The online dating world isn’t short on its share of bad media. Chances are, if you’ve ever used a dating service, or any public profile service for that matter, you’ve encountered some unsavory characters. The nature of social media is to project the best of ourselves, so if that means stretching your height, most people will do it, or at the very least have been disappointed when your mystery date shows his or her face. That’s what a new LA startup seeks to repair.
Okay, so it might not literally verify your height, but it’s certainly not out of the question for Serenify, a new platform that enables and encourages honesty in social forums. With Serenify’s API members can link up to 30 pieces of verified information about themselves to their social or dating accounts, hopefully diminishing some of the distrust that’s become synonymous with social media and particularly online dating.
“Online dating helps people create relationships and build trust between strangers, but the current background check market puts a barrier in that path," Jordan LaPointe, co-founder of Serenify, explained. We wanted to make something that facilitated trust and connected people with a message of promoting honesty — all while saving people from having to play detective.”
Serenify received $175k in seed funding in February when they launched, and have big plans for 2015. Later this year, Serenify will release v1.0 of their API, as well as an iPhone app, and a profile photo verification service. “End-users will be able to connect their account (e.g. their OKCupid account) to Serenify and show other members their information has been verified. If that service has not yet integrated Serenify with our API, members can still easily share their profile URL at their discretion.”
Founder Garrett Gilbertson and LaPointe are brothers, and between them they have a broad disciplinary range. Gilbertson has his MS in business entrepreneurship from Pepperdine, and before launching Serenify, LaPointe was a front-end developer at Target’s in-house agency. “I saw a lot of high and low-functioning teams which helped me know what I wanted for our team at Serenify.”
And they’re growing an impressive squad of creative developers. Mark Fox, an interactive developer from Puny Entertainment in Portland, and designer Jared May have joined the team. Their combined expertise and connections are being utilized to obtain $100k in angel investments and stay on track before they pursue their Series A investment round.
On the development side, Serenify’s next few months will be devoted to developing the automated verification system that’s already getting the attention of dating sites. Serenify’s thumbprint would serve not only as a stamp of approval for its users, but also as a promotional badge for sites to boost confidence in their base.
The hope is that taking the guesswork out of web-based introductions will make those environments safer, more natural and more fun. Because everyone likes a little mystery, but surprises should be reserved for anniversaries.