Crowdfunding has made the news from time to time as people sought out sponsors for controversial initiatives, and matchmaking CEO Lauren Kay recently added an interesting project to that list. Dating Ring is a brand new start up, which began with a dating agency in New York and soon expanded their services to in San Francisco. Potential candidates sign up for their services, after which they are invited to group dates of four to six people. Each candidate pays $20 for a date. The agency likens this process to meeting through friends – ‘but much, much better,’ according to their website.
So far, the strategy seems to fit a rather standard dating agency startup. However, Kay soon found that while women outnumbered men two to one for the agency in New York, the situation was in reverse for the agency in San Francisco. According to Kay, there are 150,000 more single women than single men in New York, while single men outnumber single women in the Bay Area by 50,000. Even to the casual observer, this seems but a simple supply and demand problem, and off Lauren went to a crowdfunding platform called CrowdTilt to raise money for her flock of singles in need. She started two separate campaigns: one to fly the men to NYC, and one to fly the women to the Bay Area.
Indeed, those expected to fund this campaign are not just sympathetic strangers contributing to another’s happy ending (although they can). A $20 donation will enter you in the lottery to be flown across the country. Those who are quite serious about the prospect can get a guaranteed spot with donations of $500 and up, and donating more further improves your opportunities at the destination by providing accommodation or matchmaker coaching. Moreover, if people donate to the campaign flying to their own hometown, they can earn tickets to the matchmaking events to meet these exotic strangers. While Kay acknowledges that falling in love is probably more complex than simply going to a place where the ratio to the opposite sex is more in your favor (not to mention the issue of, well, actually living on the opposite end of the country to where your lover is) she expresses the sentiment that because the singles are making some serious effort to get there, they will be more committed to investing in the love they (hopefully) find.
By now the campaign has ended, with a limited degree of success: the NYC women flying to SF have raised $10,222, while the men raised only $1,831. It looks like the women are just a bit more starved for men than vice versa. So far, no results have been made public yet, but it sure would be interesting if Kay turned out to be on to something!