Tinder not your scene? Try Peekawoo to bring the romance back in your life
“There’s more to online dating than hooking up,” believes Peekawoo Founder and CEO Valenice Balace.
In the Philippines, many conservative females are frustrated with online dating applications like Tinder as they focus more on hookups than traditional dates. Just like fellow women, Balace remembers her fair share of dating disappointments and frustrations. “My friends and I complained about how dating wasn’t the way it was before — how we used to go to the movies or a dinner date, and the guy would bring the girl to her house. Now, it goes from meeting someone online, going to a bar or a condo, hooking up, and then simply moving on to the next person,” she shares.
These dating frustrations gave birth to Peekawoo. With a core team of three members and one investor, Balace sought to address the needs of females who do not fit in the prevalent hook-up culture.
The startup prides itself in creating a wholesome, fun, and safe dating app, where women in particular won’t have to worry about inappropriate messages and sexual innuendos.
Unhooking online dating
“We know our customers because we are them. There’s a sense of emotional responsibility to it; thus, we focus on women’s need in an online dating platform,” states Balace.
Currently on the web and iOS, Peekawoo filters suggestions based on the user’s basic information and preferences instead of location. To match and chat with someone, users need to answer three out of five questions correctly. This feature is to enable participants to consider not only looks of a user, but also see if their personalities match with each other.
Peekawoo is set to release a new version of its Web platform. It will also be soon available on Android.
The startup, however, does not solely depend on its application alone. It organises events such as speed dates, mixers, and movie screenings at popular bars, restaurants to further connect with its users.
In order to join these events, users must request an invite from the Peekawoo team. The startup then does a background check on the user for legitimacy and sends out an invite upon approval. “We take our invite list very seriously,” mentions Mara Ang, Co-founder and COO of Peekawoo. “As we’re catering towards conservative females, we need to prevent the hook-up culture from flowing into our events. We are not scared to ban participants who make others uncomfortable with inappropriate remarks,” adds Ang.
While primarily focussed in the Philippines, the firm wants to create a growing community of users who share similar interests. It has also gained users in other neighbouring Asian countries. Interestingly, it also has users in the US, primarily Asian Americans.
“There are still people in these countries who want to experience the type of dates their parents have experienced,” shares Ang. “We want to show the world that people don’t have to choose the hook-up culture if they don’t want to. There is another option for both males and females.”
Both Balace and Ang are excited about the future of Peekawoo. Currently, they plan to add new enhancements to the application, allowing users to make online purchases for their matches should they choose to do so.
“Technology is what we make of it. For us, at Peekawoo, we want dating to mean something. Hopefully a lot of people continue to see that too,” concludes Balace.
This post was originally published on 227