SIFTED.EU - May 4 - Dating apps say that virtual features will last beyond the pandemic as video dates become the new norm. "The current normalisation of video communication is in one way irreversible," says Philip Jonzon Jarl, the cofounder of Swedish dating app Relate. "There might be a new kind of pre-date step being born." Founded in 2018 to make matches based on "values" rather than profile pics, and with $1.3M behind it, Relate has seen its active users increase 40% during lockdown. Another UK app, The Intro, was founded in London in 2019, just months before lockdown. Founder George Burgess, who previously launched several educational apps, says this has pulled in thousands of users across the capital - despite having raised just £750k. Her, a UK-based dating app geared towards lesbian, queer, bisexual and bicurious women and non-binary people, has 5.5M users around the world. Founded by Robyn Exton in the UK in 2015, it has raised $2M to date. Her moved its matchmaking mixers online to host virtual speed dating events. The founder says virtual speed dating will almost certainly continue after the pandemic. Meanwhile, Swiss dating app Once has built a live video feature in just five days. Already ~18K virtual dates have taken place on the app. The record duration of a virtual date so far is 11 hours and forty minutes (between two people in Paris). Not every dating app has been fast off the mark. Happn says it has seen an 18% increase in the lengths of in-app conversations and will launch video dating this month. Muzmatch, the worlds' biggest dating app for Muslims, is also preparing to launch video and voice calling within the coming weeks.