Just in time for Valentine's Day, a Minnesota startup is pitching what its founder says is a novel new dating app.
The Spark Starter concept: People play matchmaker with their friends through Facebook. CEO Tony Kramer says his company fills a narrow gap in a crowded field of digital-dating competitors. What sets Spark Starter apart is that it gets people who are already in relationships involved, company officials say.
"We want people to feel comfortable being a matchmaker and to help their friends," Kramer, a Hayfield, Minnesota, native, told the Rochester Post Bulletin. "It's a key difference from other dating sites, when you are single and feel like you are still by yourself, no one is helping you and you don't know all these other people that are out there."
Here's how it works, tech.mn explains: A cupid-playing user logs into Facebook and uses the company interface to introduce two friends, or "create sparks."
Or, Spark Starter allows users looking for love to sign themselves in and search their friends' friends, and then seek an introduction.
An algorithm that uses mutual friends and "likes" on their Facebook pages helps determine compatibility.
Kramer says he got the idea from his own personal experience – he was introduced to a woman through Facebook, and now they are married.
"I thought, 'Wow, that was a really cool way to meet someone through a mutual friend," Kramer told CW 23.
Does it all sound a bit ... impersonal? More pointedly, FOX 47 in Rochester asks: Is social media killing romance?
"Spark-starting is really about making that initial introduction and then it's for those two people to take it into the offline world...the introduction happens through (the site), but afterwards, we want people to interact offline," Kramer told FOX 47.