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Dating app readies to spark SA love connections under lockdown

Read time 4min 40sec

There is a new dating app in the South African market, to provide a way for local single men and women to make romantic connections during the nation-wide lockdown.

Social and mobile dating app The League officially launched in SA and 23 other markets yesterday, in a move to expand its services to more parts of the world.

“Starting today [Thursday] singles in Cape Town and Johannesburg can download the app on their mobile device and start connecting with like-minded individuals locally and beyond.

“This rollout is part of The League’s commitment to providing people around the world a safe and effective way to create connections because while people are practising physical distancing, they don’t have to be socially distant,” according to a statement.

Founded in 2015, The League was created by Amanda Bradford, who also serves as CEO, and is modelled after private members-only clubs like Soho House.

It operates in 60 cities, including Cleveland, New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston, Washington DC and London, to date.

The members-only swiping app, aimed at professionals, uses data and social graphs from both Facebook and LinkedIn to fuel its proprietary algorithm. Users can then select their preferences for matches, with criteria including gender, age, height, distance, education, religion and ethnicity.

Furthermore, it can offer its users complete privacy from friends and co-workers, more context about potential matches, and a curated community of professional singles seeking an equally ambitious and driven partner.

“The League is known for its selective admissions-based model and high-achieving community of users. Though The League is often scrutinised for its selectivity, its mission is to create power couples out of its influential members.”

In SA, it joins other popular apps like Tinder, EliteSingles, Predict Dating App and SouthAfricanCupid, to name a few.

Explaining the reasoning behind its launch in the country, The League says as the second largest economy in Africa, SA is a centre of innovation and a hub for crypto-currency and blockchain technology.

“Cape Town and Johannesburg are the two richest cities in Africa and the two largest cities in the country, allowing professionals to thrive thanks to a strong education and ample opportunity.

“Per the US News & World Report, Cape Town and Johannesburg are home to the two best universities in Africa − University of Cape Town and University of Witwatersrand. All that aspiring singles are missing is their better half – and that’s where The League can help.”

Online dating under lockdown

With SA currently on day 57 of the nationwide lockdown, The League says its video-chatting options and video speed-dating feature League Live are the perfect way to find love while staying socially distant.

“The League is packed with features that allow users to safely and successfully video date right from the comfort of their couch. The 1:1 video chat feature within the app allows users to connect with matches over video without having to disclose personal information.

“Additionally, the one-of-a-kind League Live feature connects prospects on two-minute-long video speed-dates, introducing potential matches faster than ever.”

According to The League, video speed-dating has proven to create love connections and beta tests have shown that users experience four-times the match rate of the app and are three-times more likely to exchange numbers when using League Live.

“As the world continues to navigate these unprecedented times, The League is thrilled to provide a way for people to connect, now more than ever. The League has always been about building real connections, and putting an end to endless swiping.

“A user's preferences are analysed and they are given three high-quality matches a day within their preferences. Users can also set up their profile to connect with matches in different cities, further giving users a better chance to make real connections online, all while staying safe.”

Relationship expert Paula Quinsee says because singles are spending a lot of time online, they are really taking the time to look at people’s profiles, read up about them, and spend more time chatting with them.

“We go online − we use a lot of dating platforms like Bumble, Tinder, dating matching services, etc. Normally, we would go from online to offline; in other words, we meet up with the person face-to-face and we carry on the conversation and relationship offline.

“Under COVID-19, we can’t do that. What is happening now is that the dating cycle is getting drawn out longer and longer.

“On the one hand, this is frustrating a lot of people, but on the other hand, this is actually a good thing because it is forcing us to take time to really get to know somebody online first.

“We’ve had to become less picky − generally, we would look at someone’s profile and we’d either swipe left or swipe right and move on,” she concludes.

The League is available for download from the Google Play Store and Apple App Store.

A video illustration of the League Live feature available on the dating app

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