In an era where online dating often feels superficial and disconnected, SWITCH co-founders Kiki Mincey and Corey Staples have embarked on a mission to reinvent the landscape of digital romance. Their company, SWITCH, is not just another dating app; it’s an audio-based platform that breathes life into online interactions through real-time conversations. This app blends the immediacy and authenticity of in-person speed dating with the convenience of digital access. We reached out to Kiki and Corey to learn about their startup journey, their challenges, and their vision for revolutionizing how people find love in the digital age.

Funding Round Details

Company: SWITCH
Security Type: Equity - Common
Valuation: $5,031,000
Min Investment: $250
Platform: StartEngine
Deadline: Feb 14, 2024
View Deal

Can you briefly describe SWITCH?

SWITCH is an audio-based speed-dating app that prioritizes live conversations and authentic connections online. Our app brings the in-person feel to the dating app market. It makes it fun with gamification features that enhance the user experience and its unique functionality, promoting a greater chance for in-person dates.

What inspired you to take the leap and start this company?

Our unsatisfactory experiences as consumers of dating apps were ultimately what inspired us to make the leap to start this company. Knowing that there was the opportunity to not only innovate a stagnant market but potentially solve pain points that many users experience across the board made leaping very easy, knowing that our initiative was so much bigger than ourselves.

You describe your app as a “gamified” dating experience. Can you elaborate on what you mean by this?

We implemented gamification features to enhance the user experience and make online audio-based speed dating enjoyable for all users. Ice-breaker questions come in the form of “yes” or “no” style questions before each speed date begins, and Conversation Drivers are randomized topics that users select from and can interact with during speed dating. We also have a “Love is Blind” feature for our randomized speed dating functionality, which we call  1:1 Chat-Roulette, which unblurs users’ profiles as the speed date progresses. These features were implemented to make jumping into an instant conversation easier and to allow conversations to happen instantly without having to say the same things repeatedly, like your name, age, and career. These features allow for an organic experience and make the live conversation not feel forced but fun and engaging.

How do you monetize? What makes your business model unique in the dating app market?

We have the capability to integrate the standard dating app B2C “freemium” model through subscriptions and in-app purchases, an opportunity to monetize up to 3x more than our current competitors through our unique B2B model. This is done through our icebreakers, conversation drivers, and Switch Lobby. These features allow us to work with businesses through strategic brand/ad placement, partnerships, survey monetization, and more without disrupting the user experience.

How do you appeal to people who may be shy or nervous to speed dating online? What kind of features do you have to ease nerves and make the process feel natural?

We understand that some people aren’t as conversational as others, or dead air in a conversation may arise. With those things considered, we provide icebreaker questions before the speed-date starts, and our standard conversation drivers in the speed-date as an option to use are organized in topic buttons labeled Random, Intimacy, Lifestyle, Food, and Music. The questions within these categories and the categories themselves are  able to be updated especially if a brand decides to purchase their category button.

Who is on your team, and what do they bring to the company?

The core team is co-founders Kiana (Kiki) Mincey and Corey Staples. We’re a team with experience in media, tech sales, and user engagement through mass media. We provide networking and collaboration skills, leverage partnerships and integrations for Switch’s B2B model, and understand the consumer perspective on how people communicate and engage on platforms. We also have experienced advisors with crowdfunding and scaling tech companies.

What is the most important lesson you learned as an entrepreneur?

This is cliche, but the one lesson we think is just to keep persisting and remain tenacious. Your breakthrough is right on the other side of your pitfall, and no matter how challenging it may get, just never give up on your vision. Your breakthrough is right on the other side of your pitfall, and no matter how challenging it may get, just never give up on your vision and initiative.

If we speak again in 12 months, which milestones will you have achieved?

Our main priority is to grow our users substantially within this next year. We aim to amass at least 100k users, 20k paid users, ten business partnerships, and a $5M capital injection. We also plan to hire a CMO or CDO (Chief Development Officer) to drive more revenue opportunities and a CTO to help drive continued app development.

What do you see as potential exit opportunities?

Our ultimate goal is SWITCH to be one of the first black women tech-owned businesses to go IPO. However, there is also an opportunity for an exit with Match Group, which is highly acquisitive and owns/operates the largest global portfolio of popular online dating services and applications.