The world of online dating is forever changed due to the pandemic. Popular in the past, dating apps are more prevalent than ever due to the lack of opportunity to socialize, go out and meet new people.
Marc Smith is the founder and CEO of Glance!, the world’s first “pre-dating” app. Glance! is a game changer for the dating scene, allowing users to “ping” one another after making eye contact in the streets, rather than spending hours on dating apps, creating profiles that will impress—because we all know how difficult that can be.
A Broadway actor for years, Smith spent a great deal of time on the road in new cities, where he longed to meet new people and even make friends.
“I’m in this new city; somebody help me! I want to go out and meet people!” said Smith. “That’s when my mind segwayed into, ‘I should make these things.’”
Social distancing, mask-wearing and the fear of rejection have eliminated the possibility of meeting someone special in public. College students especially are now longing for the simple activities they once took for granted.
“Lunch in the park…it’s not a club, it’s not a bar, but it’s human interaction and I think people are yearning for that. Especially college students these days,” said Smith.
TMH: Glance! is a “pre-dating” app, which is a term I’ve never heard before. Could you explain exactly what that is?
Smith: Well, when it comes to pre-dating, I see apps today where you know a lot about the person before you meet them. Meaning, when you go on dating apps, you see someone’s profile, you know their friends, where they go, what drinks they like, what movies they like. All of that stuff has taken out the excitement of learning about somebody from them and being able to react with them in the moment.
But, with Glance!, you see a person and it opens the doors to say “hey, they like you, too.” So, you don’t have to worry about the fear of rejection. This app is just a new approach to dating.
Where did you get the idea to make a more “in the moment” experience rather than typical dating apps where you have information already at your fingertips?
So, I myself have used dating apps a lot. The process of signing up, I hate. Trying to sound eloquent and say cool things…finding a picture and doing a bunch of Instagram pictures. Ugh. It’s a big hassle.
When I’m out and about, I’m constantly locking eyes with people, giving a little smile. You think “Oh! Well that could be awesome if this worked out” and then all of a sudden you are like “aaaand, I’m walking away and now. I’m in my car for some reason. My life could have changed!”
I was traveling for work when this kind of popped in my head. I had a day off and I was in Spain, so I went to a museum. I was in there walking about, and I caught someone’s glance and thought, “Maybe I should say something,” because I speak a little bit of Spanish, but then, “you know what, no.”
But then, it just stayed on my mind all day and I thought, “If I could just send something”…and so I started doing my research and found out that no apps do this.
When did this experience happen to you?
I was there in October last year, so a year ago…So, I go to my friends and I go to my family and I go, “What do you guys think of it?” They said, “That’s great!”
So, here we are!
How long did it take for you to really develop this idea after conducting research?
I am a fan of research and statistics and things like that, so I wanted to see if there was a real market for this and see what people were thinking. I targeted mostly toward millennials age 18 to 35. In my research, I found out that 61 percent of all people who date online would rather meet someone in person, and they’re millennials, so that is 4.4 million people in America who would rather meet someone in person.
Did the pandemic shape some of your ideas for the app?
With the pandemic… and the fact that nobody really wants anybody to approach them who is a stranger…everybody’s wearing masks and things, it’s hard to have that organic kind of courtship or organic kind of attraction to anybody because you don’t know what they look like, but with this… it’s like oh this is a way to circumvent the idea that “well I’m never going to meet anybody out anymore.”
Could you walk our readers through the sign-up process?
It’s very simple. You sign up, but there’s no profiles to make. All you need to do is add a picture, your birth date and your first name so you can get the age range on there. The gender as well, so people can see who they are connecting with. Simple as that.
You’ll pull up the app up, and there is a button that says “See who’s around you.” You’ll tap; you’ll see profile pictures pop up. Then, if you see somebody, you’ll tap their picture and then all of a sudden, bang, they ping you back.
You’ll match and then you’ll be put into a five minute chatroom. I’ve allowed it for 15 minutes, just because it’s new to users, but then the chat disappears. Then, you walk up to them.
It’s timed. There is no catfishing. That is all eliminated now.
Glance! launched Sept.10, and is now available in the app store. It only takes four steps to create a profile for a potentially life-changing connection. Head to www.theglanceapp.com for more information.
“It Only Takes A Second”