Singles in their 20s and 30s, for the most part, have their bases covered when it comes to dating apps and websites. From Tinder to Coffee Meets Bagel, there are ample choices for hooking up, going on dates and forming lasting, committed relationships. Yet, singles in their 40s (and up) aren’t that fortunate and are in need of a whole new product.
At least that’s the contention of LoveBeginsAt, a platform specifically designed for what the folks behind the platform say is a neglected set of daters. LoveBeginsAt recently launched and is promoting its niche focus in full force. As such, I spoke to representatives from the company and went to the local launch party to discover more.
My main curiosity: What’s the big difference between the wants and needs of someone who’s hit 40 in finding a soulmate versus someone who has yet to reach that milestone. (Although it’s probably important to keep in mind the mentality of Mr. Jay-Z that 40 is, in fact, the new 30)
Danielle Coe, who’s with Shift Communications, the firm that’s handling marketing and promotions, told me that the 40 demographic tends to get left out. Tinder—and I’d argue Hinge and any other quick-hit swiping-style app—isn’t really for them, she says.
“(By 40) you’ve reached a level of sophistication you may not have in your 30s,” she says. “You spend your 20s and 30s chasing a career, traveling. Forty is the time when they want to settle down.”
Funny. I’d heard the same for the philosophy when someone crosses over from 20 to 30. But maybe things really kick into high gear as the so-called middle section of life approaches.
The brains behind LoveBeginsAt is a company called Cupid.com. It’s not to be confused with similarly named OKCupid. The Edinburgh-based company has had lots of success in the UK with a more general, all-ages dating app. Coe says the company didn’t want to stop across the pond and decided to tap into a niche in the U.S. that wasn’t getting as much action as others like religion, race and hobbies.
Though LoveBeginsAt is now available across the country, the company zeroed in on the three biggest singles markets for the set in their 40s. And you guessed it: the D.C. area made the cut along with San Francisco and New York.
I was surprised to find that the video that LoveBeginsAt created to explain the thrust of the product is actually funny. So check that out. But here are a handful of other quick things to know as an introduction:
1. It all started with research.
The powers-that-be commissioned a survey to better understand daters in their 40s and build a digital experience customized to this subset. The fact that a website was the right route was actually justified by the research. What I mean by this is that the tide is turning in terms of attitude. They found that 79 percent of singles 40 and up would “be quick to say they met their dates online.” That probably would not have been the case a few years ago when both people would have conspired on a more socially-acceptable meeting tale.
2. Pricing options run the gamut from free to, well, not free.
Like many dating sites out there the first step is signing up and uploading a profile. This is free. There’s really a lot that can be done gratis, including browsing by geographic area and even messaging with potential mates. Paid membership adds on more perks and possibilities for glossier, slicker profiles that, I would think, would make singles stand out in the pack. These upgrades are things like private messaging and unlimited search and browsing. The normal price for all of this, I’m told is $29 per month for a one-month commitment. And then for longer-term commitments the monthly fee goes down slowly. There’s currently a special $12-per-month newcomer special, so act fast to take advantage.
3. Offline is as important as online.
Match is doing it. By “it” I mean trying to take digital interactions and then giving users a means of meeting in real-life via events. Right off the bat LoveBeginsAt is making these in-person events a central part of the brand. They’ve even teamed up with Dishcrawl, an events planning startup, to handle the events. So members of the community—and even those who want to just show up at events and not create profiles—can do things like drink cocktails and dine at celebrity chef pop-up dinners. Coe touted to me that fact that they’re striving for an even mix of men and women at each gathering. In her words: “We want to make it a natural experience instead of screaming, “Single, single, single.”’
4. A panel of dating experts comes along for the ride.
Head to LoveBeginsAt’s blog and you’ll find a bevvy of subject matter experts on various aspects of relationships that the company has retained. They come from across the country and specialize in topics that would help singles fare better in the sometimes scary world online. For instance there’s an expert in profiles. A photographer is an expert in profile photos. Another woman is an authority in etiquette, and there’s a fashion guru. Along with writing regular posts about their designated subjects each expert can be tapped by LoveBeginsAt daters for more specific questions and queries. Coming soon, Coe says the experts also will allow singles to set up Google Hangout appointments with expert for live consultations.
The part of the equation missing at the moment: males. All of the current experts are female. The hope is to reel in a man (or a few men) who could counsel other single males on fitness and fashion specific to their gender. As with finding speed daters and in the case of in-person events, getting men to the party has proven to be tougher than doing the same for ladies.
5. “Digital platform” means site and apps.
Very basic but key is that LoveBeginsAt comes in the form of a website and an app for either Android or iPhone. Usually the tendency is for companies to go one route more than other. In my mind they, as any brand these days, should be everywhere.
What do you think the chances of a dedicated brand for daters in their 40s stands? I’d love to hear from you.