Filter Off: The speed-dating video app proving popular during the pandemic

Filter Off: The speed-dating video app proving popular during the pandemic

«Online dating will be permanently changed by Covid-19.»

Zach Schleien was sick of online dating. Tired of swiping and fatigued by messaging, he was finding it difficult to make any notable connections using typical dating apps.

«This happened a year and a half ago, pre-Covid,» he tells Her. «I’ve always been really into online dating, the idea of connecting romantically through the internet and meeting somebody you’d never normally meet, it’s fascinating.»

Filter Off: The speed-dating video app proving popular during the pandemic

Pre-pandemic, Zach was faced with the ever perpetual headaches of online dating: swiping, messaging back and forth, and eventually agreeing to meet up, only to discover that a) there was little to no chemistry and b) they didn’t really look like their photographs.

Eventually Zach started asked his matches if they’d like to video chat before meeting up, to save them both the hassle of going on a date that was bound to be a flop.

«I was, like, it’ll be so much more efficient,» he says. «I’ll see if I like them, they’ll see if they like me, it helps both of us. Surprisingly, or maybe unsurprisingly, most women said no.

Zach quickly realised what was missing from the online dating market: an app that put video first and focused on personality and chemistry, rather than just photos.

Filter Off first launched a year and a half ago, and relaunched again just one month before the Covid-19 pandemic. Unsurprisingly, Zach noticed that users were a lot less wary of video dates than they would have been before.

«The cultural acceptance of video chatting has increased suddenly,» he says. «Otherwise, it may have taken five years to get to where we are now.

«But you’re going to be nervous anyway if you’re going on a date in real life. It’s a similar feeling to what people were experiencing pre-pandemic. We wanted to imitate this intersection between offline and online dating.»

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