UC Berkeley graduates create app to help with online dating

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Three UC Berkeley graduates have launched an app called Charmed, which allows users to connect with their friends and receive immediate feedback on potential partners they match with on popular dating apps.

The app, created by David Blanchard, Taylor Margot and Jack Peterson in 2017, is branded on the Charmed website as a “Phone a Friend”  for dating apps. When a user matches with someone through a dating app such as Bumble or Tinder, they can share the match with friends through Charmed. Friends can then suggest opening lines, which the user can accept and send to their new match.

“You could say our manifesto is that we think dating apps are fundamentally flawed,” said Margot, CEO of Charmed. “If dating apps are a sick or a painful experience, we’re Advil.”

When a user is unable to move from texting to dating, it obscures the purpose of using a dating app, according to Margot. Charmed facilitates a process he calls “collective wooing” — where friends give advice to facilitate conversation with a potential romantic interest.

While the issue of privacy could present a problem, Spencer Hill, campus senior and administrator of the popular UC Berkeley Overheard and Confessions Facebook pages, said he was unconcerned.

“I kinda figured that’s already happening to some degree,” said Hill. “You send something, then you … know it could be screenshotted.”

Margot also added that the names of matches sent through the app are kept confidential.

In a study conducted by Charmed, 86% of dating app users report being uncertain about their ability to successfully message a match at least once during a conversation, according to Margot. Of those 86%, 96% of users delay sending a message to a potential interest — or fail to message them at all. Margot believes Charmed can shrink those numbers.

“I think it’s definitely good to have the input of friends,” Hill said. “If you have good friends and they have your best interests at heart, they would be good to talk to.”

Contact Sebastian Cahill at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter at @SebastianCahil1.