To meet Feels, a new French startup looking to change the way dating apps work. According to the company, scrolling through photos and reading descriptions is usually a boring experience. You want to improve profiles so that you are more likely to watch TikTok videos or browse stories while navigating the app.
“There has been little innovation in the industry in the last 10 years,” said Co-Founder and CEO Daniel Cheaib. “The reason a lot of people uninstall dating apps is because it’s boring. The profiles all look the same and we have the feeling that we are browsing through a catalog. “
In this case, Cheaib thinks of Tinder, but also other dating apps that feel like Tinder but aren’t exactly Tinder, like Bumble, Happn, etc.
The founding team at Feels worked on the app for two years trying to figure out what works and what doesn’t. Now that the retention metrics are where they should be, the company is now ready to take a broader rollout.
If you want to show your users interesting content in a dating app, you need to rethink the profiles. This was arguably the hardest part of the development phase. When you install the app, it will take about 15 minutes to create your profile.
Initially, only 30% of new users completed the onboarding process. Around 75% of new users now reach the end of the registration flow.
What makes a profile on Feels different? In many ways, a profile is more like a story or TikTok posts. Users can record videos, add text and stickers, share photos, answer questions, and more.
“When you’re done with the onboarding process, you’ll have consistent profiles with people sharing content about them,” said Cheaib.
As with other dating apps, there are many options when it comes to gender identity – you are not limited to women or men. You can then say that you want to view all profiles or just some profiles based on different criteria.
You can then view other profiles. Once again, Feels is trying to change the basic interaction of dating apps. Most dating apps require you to swipe left or right, or press a thumb up or a thumb down. If you think about it, it’s a binary choice that requires a lot of micro-decisions.
Sometimes you don’t have strong feelings for someone. Or maybe you just want to go to the next profile. And the fact that you have to analyze such profiles leads to a lot of negativity, whether consciously or unconsciously – after all, you keep rejecting people.
When you look at a profile on Feels, it fills your entire screen. Videos are playing, you can see what the person likes and who they are in front of a camera. You can react to some of the content or just move on by swiping up. There is no heart or similar button.
When the startup believed it was finally going somewhere, they raised a $ 1.3 million round of funding from a long list of business angels, including Blaise Matuidi, Eric Besson, René Ricol and Ricardo Pereira Yohan Benalouane, Nampalys Mendy, Jean Romain Lhomme, Julien Radic and Jean Michel Chami.
Now Feels plans to attract new users with organic TikTok posts, some TV spots, and more. The company aims to reach 1 million users by the end of the year, with an initial focus on France. There are currently 100,000 users.
When it comes to monetization, Feels offers a premium subscription to unlock more features. The company is still iterating in this area.
Feels is just getting started in a crowded and competitive industry. Unlike other companies, Feels invested heavily in its own product before working on user acquisition and paid installs. It’s an ambitious strategy, but it has a lot of potential as it could lead to a really different dating app.