SA startup Weaver taps Facebook to help singles find love on a group date


Joining an armada of dating startups — some more legit, than others — that tap Facebook for eligible singles, South Africa’s Weaver is putting forward an interesting spin on matchmaking: group dates.

Founded by the same guys that brought us CableKiosk, the ecommerce site that specialises in gadget cables, Andrew Lynch and Kiril Dobrev’s Weaver sets up drinks between two groups of friends. There’s no need for a public profile. Weaver matches up the two groups — each consisting of three people — using information from their Facebook profiles.

Matches are made through a mix of number crunching as well as human curation. Once that’s done, an email is sent out with the time and place of the meet-up — called a Weaver. The cost of a Weaver is R79 (about US$8) per head, which covers the matching service and the first round of drinks to ensure everyone shows up. There is no registration fee however, which means members only pay for the ‘dates’ they get.

Weaver has launched in Cape Town and Johannesburg, with Durban and Pretoria coming “soon”.

So where did the idea come from? Co-founder Lynch explains: “We spent so much time working that we didn’t have time to go out and join social or sports clubs. The only other alternative was to join an online dating site, but we found the idea very creepy.”

The pair had a candid discussion about what were the most relaxing ways to meet new people and the environments that facilitated it.

Co-founder Dobrev said: “While online dating is essentially a collection of personal ads, we wanted a service that took all the hassle out of meeting girls. I joked that meeting girls should be as easy as pressing a button and it is from that phrase that Weaver was born.”

Lynch said says that the aim for Weaver is to take care of everything. From vetting and matchmaking to the reservations. “We literally enable you to meet cool people at the push of a button,” he says.

Apparently more girls than guys have signed up for the service. Dobrev believes that girls are especially conscious about their environment. “The ability to bring along two friends puts them at ease, and hey, if they don’t like the people they have met, they have still had a great time sharing a drink with two friends,” he says.

Lynch and Dobrev, both attended Rhodes University, and launched CableKiosk from their digs in March 2012. Their offices are in Woodstock, Cape Town, home of the Bandwidth Barn incubator.



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