OPW INTERVIEW -- Mar 7 -- Basisnote is into DNA matchmaking and they have an interesting test. It doesn’t require the user to mail back a mouth swab or DNA sample and the test will be under $100. One to watch. I talked with the CEO, Dominic Senn. - Mark Brooks
Tell us more about Basisnote.com
It is a story of 3 friends that worked as researchers at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology and decided to start their own business. The basic idea behind building our own business was to bring olfactory to Internet dating.
How exactly do you match people?
We match people based on their individual scent profiles. This individual scent profile has a genetic basis with a link to your individual immune system. There is an attraction when the immune systems of two people are compatible. The way we realize whether or not the potential partner is compatible with others is through the smell, through the individual scent profile of this person. It is clear that that a lot has to match for a working relationship, but without a matching chemistry in the sense that “you like my scent and I like yours”, intimacy, the foundation of a working relationship is unlikely to evolve. Hence, basisnote helps people to find someone with a better matching chemistry faster and more reliably.
Are we talking pheromones?
No, its totally different from pheromones because those are the same for all people. The scent profiles are individual. Everyone is unique. It’s also chemically speaking a different type of substance that we emit.
How does that work from the end user perspective?
Our users order the test kit through a dating site. We ship the test kit to them within 24 hours. The test is simple and secure. You put it in your mouth for a few seconds and 5 minutes later you get the result, your individual chemistry or scent profile. Then you read this profile from the test kit and add it to your already existing personal profile at the dating site. We provide all the IT interfaces to get the matching with other people at these dating sites that have also already done the test. So the implementation of the whole system into existing sites is very simple.
What exactly are you matching?
We have a scale from 1 to 100 for how well you match. We also create a virtualization of the matching which gives you a visual representation which is kind of a bar code that represent your scent profile. If you put two scent profile on top of each other, you see how well they match.
Are we talking about the likelihood of having healthy offspring or are we talking about the actual compatibility and the chances of two people getting on?
All of it. The basic driver behind this mechanism is healthy offspring. That is the reason why we feel attracted to those people that have a good match in terms of this scent profile. There are a number of reviews that clearly show that if the compatibility is high in terms of this chemistry matching, it increases physical attraction first but also the stability of relationships.
The mechanism goes this way; your DNA determines your scent. The scent is then unconsciously recognized by your partner. We can’t read the DNA of our potential partner that is sitting on the other side of the table. But we can smell their typical smell and this smell gives us a positive or negative sensation and we experience attraction or not based on this smell.
I came across GenePartner.com and ScientificMatch.com. Are you looking at a different part of the DNA via the scent?
No it’s exactly the same part as they do and we measure the same thing. What is different is the way the analysis is done. They do the analysis in a laboratory where people have to send in their whole DNA, which is complicated, expensive and brings along data privacy issues, which, depending on the country, can severe. To replace this laboratory test, we have developed together with the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology ETH an instant test that is as simple to use as a pregnancy test. This test analyses only the part of the DNA that is actually relevant and it is an over-the-counter product, so it does not cause the data privacy problems that go along with a DNA laboratory test.
What does it cost for the end user?
We are now negotiating with the company that does the production of the test and it will certainly be below $100.
Can you see it being used on a couple as they’ve entered a relationship and have been on a few dates and they want to do this as a fun thing?
At the end of the day the best measurement instrument is your own nose. So if you already know someone and you’re together with this person, we would say trust your nose and don’t go for some kind of scientific genetic compatibility testing.