Matchmaker Provo provides unique Valentine’s dating experience

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A group of BYU and Stanford students created Matchmaker Provo, an online data-driven matchmaking event for those sick of swiping through dating apps. (Matchmaker Provo)

A group of BYU and Stanford students created Matchmaker Provo, an online data-driven matchmaking event for those sick of swiping through dating apps.

The group decided it would be fun to put a twist on Provo dating culture. The aim is to match participants up based on a mix of values, beliefs and personality traits rather than just the physical appearance emphasized by popular dating apps.

“We just started getting fed up with Mutual and other dating apps because they were solely based on snap judgements,” said Matchmaker marketing vice president Emme Chipman. “We wanted to see what would happen if we made something that would be kind of the opposite of those things so instead of physical judgement it was completely blind.”

Participants sign up and answer a questionnaire with a series of 70-80 questions. The responses are put into an algorithm that matches users with those who gave similar responses.

Matchmaker Provo ran for the first time in the fall of 2020. Creators were shocked by the success of the first round with over 4,800 participants, 40% of whom reported going on a date with their match. The second round now includes 5,400 people who signed up for the experience just in time for Valentine’s Day.

“It kind of blew us away how successful it was,” said Matchmaker’s chief communications officer Sam Waddoups. “We launched it just for fun, and we were really surprised when we got 200 followers on Instagram, and then we were really surprised when we got 1,000 followers on Instagram, and then we were really surprised when we got 4,500 or something like that to take the survey.”

Matchmaker’s creators have made some adjustments to the process for this second round. First, they’ve divided the questionnaire into two sections. The first category measures attitude, values, opinions on politics and religion, and decision-making processes. These questions are geared towards measuring compatibility in a relationship.

“Some people in relationships think it’s really good to have arguments to get it out and some people really don’t like having arguments, so that is a really important distinction,” Waddoups said.

The other category was added for the second round to account for personality and interests. For example, these questions ask about how outdoorsy or ambitious someone is. Participants are matched with those who share a similar set of both values and interests.

“On this round we adjusted the algorithm a bit so that is takes into account that differences in interests can also be attractive,” Chipman said.

Other changes made for this round of Matchmaker include expanding to UVU and receiving four matches instead of just one. This gives participants more dating opportunities within the single survey.

Matchmaker has given all the students involved great business experience while providing Provo residents with a fun new way to date.

“At Stanford we are constantly surrounded by this start-up culture, and so we wanted to do something similar working with a group of people or friends to make something happen,” said Matchmaker’s business manager Kasen Stephensen.

Matchmaker also partnered with local businesses Subzero and Brick Oven. Coupons to these restauraants are included with match results to provide something for participants to do with their matches.

Follow Matchmaker Provo’s Instagram @matchmakerprovo to stay updated on current and future rounds.

Graphic Designed by Emme Chipman
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