Lightning pitch: Meet Once, the slow dating app that offers an alternative to Tinder

By Oliver Griffin September 22, 2016

Company: Once – a dating app that claims to put quality over quantity and to increase meaningful dates and relationships.

Headquarters: Merry old London

Founding team: Jean Meyer, CEO

Why we like it: Because – let’s face it – somethings in life are better slow. Dating, or finding a date at least, is one of them. Sure, there is something fun about the cold brutality of Tinder but after the RSI has taken hold of your swiping thumb, what more joy is there to be had? 

As a dating app, Once aims to help people find meaningful, lasting relationships by using a combination of people – actual people – and algorithms to provide carefully selected matches. Basically, Once hopes to provide an alternative to ‘hook-up’ style apps such as the world famous Tinder.

Why is it called Once, you ask? Well, this app limits users to just one match a day, using a concept the founders call “slow-dating” (it is no surprise that Once is a UK export, a country where dating traditionally means avoiding any contact with the person you actually fancy for at least six months).

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Users start out with Once by entering personal information including education, employment, and dating preferences, which are then used to refine potential matches. An experienced matchmaker then selects a good pairing (we don’t know what qualifications are involved) and then users have just 24 hours to send their first message.

For those hardened veterans of dating and dating apps, Once sounds like a mashup of Bumble – an app where sending the first message also has a 24 hour window – and your mom inviting the neighbors’ kid over “because he/she is a doctor”.

Once’s reach is only set to increase as the app has recently secured $5.5m in Series A finance from VCs and private investors. The recent financing, which includes a second wave from VC firm Partech Ventures, brings the company’s total funding to $9 million.

“This is a great achievement in the first year of launching our slow dating concept,” Meyer said.

“We are delighted that Partech Ventures recognize the potential our app has to globally reform the online dating scene.”