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Dating App Aims to Bridge Missed Connections, Even on Internet-Free Subway

By Serena Dai | July 30, 2015 7:48am
 New dating app Cheekd connects people within 30 feet of each other.
New dating app Cheekd connects people within 30 feet of each other.
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Cheekd

WILLIAMSBURG — The L train's missed connections just might have a better shot at true love now.

New dating app Cheekd, which launched about three weeks ago, aims to connect people who walk past each other in real life, even if it's on the subway when there's no cell service, CEO Lori Cheek said.

People with the app will automatically be notified if someone else within 30 feet of them also has the app, using either Wi-Fi or Bluetooth, Cheek explained.

They take a look at each other's profiles, and then they can "get cheeky" — a term used when both people express interest in each other on the app.

Once that happens, more profile information, such as job and social media links, are revealed, and the potential lovers can start a conversation either on the app or in real life, she said.

"Everyone in this day and age is staring at their phone, walking down the sidewalk," Cheek said. "Now, I feel like you're looking down at your phone, and they'll get a notification that they just missed a connection with so-and-so. The love of their life will be right there."

Cheek started working on the project years ago in hopes of creating real-life dating connections. She even went on ABC's popular "Shark Tank" show to pitch an earlier version of the app, where users handed out cards to people they were interested in.

None of the sharks wanted to invest $100,000 in the company, but Cheek ended up raising more than five times that from other sources after the show aired last year. That's when she started revamping the idea.

The app still aims to help break the ice in situations where people would ordinarily feel awkward approaching a potential date, like on the train or on the street, Cheek said.

She hopes the short-range GPS on the app helps singles meet people sitting at the end of the bar, not on the other side of town.

"Even with all the apps, it’s still pretty much like online dating. You’re sitting there in your bed flipping through profiles who are not right there right then," Cheek said. "But [Cheekd] is real-time."

Users can filter their potential matches by things like age and gender, and people will only see more information about you if you both decide to "get cheeky" with each other.

Subway matches will happen via Bluetooth, though users won't be able to access more information about their potential matches until they go back above ground.

Cheek is focusing on Williamsburg as the first place to find app users, starting with a launch party with free beer and food at Brooklyn Brewery next Thursday.

The first 200 people who show up with the app downloaded on their iPhones, their profiles filled out and their Bluetooth on will be allowed in the party.

Matches, she said, will hopefully start happening there.

"It could be someone right behind you, or across the street from you." she said. "[Cheekd] prompts you to look up and pay attention that the cutie that appeared on your phone is right there."