Just in time for Valentine’s Day on Friday comes a new website that wants to bring some old-fashioned romance back to the dating scene.
Sydney-based Woo! has just launched its early beta product and aims to disrupt the online dating sector by creating an old-style social club that takes dating offline and back into the real world.
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Co-founder Alison Wrbik says she and her three fellow co-founders were all single and frustrated with the current online dating offerings that require answering many questions to create a profile and the “hook up” nature of some sites.
“We thought, how can we create a way to go out to the pub and meet people and know that they’re all single?” she told StartupSmart.
The business doesn’t ask users to create profiles or upload pictures. Instead it sets up events that members can attend and meet each other face to face, such as a lawn bowls afternoon or meeting up at a fashionable bar. It’s currently focused on Sydney.
Wrbik says all the founders are in their 30s and early 40s, which is the demographic they’re aiming for at Woo!
She says she’s tried online dating before and experienced some “awkward” moments.
“The conversation can be agonising because you don’t get on at all,” she says.
Dates may also expect to hop straight into bed.
“It’s funny trying to extricate yourself from those situations.”
Wrbik says users don’t have to spend time checking other people’s profiles and judging them on what they’ve written.
“We’re giving people the opportunity to meet without any preconceptions.”
The site is in beta testing and the first 100 members to sign up can do so for free. Membership can be applied for at joinwoo.com.au.
The founders say in a statement they’ve developed an application process to maintain a member base with common interests.
Wrbik says the site will later charge membership fees.