How did you come up with the idea for FROME?

I think my generation was the last that had a taste of what dating was like before dating apps, but also were the first generation that dating apps were marketed to. They first started becoming popular around the mid 2010s, really hitting a stride in 2016 and this is when I had just moved to NYC at 26 year old. Prior to moving to the city, whenever I saw someone I was interested in, I would just approach them and take my shot. Part of the beauty of this method was that it was so organic and you had so much real emotion towards the first encounter. You also went into knowing there is a chance you can get rejected, which you needed to be ok with and only ever built character.  

But when I moved into Manhattan, the dating app stigma that they were only used by people who didn’t have the confidence to meet IRL was shattered as I realised people were just so busy and technology had become such a big part of our lives that it was kind of a natural migration. So, like everyone else, I joined the crowd. However, I started to quickly realise that no one really liked their experiences with dating apps. Every time I would talk to a friend or go on a date that person would just complain about them, so I started to get really curious and wanted to figure out why. The obvious answer to me was that it was because the whole encounter wasn’t organic, but I wanted to hear what others had to say. I started getting women’s feedback on their pain points and I started to think of how I can come up with a way that allows people to use dating apps but make the experience more organic.

What gap in the market are you trying to fill with FROME?

One of the big frustrations people seem to have is that dating apps get very overwhelming. With varied intentions and levels of interest/action.

We are trying to bridge the gap between keeping dating organic and people having the ease and comfortability of technology. It’s truly a delicate balance, but below I will explain how we achieve this by being a bit different in the best ways . 

What makes FROME stand out in your opinion?

I think FROME has a few key differentiators that make us stand out. The first issue we solve is the endless amount of conversations other apps allow, and the mindset of looking for the “next best thing” that usually is associated with it. There are so many options on dating apps that people are never satisfied and they are always looking for something better, no matter how great the current person they are talking to is. In my opinion it’s a part of the problem with society today. The way we solve this is that users on FROME can only have one confirmed date per day. And that kind of bleeds into the second way we are different. On our app, users don’t just like one another and match. Instead they send actual date requests to the person they are interested in. Through all my research, I found that women in particular were very frustrated that men didn’t take the initiative to plan a date. So we give the users the tools to do this by picking a drink, time and place inside the app. If the two users agree to the date details, then they go in the calendar and have a date for that day. This way, all of your energy and attention is on one person for that date. 

Tell us your story as an entrepreneur and founder

What is the most valuable lesson you’ve learned along the way?

The most valuable lesson I’ve learned is that you need to enjoy the process. If your goal is a brand of great substance that actually wants to make a difference, you need to have a solid foundation and you need to keep growing at a slow and steady pace. Of course I would love the app to grow as fast as possible. However sometimes that strategy can be a flash in the pan type of situation ( which if that’s what you are looking for, great ) but we want to build a brand for the long hall and foster a community for our users. 

What do you think is going to be the most difficult obstacle for FROME?

There are always so many difficult obstacles when you are trying to be a disruptor in a certain space. But I would say one of the most difficult ones for us is building a big enough user base of people who actually are genuine and want to go on a date. Not only are we trying to get users to retrain their brains about the current format of dating apps, but we are also trying to lure them away or at least compare us to apps that have way bigger budgets and a way bigger head start when it comes to marketing and creating their communities. We know we hit a nerve and people love what we are doing, we see that through not only feedback but in app activity. But until you have millions of users you need to work very hard to help people believe in your product and spread that word of mouth for you.

What’s wrong with the dating app world today in your opinion?

There are so many that the answer to this question could go on for days. And it’s not so much of what is wrong with other apps because I do think each app is beneficial and has its place. Instead, I think the problem is how people use them. The most important issue in my mind is that there’s a miscommunication of what both users (the two trying to match) want. I always tell people that our app is different in the sense that it’s made for people who actually want to meet in real life and go on a date. So that both people know that the other is serious about setting up a date, just by being our app. You would be surprised but a lot of people on dating apps actually never have the intention of meeting in real life, due in large part to suffering from social anxiety. Most of the time, it has nothing to do with being disrespectful or rude. But more to do with people being comfortable and validated behind a screen when they may not feel as commutable and confident in person. So they avoid the IRL interaction as much as they can. And when users are not on the same page that is when the pen pals and endless connections start to increase because one of those two people are not aligned with the other. We then tend to treat matches as numbers and not as people. Another reason why it is important to not take rejection on a dating app personally. Also statistically, people who have the most options on the apps are the most dissatisfied. Because no matter how great the connection is they are always looking to see who is next.