This New Dating App Makes IRL Connections Easier – SOON App


Ghosting, aimless conversation without ever meeting, endless swiping with little connection, and overall disappointing dating experiences inspired best friends Alena Titova and Cora Kyler to do something about their mutual dating app fatigue.

Alena was on the east coast getting her masters in architecture at MIT. Cora was across the country in Berkeley, deep into her math PhD. Like most college students, they were starving for connection and human interaction, post-pandemic. As they emerged from their respective academic covid caves in 2021, they recounted their less-than-ideal dating app experiences. Other friends chimed in – no one, it seemed, was particularly pleased.

In fact, 45 percent of users say an online dating site or app made them feel frustrated. Gen Z hasn’t dated without dating apps, but 42 percent of online daters have “described their experiences as very or somewhat negative.”

Alena and Cora partnered up to create an app they would want to experience in their quest to create meaningful IRL connections, using their respective skill sets. Alena approached mobile app creation as she would the design of a physical space, carefully considering the pathways people use to move through each. Cora looked at it from a math/algorithmic point of view.

Most dating apps leverage the same data based on your interactions and behaviors *within* the app – how many people view and like your profile, who you ultimately match with & which of those matches you message with (notoriously few). This information has value, but its value does not necessarily match how and with whom you’d like to spend real, in-person time with.

SOON, available in beta in the Bay Area, CA this fall, goes deeper and picks up on how you spend your time in the real world as opposed to how you enter the fantasy world of apps. SOON prioritizes in-person dates, the quality of the match, and getting you on that date quickly. They’ve staked their algorithm on something uniquely valuable—who you give your undivided time to and they use privacy-preserving tech to find that out.

Here’s how this new dating app works:

new dating app soon

You swipe to determine a match, and then view your match’s video reply to a SOON prompt to decide if they seem compatible and like someone you’d like to meet IRL. Indicate your preferred times to meet because your (or one of your matches) first message comes with a time and a place. SOON provides a list of the coolest & not-so-boozy date spots in your area. For example, you might receive a personal message that has a built-in invitation to meet tomorrow afternoon for tea at Red Bay & a stroll along the pier—say “yes” for the chat to continue.

“There isn’t enough effort put in to reverse the kind of isolation that people can feel on this kind of technology when it promises so much,” notes Cora, “we take care of that.”

Tired of online conversations that go nowhere? Check out SOON for fun ways to meet IRL and skip the online dance of endless chatter *before* you even meet. Get out there and good luck!

Photo: Courtesy of SOON/The Saint Studio

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