The League/Facebook Guests at The League's boat party in San Francisco. The League is a new dating app that uses its own algorithm to judge whether you're cool and ambitious enough to join. Right now it's in beta stage, so not everyone can get into it.
Users who are allowed on often have advanced degrees, tend to be in their late 20s, and have all been carefully selected by creator Amanda Bradford's team using the code. It's predominantly populated by doctors, lawyers, and tech execs.
So yes, it's elitist and exclusive — which is also what makes it so compelling.
What sets The League apart from its counterparts is its reliance on LinkedIn to determine user credentials. Dating apps such as Tinder, Hinge, and Happn primarily use Facebook as a background check and profile-builder.
As BI's Alyson Shontell explains, the acceptance algorithm was built by the app's own tech team and scans social networks to ensure applicants are career-orientated. You don't have to be Ivy League, but you do have to be driven and to have accomplished something in your 20s. The League says its screening process keeps its online community "well-balanced and high-quality."
Right now there are more than 75,000 people waiting to get into The League. There is literally a virtual line of people waiting to be tested and accepted. Those already on it can give one "ticket" to a single friend as a pass — and around 50% of members got on this way. Everyone wants to try out "Tinder for the elite." And whether you agree with its ethos or not, The League just raised $2.1 million in funding. It's soon to expand to New York and there are plans to move to London too.
Like Business Insider's Sam Rega, I'm a bit addicted to dating apps. So I had to give The League a go...
First of all, anyone can download the app from the App Store. But that doesn't mean you'll be able to actually start search for would-be romance. Once in the mix, though, you can get going and set your preferences.
After that, the exclusivity starts emerging: Although you sign in with your Facebook login, the privacy settings are stringent.
It's full of Ivy League types, like this one (not the cat):
As the app is only live in San Francisco at the moment, I had to pretend (I didn't hack in or anything by the way, I was invited in) to live there by using a local zip code to get on. I have no idea where or what "Marina" is, but apparently I live there. My only knowledge of Twin Peaks is that 1990s TV series my girlfriend's (yes) parents made me watch.
But despite my questionable locality, before long I was scoping out some would-be matches. The high-fliers continued. I have no idea what this university is or whether it's any good, but she's 26 and the "chief of staff" somewhere, which sounds impressive for someone just a year older than me.
The League only lets you view and match with a handful of people each day. Options are limited. Once you've browsed all of the lovely people within a 24-hour designated period, the app says "that's game for today" and you have to switch back to Hinge, Tinder, and so on.
Note here how the app incentives and punishes users. If you indiscriminately swipe right to indicate interest in every profile, or you ignore your messages too much, you get labelled as "flaky." Don't be flaky.
I totally wasn't flaky!
You can also chat to some of your matches. I said hello to my first match and responded to the other when she say "hey" (in what I imagine to be an American accent not dissimilar to those on the TV show 90210). The first woman ignored me (upsetting), but I had an interesting chat with the second.
In our blinding originality, we both asked what one another does at exactly the same time. Hence the "#twinsies."
We talked about nougat for a while...
We then discussed the current yoga boom, a popular pastime for the West's elite.
The League is, while exclusive and high-end, still fun.
Soon (because of my spelling of "flavour") the lady in question worked out the fact I'm in London — and probably worked out what I was actually doing. But by then I'd got enough of a glimpse into The League to see it has the potential to become hugely popular outside of the Bay Area.
When it arrives in New York in the next few months (and hopefully London soon after), no doubt far more will get a chance to match on online dating's top table. It makes a nice change to Tinder, that's for sure.
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