Courtesy of Lauren Kay
The Dating Ring team (Katie, Soren, Emma, and Lauren)
Online dating can be a frustrating, hit-or-miss type of experience.
"My biggest thing with online dating, it's been a second full-time job," The Dating Ring founder Lauren Kay tells Business Insider. "You have to meet so many people to find one person who's compatible."
The Dating Ring, a three-month old New York-based startup, pegs itself as the future of dating.
What sets The Dating Ring apart from the rest is its free, full-service matchmaking service and emphasis on group dates. Startup Grouper similarly aims to connect people through group hangouts, but The Dating Ring focuses more on romantic connections.
Kay, just 24 years old, formerly founded a babysitting company, SmartSitting, but recently decided to really put her degree to work. Kay attended Brown University where she studied American studies with a concentration on love, dating, and relationships.
Here's how it works.
First, you have to fill out a pretty extensive profile of yourself. It asks you about things like what you're looking for in someone, what you're not looking for, and which activities you like and dislike.
Only the matchmakers will read your responses, so you can feel free to be totally candid. If the matchmakers see you as a good fit for its pool of beta users, it will contact you for an in-person meeting with the matchmaker.
The next step is meeting up at a bar with four or six potential matches. The Dating Ring has already partnered with 12 bars in Manhattan to hosts dates on their least busiest nights, which are typically Sunday through Thursday.
Even though the matchmaking service is free, you do have to pre-pay $20 for the date, which includes the first drink.
Already, people are dating and in relationships thanks to The Dating Ring, Kay says.
Since the matchmaking and scheduling process is pretty manual right now, Kay is aiming to release a more automated system to pick better matches and schedule dates sometime this winter.
Down the road, The Dating Ring is looking to raise money and launch nationwide. It may also be the subject of a reality TV show, Kay tells us.
If the show actually happens, she wants to call it "Matchmaker Girls" or "Not A Millionaire Matchmaker."
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