OPW INTERVIEW - Oct 1 - We spoke to Ron Gonzalez, the CEO and co-founder of Instant Chemistry, about the role of genetic and psychological testing in compatibility assessments.
Ron, can you tell us more about what you do?
We are a biotech company for the dating industry. We don't see ourselves as a dating site or a dating platform, we are the intel inside. We leverage years of scientific research and bring it to the matchmaking and dating industry.
There has been some conjecture over how far along this science has come. What can you determine from DNA testing at this stage, and how will Instant Chemistry use it?
We try to apply the latest in scientific research. Science that's been around for 20 years, and also science that's been around for just a few years. For example, the immune system test that we're doing is something that other companies have experimented with, completed, and launched. Based on over 20 years of scientific research, it's probably the most scientifically backed-up work that's being applied to dating.
We don't limit ourselves just to the HLA test (human leukocyte antigen) which are the genes in the immune system that are related to attraction. We also look at serotonin uptake transmitters. A 2014 study from UC Berkley that found that long-term marital satisfaction over time can be affected based on the different variations of this gene that people have.
We are also adding a psychological component to our test, which is something that's been used commonly in the dating industry. We think it's a tool that we can integrate with our kit. It will give dating sites that have never used psychological assessments the ability to integrate genetics and psychology together, and combine them to make a really powerful predictor of compatibility.
The dating industry has tests created by experts in the fields of clinical psychology, anthropology, and sociology. I always thought it would be great to combine multiple areas of expertise to develop a single test. What's your spin on psychological profiling? What do you think works best?
I have a PHD in neuroscience, and my wife, who is also a co-founder, has a background in genetics. So you can kind of see where our twist came from. We also have a scientific advisory board. Dr. Joel Block and Dr. Wendy Walsh are the two clinical psychologists who have contributed to the psychological assessment using their experience looking at couples in long-term relationships, looking at conflict resolution, and how couples deal with stress.
Joel Block has developed a test to determine compatibility based on 24 psychological questions. One of the problems with some psychological assessments is that they can be very long, and there are diminishing returns after doing a couple hundred questions. We think we've hit a sweet spot with our psychological assessment.
What's your price point and how does it work for consumers?
It is a genetic test and there are costs embedded into that. Genetic testing has gone down over the years, but it's still not at the point where it's widely ubiquitous.
Couples that are already in early-stage or late-stage relationships can do our test for $199. Singles can go to Singldout.com and it's actually embedded and incorporated into the membership fees. So if you sign up for a three month membership, you will get one of our kits mailed out to you.
Most of the readers of OPW are owners of Internet dating sites or people who work with Internet dating sites. If they want to work with you, how does that work?
We work with matchmakers and we also work with the Internet dating community. We don't see ourselves as a genetic testing company, we're a biotech company. We are constantly developing new tools, whether it's genetics or outside of genetics to compliment dating sites. I would encourage them just to contact us and explain what they're thinking and what problems they have. We'd love to develop products for them.