The founder and CEO of Thai startup Singles Solution, however, has spotted a gap within the market — and is going all out to occupy that space with social dating app Avalable (pronounced as Available).
Nikki Assavathorn tells TNW that dating apps on the market now are typically focused on one-to-one interaction, where you look at a profile to decide if you want to date that person. For Avalable, however, the focus is on engagement via a Facebook-like timeline: “We emphasize on posting stuff onto a timeline… I see you going out with your friend to celebrate a birthday, and then it’s easier to engage in a conversation.”
The app has been live in Thailand for about six months, but it recently rolled out to iOS and Android platforms worldwide — with the exception of China, where the startup is still working on integration with Twitter-like microblogging platform Sina Weibo.
Assavathorn comes into the dating app scene with eight years of experience in the dating industry, after having founded a Thai matchmaking agency called MeetNLunch to help professionals find a compatible partner.
She describes dating as a “number game” — where the more profiles you see, the more possibilities you get at chancing upon someone you like. Therefore, she prides Avalable on being as open as possible, a key differentiator from Facebook which is a (somewhat) private social network.
Avalable also takes social networking a step further into dating territory by actively introducing people to one another. The app sends daily matches to users based on compatibility scores, as well as interaction with other users. Its approach is a combination of personality equations, Facebook social graphs and computer pattern recognition.
Otherwise, Assavathorn is happy for users to treat Avalable just like another social network — where people can post their activities on a timeline and chat with each other using stickers. There is even a ‘Popular’ timeline where users with the most likes on their posts will get featured.
Assavathorn has ambitious plans for Avalable — she expects to see 30-50 million active users across Asia, Europe and the US in the next three years. She tells TNW that currently in Thailand, on average 40 percent of the users already open the app 15 to 50 times a day.
However, standing out among such a saturated market is a huge challenge, and Assavathorn has a trick up her sleeve: a game. To be more specific, she is seeking to develop social games on Avalable “where users can chat and flirt with each other while playing the same game.” The first game will be submitted by the end of this year to the App Store, but will likely land only early next year.
To gain inroads into the various countries, Assavathorn is also seeking local partnerships to attract more eyeballs to Avalable.
Whether or not Avalable can actually disrupt the current dating app scene remains to be seen, but going by how messaging and networking platforms are all the rage now, Assavathorn could have a shot. However, it is pretty annoying that searching on Google for Avalable keeps showing you results for ‘available’ — so that may very well have an impact on the take-up of the app.
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