The newest dating app in Austin is taking on the matchmaking job that your friends don’t always follow through on. Firefly, which launched in Austin last week, preaches quality over quantity.
After seeing the rise of apps focused on giving users a high number of matches, Firefly's CEO and co-founder Clayton Spencer decided that a new, hyper-local dating service with an emphasis on quality matches was the key to dating success. “Firefly came from seeing the success of Tinder,” Spencer tells CultureMap. “It really changed the world of online dating. But by watching Tinder, we felt that the bigger it gets, the grosser it gets.”
“We don't think dating should be an all-you-can-eat buffet like Tinder,” says Firefly CEO Clayton Spencer.
For Spencer, Tinder is like going to a bar that's packed with people: you just can’t find the opening to make a meaningful connection with someone. But Firefly, Spencer says, is more organic, like meeting someone new at a friend's wedding.
“When we asked people how they wanted to meet someone, most said that it would ideally be through a mutual friend, so that’s what we wanted to focus on,” says Spencer. “And sometimes you can’t always rely on friends to follow through, so we do the work that they don’t always do.”
To use Firefly, you simply login with your Facebook profile, meaning you don’t have to spend a lot of time filling out an extensive dating profile like on other sites. Each day the app matches you with a few your Facebook friends' single friends.
Most importantly, the creators hope people will feel comfortable and safe when being introduced to friends of friends on Firefly. And, because mutual friends are at play, there's greater social accountability built into the system.
“Girls tell us they feel safer and our app is less sketchy because there is always a friend in common,” says Spencer. “And right now I’d say it’s about 75 percent women on the app. We really want to give women a high-quality experience, then we think men will further gravitate over to it.”
“We don't think dating should be an all-you-can-eat buffet like Tinder,” Spencer explains. “Limited, but really high-quality intros lead to more and better interactions.”
As for the app's future, the plans are to keep it local for now. “Austin is my backyard, and success for us here means having a lot of people using the app who also use it regularly, and we’re continuing to grow now.”