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Group Matchmaker Brings Technological Prowess to Brooklyn

By Meredith Hoffman | September 27, 2012 7:01am

WILLIAMSBURG — Finding love in a Williamsburg bar might just get a little easier as a virtual matchmaker is taking his romantic algorithms to neighborhood watering holes.

Michael Waxman, 25, who created Grouper last year to set up three-on-three group dates (or "networking sessions," if that makes you feel more comfortable), is setting up shop with his site starting this week, with cocktail sessions in popular North Brooklyn bars and cafes like Milk and Roses and Mable's Smokehouse.

"I started Grouper when I first moved to New York as a way to meet new people," said Waxman, who had just broken up with his then-girlfriend, but soon found a new one. "I actually met my current girlfriend on a Grouper date."

Waxman praised the process, which is distinct from the typical dating website since Grouper literally matches you blindly with a date.

In Grouper, you submit your Facebook profile, set up preferences for whom you would like to meet (including age and other characteristics), and then let the site's algorithms and staff do the work. They pick one other person of the opposite sex, and tell you both to bring two friends of your own gender to the time and place Grouper selects.

Then you all meet, drink and see how everyone connects.

"Grouper has been a great way for our members to meet new friends, expand their social circles as well as start relationships," he said of the site, which has operated in Manhattan, San Francisco and Washington, D.C.

And now that the company is expanding to Brooklyn (and nine other cities) this fall, Waxman said Williamsburg was the ideal launch pad.

"I think Williamsburg, with its great nightlife scene, is the place to kick off Grouper in Brooklyn," he said.