OPW INTERVIEW - Jan 29 - MateSafe.com offers its users STD and DNA testing to establish a Medically Verified Online Health Credential that they can control and share across various dating sites. We interviewed MateSafe's founder and CEO, Dr. Jeff Collier.
What's your background?
After completing my Doctorate in Chiropractic studies, I opened several practices in Atlanta. Sexually Transmitted Infections became a large part of my focus with my patient base. In 2006 I discussed the idea of verifying people for STDs with one of my colleagues. It appeared as though most online profiles exclaimed they were drug and disease free. But how do you prove that? That moment was the genesis of what is now MateSafe.
How big is the STD problem in the USA?
1 in 3 Americans has an STD. Of the 118M people with an STD, 1M of them have HIV and have no idea. 250K of them are girls 13 and older. It's a huge problem!
What's your current MateSafe offerings?
We tout ourselves as the CarFax of dating. CarFax provides condition reports for vehicles. We offer HealthStatus verification on the fly. With over 3500 labs we do all the STD tests necessary to screen someones health. We also offer drug and DNA tests. With DNA we allow people to avoid chronic illnesses or even design-a-baby. We also offer a background check API for those who want such a service.
What's the cost to end users?
$25 to become a member. Currently we are giving the membership away for free as a promotion. Test Packages cost $150 for the full panel, $120 for all-Viral no-Bacterial and $50 for HIV. With the US moving toward Social Health there will be a great subsidy in the test prices eventually.
How would you like to work with the iDating industry?
Dating sites can monetize a client who already trusts their service. We would like to allow users, who say that they are disease free and are looking for the same, to be able to share their health test results when they choose.
What was the reception like at iDate to MateSafe?
Mixed reviews initially by most, but after clarification that the data is not openly searchable, people tended to like it and understand the importance.
Why hasn't the dating industry offered screening products in the past?
Maybe because of a perceived liability. We don't tell people "You are clean!" We simply state that they have been tested and that they are responsible enough to share.
How have you addressed these problems with your products?
I think we address the problems the same as The CDC would. Test and Educate. We try to promote responsible relations. We give away condoms on a regular basis. Strip away all the medical feel and we are one more way for people to vet and be vetted. One more way to say your health is as important as mine. Without health you have nothing, nobody wants a lifetime illness and nobody aside from maybe your child is worth dying for.