A pair of young entrepreneurs have launched a new blind dating app after a negative experience on Tinder.
Max Adamski and his business partner are looking to change the way dating works on mobile phone apps, moving the emphasis from looks to personality, with the launch of JigTalk.
We are testing that moral high ground so to speak.Max Adamski, co-developer of the JigTalk app
Instead of allowing people to swipe left or right, based on a person’s photograph, JigTalk covers the picture with jigsaw pieces, with more of the image revealed the more a user converses with them.
Mr Adamski told The Yorkshire Post: “It’s exciting because people say all the time that looks are not as important as personality and we are testing that moral high ground so to speak.”
JigTalk is one of many pioneering tech start-ups based at the Leeds Digital Hub, run by Leeds Beckett University in conjunction with The Yorkshire Post.
Mr Adamski says there’s a “great community” at the hub and that has helped them in their quest to launch this app.
“It’s been a massive, massive help to us. We’ve been surrounded by so many people with a fire in their belly,” said the 22-year-old graphic design student.
JigTalk is also based at the Entrepreneurial Spark Hatchery in the city.
The idea for the business came to Mr Adamski after his own personal experience on Tinder.
“I was using Tinder with no success. I back myself when it comes to speaking to someone but I just wasn’t given that opportunity because they would look at my photos and say no,” said Mr Adamski with a self-deprecating chuckle.
He added: “By covering your photo first there’s no ‘oh she’s out of my league’. It’s an even playing ground and you can prove yourself and keep him or her engaged right from the word go.
“We hope with this we can really bring about some good quality relationships – whether they be friendships or romances.”
When asked if he thinks Tinder is shallow and superficial he says “absolutely”.
“The sad fact is a lot of people admit that willingly and still swipe on it every single day. We recognise that but we also recognise that there’s a big market for people who want something which is a strong alternative to that,” he added.
Currently, Mr Adamski is on a gap year from his graphic design degree – working for Brain Research Trust during the day and on JigTalk in the evenings.
Since last summer, JigTalk has been going through a beta test phase with over 600 test users across Leeds.
Testing has gone, well says Mr Adamski with changes being made to the app in November and December following feedback from users.
“We’re now in a position where we are ready to market it properly,” added the young entrepreneur.
Initially, the app was released on IOS but they are working on creating a version of JigTalk for the Android operating system.
“Android is a pain in the neck,” says Mr Adamski. “There’s so many different screen sizes for example.
“There’s a lot of unexpected issues which come about when building an app.
“We’re taking it in our stride but there’s some days where, because we’ve never built an app before, sometimes the bugs and the issues are a slap round the face with a wet fish.”
The aim for JigTalk is to attract 20,000 active users nationwide in the near future. The group is looking for seed investment to help it realise its ambitions and already has interested parties lining up to invest.
Mr Adamski, originally from Norwich, doesn’t think he’ll be returning to university. Instead, he says he’s likely to be concentrating on JigTalk.
The hub of innovation
The Leeds Digital Hub was established in the summer of 2014, as a partnership between The Yorkshire Post and the Enterprise and Innovation Hub at Leeds Beckett University.
The hub offers flexible workspace for digital and creative businesses, as well as professional support and mentoring. It aims to inspire creative thinking and collaboration.