NEW YORK CITY — A new matchmaking app requires men to sign a "gentleman pledge," where they commit to use the app only for "real romantic connection," to "not push for sex on the first date" and to "know how to dance, at least a little bit."
Dapper, which launches on Nov. 16, pairs up users but lets the women choose the neighborhoods where they prefer to meet.
Both men and women are subsequently sent a list of matches who are available at the same time they are. After perusing the list of matches — whose photos and basic information are taken from Facebook — mutually attracted pairs are sent information on where and when to meet for a date.
A man using the app is charged $19 for each date. A woman is charged only $9. Each user receives a free drink at the restaurant or bar where Dapper sends the couple.
Following each date, the woman is asked if her match "displayed any bad behavior." If the male user is red-flagged three times, he is kicked off the platform.
"Our entire premise is to make this better for girls," said founder and CEO Josh Wittman, 30, whose New York City-based company Zoom Tech Media is also behind cab sharing app, Cab With Me. "Our belief system is, if we make it better for girls, it will make it better for guys because it will get better girls on the app."
Dapper is attempting to solve a problem in the online dating marketplace: men after an easy hookup who prey upon women who want a serious relationship, according to Wittman.
There is no way to contact your Dapper date before meeting them in person. The app does not have a chat function like those on Tinder, Hinge or OKCupid. Those chats are, according to Wittman, often fruitless and don't result in a real-life meet-up. He added that chatting on a dating site can make women susceptible to lewd photos and comments from anonymous male users.
"That is how we are totally different," said Wittman. "You don't have that online talk. You go and meet face to face ... We want you to meet up in person to find out if you have chemistry."
While meeting someone without ever corresponding directly with them may be a big jump for some dating app users, Dapper found in a July survey of 400 single New Yorkers that 35 percent considered online correspondence before a date useless. Almost 50 percent of respondents said online dating in general was too much work.
Once a match between two users is found, Dapper sends the restaurant information. The app has partnered with restaurants throughout the city such as VinoTapa in Midtown East and Barramundi Bar on the Lower East Side. They agree to provide a drink for each Dapper user, with a potential for a drink to turn into dinner that the prospective couple pays for themselves if the date is going well, Wittman said.
Dapper makes its income from the fee charged to users for each date organized.
"It is what you would expect to pay on a date if you didn't have Dapper," Wittman said.
The company's team of five will be keeping tabs on red-flagged male users as well as attempting to fact-check the information provided by males and females on the app by cross-referencing LinkedIn and other social media platforms, according to Wittman.
"It is basically us doing the job of a matchmaker," said Wittman. "And the job of the matchmaker is to vet people."