Actually CEO On Dating In The Age Of Tinder: "True Love Happens Offline"

  • In a time and age where technology is enabling singles to meet even more fellow singles than ever, it’s easy to get caught up with an endless swipe-text-ghost cycle.
  • Lunch Actually Group’s CEO recently took to the stage to share what dating apps and algorithms don’t tell us, and why true love actually happens offline.

Technology has successfully brought together countless of connections. However, dating apps are corporations. The technology created is meant to maximise revenues, profits, app usage and keep you online as long as possible.

While the statement above would get many heads nodding in agreement, what may be surprising is that this came from the founder of the Lunch Actually Group, a pioneer dating company in Asia with tech-centric products.

Founded in 2004 in Singapore by husband-wife duo Violet Lim and Jamie Lee, the Group has a range of services.

Image Credit: Lunch Actually

Lunch Actually, their matchmaking service for those looking to meet eligible singles offline; LunchClick, their dating app; and eSynchrony, a mix of both online dating and a personal matchmaker.

As an ‘add-on’, they also have Lunch Actually Academy, which provides coaching services for singles who are looking to improve their dating skills and their image.

Now a regional brand, they expanded to Malaysia in 2005, Hong Kong in 2007, Thailand in 2007, Indonesia in 2014.

In 2016, the group raised a 7-digit Series A round of funding from Japanese social networking service and publisher mixi, and Fatfish Internet Group, a Southeast Asian and Australian-based ventures investment and development firm. Then, the group’s revenue had grown by more than 500% since 2011.

May 2017 marked the group’s acquisition of Indonesia’s biggest online dating serviceSetipe, for an undisclosed sum.

Last year, they launched Viola.AI, a “Siri with empathy” that incorporates cryptocurrency and AI to help match potential couples and even tracks their progress after they start dating by suggesting places to eat, reminding them of dates, or giving them advice on relationship problems.

In spite of tech being a main driver behind their products, the group still stays loyal to its core – that true love happens offline.

Be The Right One In Order To Find The Right One

Recently, Lunch Actually Group co-founder Violet Lim took to the stage at TEDxNTU, and spoke about her personal experience with dating, along with what she feels about dating services in the market now.

“Many singles believe they are single because they have a meeting problem,” she said.

To demonstrate the point, Violet revealed that many female users of her dating service tend to want a guy who’s 1.75m and above.

I remember asking a 1.5m lady, ‘Why do you need someone who’s so tall?’ She said, ‘Violet, so I can still wear my 6 inches high heels and rest my head on his shoulders.’

Drawing laughter from the audience, she carried on, saying that while many tend to focus on superficial criteria during the dating process, what’s more important is “looking out for significant criteria that would build and sustain a long-term and meaningful relationship”.

More than that, she reminds that a relationship is not a one-way street, and that to find and choose the ‘right one’, one needs to be the ‘right one’ in the first place.

“Do we have the right mindset and the right skillset to attract the right one when we meet him or her?”

“Do Not Leave Your Love Life To Algorithms Alone”

Violet then brought up how guys “have it worse” especially on dating apps, where the gender balance is typically 70% male and 30% female.

“A famous dating app recently revealed that in order to maximise the number of matches that they can make, they would not show Boy 1 to Girl 1 even though they have a 90% match. Instead, they will show Boy 1 to Girl 2, and Boy 2 to Girl 1 who have a 70% match rate,” she stated.

“By doing this, they can now match 4 people instead of 2.”

From a mathematical and business perspective, this makes complete sense.

She added that while technology has successfully brought together countless of connections, dating apps are, at their core, corporations.

Ones that were created to “maximise revenues, profits, app usage and keep [users] online as long as possible”.

Image Credit: Giphy

“Strange as it sounds, whether an individual dater succeeds or not, that’s not always their no.1 priority.”

And as convenient as messaging a potential match on dating apps is, she stated that it actually adds on to the “complexity and confusion” of love and dating in this time and age, where emoticons, replies, and questions are used to “judge and scrutinise” the opposite party.

Violet then tied that philosophy back to Lunch Actually’s unwavering focus on bringing dates offline – even if the connection was initially formed online.

When you meet in person, you are not just another image to be swiped right or left. You are not just another pixel that is manipulated to look attractive.

“Use technology for what it has to offer. But, please do not leave your love life to algorithms alone. Do not get sucked into the vortex of swiping and chatting because dating that stays online stays superficial.”

“Because what dating apps and algorithms do not tell you is… true love happens offline.”

Watch the full TEDxNTU talk here:

 

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