New video-focused dating app Desti launched over the weekend to give users the chance to find potential matches based on their chosen date destination. Users living in the app’s first market of Austin, Texas, can scroll through a vertical feed where profiles highlight what destinations (called “destis”) they want to visit on a first date — whether it’s exploring Lake Travis and trying a new sushi place, or going to a dog-friendly beer garden. “Destis” is earned by swiping TikTok-style videos of the Austin area.
Also, Desti doesn’t have a “like” feature that sets it apart from other dating apps like Tinder or Bumble, so people are forced to start a conversation. Users can send a message to the person, and the recipient can accept or reject the message. They can only see one at a time and must forward or reply to the message to move on to the next one.
The app will initially be available to iOS device users in the Austin area. It will be available on Android devices in the coming weeks. The startup plans to expand to other areas down the road, he says.
The example below shows the destination video in the foreground, with a profile picture in the lower left corner.
When setting up a profile, the user must choose three “destinations”, from breweries, rooftops, live music, food trucks, dog dates, etc. There are also hundreds of prompts to choose from alongside the video, such as “Someone teach me…,” “The CDC recommends…” or “We should go tonight…” To complete their profile, the user uploads four photos and creates a bio.
With millennials and Gen Z users turning to TikTok or Instagram to find restaurants and things to do in their area, Desti uses the same idea for its destination-based dating app.
“We decided to bet on short-form video,” Nick Dominguez, COO and lead designer/developer of Desty told TechCrunch.
The company isn’t the only dating app with Tik Tok-style videos as its focus. Snacks, for example, allows users to post videos to a feed and swipe through potentially related videos. A French app sensation had the same idea.
When asked if each destination will have an address or description, the company said it is something they are working on. Desti wants to build a more robust discovery tab to allow users to explore different locations, places, restaurants, events and local businesses.
Other features in the works include a subscription plan and paid features that remove restrictions such as daily message limits. Currently, users can send 5-12 messages per day.
There’s also a companion version of the app called Bestie, which is currently in beta in Austin, Texas.
In July, the company raised the entire $1 million round at a $5 million valuation.
When it launched, on July 29, Desti had 500 users in the first hour. In total, there were 2,000 downloads and over 5,000 messages that one day.
Founded by John Taylor, AJ Qutub and Nick Dominguez, the destination-based dating app aims to “stop small talk, boring, dead conversations, terrible one-liners and flaky matches that go nowhere,” according to the company. . Online dating and trying to start a conversation with strangers is inherently difficult. Knowing that someone likes one of your favorite coffee shops or seeing one of you and your friend’s favorite patio bar every now and then makes them feel like strangers. A person you can relate to naturally will help the interaction feel more natural. The goal of every dating app is for people to eventually meet somewhere. It’s our thesis that introducing that into the swipe experience leads to the ultimate goal of greater transformation.
Are most of their inboxes on other dating apps flooded with cheesy pick-up lines or the most basic and uncreative opener “sup?” Desti was also created with single women in mind.
“We realized that the main conflict with dating apps today was filtering and communication. For women, managing their dating app was a full-time job, and it was hard to control what they got out of it. All three of us liked the idea of giving people more control over their experience,” Dominguez said.
We had a question. Did John, AJ, and Nick have an awareness of meeting women’s needs? Former Hinge designer Julia Chesborough advised the trio on the dating app industry and designed the Desty app for them. But if the designer is a woman with a background in hinges, why isn’t she a co-founder?
Dominguez replied, “Dating apps are two-sided. Women experience a great deal of clutter on their side, and men get lost in that clutter. We understood that there was an issue on our side and our goal was to reverse the cause of the problem. Our designer, Julia, is amazing – she runs her own agency, Rebel Studios, where she has tons of clients and makes more than she does for one business every year – so she’s not currently a co-founder.
While Desti was designed for women who experience the “mess” on dating apps, we’d argue that the main conflict in current dating apps is harassment and a lack of background checks. In the year In 2019, an investigative report by ProPublica and Columbia Journalism highlighted the issue of sex predators on Match-owned dating apps like Tinder. In March, the Matchmaking team rolled out background checks for Tinder and recently expanded background checks to its eponymous app and Trigger.
“Safety is important for everyone and especially for women. Not all women want to meet a man for the first time in their house. That was top of mind when creating Destiny,” Dominguez said. “We want to enable people to choose their favorite public space like Desti. Apart from that, there will be background check and photo verification with AI.
The startup said it aims to offer background checks and photo verification features in the future, but these are not included in the current app. Dominguez was unable to provide any additional information about its plans in these areas, other than to suggest that they are considering some form of third-party integration.