Since North Europeans are known for mobile know-how and for being a bit shy – dating apps seem like a natural fit.

Apps like Tinder have revolutionized online dating and dating in general. The market is huge (globally seen at $2.2 billion) and constantly growing, since people live increasingly online, they marry later and they marry less. More and more singles throw themselves into the online dating pool, some might just do it out of boredom or for amusement purposes.

But what alternatives are there to the well-established ones like Tinder or OkCupid?

The Northern-Baltic region has been origin to some innovative applications which take different approaches to the common swipe-right/swipe-left strategy. And there are more to come to market in coming months.

A first group of new apps on the market concentrates on bringing people together by offering them helping tools and depicting similarities among the users.

The Estonian Flirtic for instance trusts in an algorithm, which will find “your perfect match nearby“ (as they state on their website) after you complete a compatibility test which is supposed to take around one minute.

This should make seeking a partner a lot easier and quicker, since you don’t have to swipe until your thumb falls off while waiting for a nice face to pop up on your screen. The app prides itself with being “contemporary“ and guarantees everyone to find a date. It also comes with other free services like viewing pictures, test results and picture rating.

The Swedish startup Mazily, founded in 2012, is based on connecting people through similar interests in culture such as music, art and theatre.

Instead of weird messaging and random blind-dates, members are encouraged to meet at culture-related events which makes the get-together more natural.

So far Mazily has 70,000 users, 95 percent of which are from Sweden. Around 7,000 of them log in each month. It might be a less superficial alternative to Tinder considering that looks might maybe decide who comes together but common interests might determine who stays together.

Just like Mazily, Winks tries to relocate distinct chats into real life by encouraging the users to meet up.

The app connects you to the people in your direct environment while also being linked to their Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat. It gives you a possibility to “wink“ at them. You get a window of 20 minutes to arrange a meeting. Emphasis is put on the personal contact instead of endless chats with a stranger.

A new trend is prioritizing values like privacy and safety, since part of the thrill as well as the dread in online dating is the uncertainty about who really is on the other side of the screen.

Another Swedish app, 7heaven, launched in June 2015. It praises itself with honesty and forces you to upload a selfie every 6 hours with the built-in camera to use the app. So it basically minimizes the cat fishing and makes online dating a lot safer. You are also less likely to be disappointed when meeting the person in real life because they looked 20 kilos lighter on their profile picture from 5 years ago.

The Danish Teazr/Blume is probably one of the safest in terms of privacy, considering you are banned from it when you take a screenshot. But who doesn’t love to gossip about „that weird guy from tinder“ or even ask friends for advice on what to answer? But at least the possibility to be confronted with something you might’ve written at midnight in despair or even drunk is reduced to a minimum.

Conversations on Teazr are started with selfies, which makes the beginning a lot less awkward compared to the incredibly tiring „Hey, whats up?“ ,„How are you?“ or even some flat pickup line. You’ve got 7 seconds to make your choice, so you better don’t hesitate.

So far their focus has been on the US, but they reach around 25,000 users and 30,000 matches in Denmark.

HIMYNAMEIS discloses a completely new division of dating apps. It is supposed to be „the tinder of video“. The founders of Mazily are also involved in this one. Instead of pictures, the members face a video greeting of maximum 5 seconds. You can also use hashtags to filter.

The app came out short time ago and has just been launched in the app store. It sounds promising.

Pictures can be edited beyond recognition. A short video on the other hand is of course more revealing but also provides the opportunity to express in a broader way.

The future

To succeed these apps have to build a quality brand within the niche they choose. Instead of trying to cover the whole market its more cunning to target a smaller group on whose needs one can completely concentrate when developing the app.

My guess is that the business of using technology to turn singles into couples will continue existing and evolving, coming up with more diverse and unique ways to connect.

Some say, dating through these channels is becoming more authentic nowadays. Could it be that we’re really saying who we are, or at least trying so? The presented applications break ground in this way, we’re not a picture anymore, which is being swiped right or left.

The search for a solution to the unbearable burden of human loneliness through an app won’t be finished tomorrow. This is because its almost impossible to predict chemistry between humans or how they meet, no matter what kind of most advanced technology you use.

But even if we don’t manage to find our significant other behind our touchscreen, we could at least have a laugh at the guys flexing their muscles and the infinite number of elevator pictures.

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