Love is in the air for the Atlanta startup scene right now.
Last week, Hypepotamus shared the story of Whirl, a Techstars Atlanta-backed app that brings a modern twist to the art of matchmaking. Now, a new type of app is launching to help daters move beyond the photo-centric realities of landing a first date via online dating.
Think of it as an app asking if love is truly blind. Instead of putting photos front and center, Hatched focuses on showing core value or personality similarities.
By deprioritizing the visual aspect of dating apps, CEO Mitch Alterman said the app is about “building matches based off of personality and compatibility hallmarks rather than physical attraction.”
Alterman and COO Sam Lukens met while working at Samara’s Atlanta office. While neither had previously worked on a dating space, Alterman knew he had an idea that brought a fresh perspective to the ecosystem. When Alterman approached Lukens with the Hatched pitch one day at BarTaco on Roswell Road, Lukens told Hypepotamus he was immediately hooked.
“I walked out of that meeting so blown away. I realized this brand is right. It’s simple but it’s a powerful message. And it’s different enough where it’s going to ask users to change their behavior, but not different enough where you’re asking users to break their current model,” Lukens said.
The two co-founders got to work on changing the very premise of most dating apps people are familiar with today.
“Fundamentally, the methodology on any dating app is the same – essentially looking at someone’s picture…and then indicating some sort of interest in that person, usually by swiping or clicking and then double opting in,” said Alterman.
While new dating apps continue to hit the market, Alterman said most of them are just rolling out “marginal new features.” Hatched, on the other hand, wants to be the antithesis to the traditional dating app.
Behind Building Hatched
Alterman said the app beta brought in over 200 people from different age groups who helped prove the no-photo model dating app as something that is “easy and engaging,” added Alterman.
“[Hatched] promotes positivity,” Lukens added. “It’s a more substantive connection that you’re making with a person.”
Hatched is also being intentional with its marketing efforts as it officially launches this week. The website and social channels do not include any photos of people, and the team is relying on guerilla marketing as the app launches.
In terms of growth, Alterman and Lukens bootstrapped the early stages of the app. They opened up a fundraising round to strategic angel investors after the beta test this last July.
“It took a lot of hustle…we had a very robust network and people were really interested in making introductions and hearing us out,” added Alterman. “Fast forward three months and we’re about to close the round and we have have a good amount of funding behind us and it’s going to allow us to do some really, really cool things with Hatched.”
Both investors and new hires have been heavily centralized in the Southeast. Reeves Kissel, and Atlanta-based software engineer, has joined as the startup’s CTO.
The team said building a consumer dating app like this in Atlanta has been its differentiating factor.
“It’s safe to say that if we were in any other city, we really wouldn’t have been able to get to where we’re at where or we’re going,” added Alterman. “Atlanta is a large city and it’s a melting pot of a bunch of different cultures and types of people. And that’s what we’re going for. We want to be an inclusive app. We’re not a niche dating app. We want anyone and anyone who wants anyone and everyone who wants a meaningful connection to hop on board.”