OPW INTERVIEW - Dec 28 - Sean Rad and Justin Mateen, the founders of Tinder, have something in common with Ryan Surratt. They're all USC grads. Ryan's built 'Wonder' a new dating app that focuses on getting people together for real world experiences, and weeds out the fibbers and ghosters. Here's his overview of the new dating app Wonder, which launches in L.A. in January. - Mark Brooks
What are you most excited about for launch of Wonder?
There's nothing for people that want to go out and have a great time doing something they love to do with other people that love to do that same activity. That's really how you connect with someone. I think Wonder opens the possibilities for so many positive experiences. We're looking forward to making people's dating experience Wonder'ful.
What inspired you to develop Wonder?
I've probably gone on 200 dating app dates. I built Wonder for the person who was tired of going on (what I like to call) Interview dates. It can be exhausting. I want to play tennis or hike or go on a bike ride or take a cooking class. Even if I didn't have a romantic connection, I will still have a great time. Then there's the scheduling that is a nightmare, and the Ghosting and Flaking and Fibbing (lying). So many things that people have a hard time dealing with and makes them give up. With all that difficulty I dealt with, I knew I could do better. I knew that I could make a dating App that I wanted to use. That solves these pain points and helps us to treat each other better as human beings and to function in the dating world with integrity and respect. And so Wonder was born.
Why do you think dating app users have a hard time planning dates and following through with their plans?
It is HARD to get people to meet up in real life. There are a lot of problems with scheduling and getting out on the date. Studies have shown that people are 80% more likely to do something if they confirm it and write it down. Because there are so many logistics that have to be worked out. WHERE? WHEN? WHAT? Those are all pain points for the dater. I wanted to alleviate that. Wonder actually syncs with your phone calendar so the date is scheduled for you with all the information. You get notified when someone confirms, cancels, declines and when they reschedule. Then you get push notification reminders the morning of the day of the date and an hour before. We even have a Uber integration and a reminder about traffic. We even have the ability to send a gift after the date. Then we have an anonymous review system, that shows up after your date. Users get to review the establishment they went to. They can notify us if the match flaked (didn't show up), they can tell us if the match fibbed (lied about their height, weight, who they were), and if they want to setup another date with that match. We keep and analyze that data and if we find that a certain user is not acting with integrity, we will warn them and then remove them if they continue behaving in this way. This helps people treat each other better.
What can you tell us about Vibe videos and how users can utilize the feature?
When talking to online daters, especially women, they expressed a big pain point for them was the fact that they couldn't hear the man's voice or see how he expressed himself with his hands because they wanted to get a better sense of who the person was. The "Vibe" of that person. So I thought, well the best way to solve this is for a person to make a 15-second "Vibe Video" of themselves saying "Hi, what activities they like to do and what makes them Wonder'ful?"
What are your plans and goals for 2019?
We're launching Wonder in January and already have 2,000 people that want to get on the App. We're starting in L.A. and then branching out over the US and going Global by 2020. We have the infrastructure in place to serve the world. Also, we are preparing our V2 and V3 versions which have tons of additional features that tap deeper into the post date/relationship world and lots more integrations with other services and activities. In one sentence - I want us all to find love, be better to each other, and have a great time doing it.