Project Fixup: Digital Matchmaking, Real-World Chemistry

August 14, 2013

2:43 pm

When it comes to relationships, I have to be honest with you guys: I’m despairingly alone (and I’ll probably forever be). My dating life has been a complete disappointment, with several hours wasted on sites like OkCupid and [Star] TrekPassions looking for my ideal boyfriend. For Sarah Press, founder and CEO of Project Fixup, that online time could be used toward real-life interactions that actually make the act of dating itself more valuable.

Project Fixup is a low-cost matchmaking service that fixes up one-on-one dates based merely on schedule availability and members’ interests. Rather than providing a comprehensive (some would even declare onerous and borderline inane) questionnaire, Project Fixup uses a much simpler questionnaire for member profiles (favorite books, favorite shows, etc.).

“We have a very lightweight questionnaire because we really don’t believe that any of that other stuff matters,” remarks Press on OkCupid’s and other competitors’ numerous questionnaire questions.

According to Press, people spend – on average – 12 hours per week online just trying to find someone interesting and subsequently trying to set up a real-life date. Project Fixup manages to reduce that time significantly by essentially removing the traditional online activity of users’ browsing through other members’ profiles.

Instead, using human and technological capital, Project Fixup itself looks through and makes matches based on each member’s completed profile. Once two people are matched, each party receives an email containing details of the date or “fixup” (time, place, and day) and a short description of each person’s interests. From there, both parties have the opportunity to confirm or pass on the fixup.

“We don’t think there’s much value in many of the interactions prior to actually meeting someone [on a date]. [Project Fixup] believes that chemistry is better in-person.”

Project Fixup is uncompromising in its belief that interactions are more valuable offline than on. Prior to an actual fixup, both users can only contact each other through a special Project Fixup number. Additionally, because the company aims to connect people through real-world interactions rather than judgments on online biographies, the company may de-prioritize matchmaking for users who frequently pass on every new fixup (and attached date profile) that they’re offered.

Project Fixup is currently one of the ten startups participating in TechStars Chicago’s inaugural Summer 2013 accelerator program class.

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Ronald Barba was the previous managing editor of Tech.Co. His primary story interests include industry trends, consumer-facing apps/products, the startup lifestyle, business ethics, diversity in tech, and what-is-this-bullsh*t things. Aside from writing about startups and entrepreneurship, Ronald is interested in 'Doctor Who', Murakami, 'The Mindy Project', and fried chicken. He is currently based in New York because he mistakenly studied philosophy in college and is now a "writer". Tweet @RonaldPBarba.

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