Former Zalora executive Razi Thalib and his friend Kevin Aluwi have been secretly working on a dating site since they met back in 2011. Thalib, who currently runs digital agency Bridges and Balloons, saw the lack of dating sites in Indonesia as an opportunity to come in and do something about it. The site is called Setipe and it’s aimed at people in Jakarta who want to try online dating and want to keep it private.
We spoke to Thalib a while ago about his views on the dating scene in Jakarta and why it’s necessary it have a dating site. In a nutshell, he said that while people still have a need to meet other people, the size of the city and the busy lifestyle of many of its residents warrants the presence of a dating site that can help them find the right match.
People want to seek partners from outside of their own circles, he said, but to get into the other groups it’s difficult because they tend to keep within themselves and an online dating site would be a solution to that problem.
“Online is a space where a lot of people can connect outside of their groups and expand their network,” Thalib explains. “Even in business, a lot of people connect through Twitter, a lot of people connect through LinkedIn, etc. we wanted a place where people can meet online and there’s not enough good dating sites in Indonesia to deliver that.”
Thalib sees inherent problems in online dating in general. “Number one is a lot of guys tend to contact women and they don’t get replies and on the flip side women get contacted a lot when they join these dating sites and then they don’t have time to reply”.
In an interview with Jakarta Globe, Aluwi said that when you met people at parties, “there’s no way that you can know if that person is a psychopath without spending some time with them first”, which clearly is a downside to these random encounters, although isn’t that where the fun is?
Setipe’s proposed solution is to bring a curated dating service where “you come in and you don’t search for people, you just wait for us to find you the right matches”, said Thalib to DailySocial.
Thalib told us that this actually solves a second issue whereby it eliminates the worry that people have of their friends, families, or coworkers knowing that they’ve joined an online dating site. “If you join, the only people who know that you’re on our site are the people that we’ve matched to you”. Unless, of course, those people happen to be members of your work or social circles, or even worse, family.
“We’re working with psychologists and building an algorithm based on their work to be able to match you better based on your compatibility with that person, so hopefully when you do meet someone through our system, eventually, it will be more like a second date rather than a first date”, Thalib explained.
The psychologists he’s talking about are Pingkan Rumondor and Nadya Pramesrani, both psychology lecturers at Bina Nusantara University who also work at the integrated clinic at the Psychology Faculty of University of Indonesia. They both maintain Setipe’s Twitter account.
Aluwi told the Globe that there will be two parts to Setipe, “one is the dating site, and the other one is to have interesting content regarding dating in Jakarta, like commentary and insights on dating in general.”
This strategy is similar to many online travel sites which not only sells travel packages but also publish articles about destinations, travel guides, tips, warnings, and so on. By having both content and service, Setipe aims to be a one stop destination for online dating.
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