While feeling frustrated swiping and messaging people on dating apps for months, Conroe native Erica Sinner had the idea of creating a different type of meet-up platform.
After a particularly upsetting conversation in 2019 with someone she matched with, Sinner thought of developing an app that would more immediately get people to meet up in person.
“Originally, I was trying to fix an issue in the dating world where I don’t want people chatting, but I am focused on solo meetups and group meetups,” she said.
Two years later, she launched DanceKard at the end of August and now has about 638 users on the platform. For now, the app is only available for Apple users in the Houston area, but the CEO has plans to expand to Android users and people across the U.S. in the new year.
Sinner, who used to be a full-time home developer for the greater Houston area, also created the app with her hometown of Conroe in mind. DanceKard promotes events local businesses host, ranging from trivia nights to happy hours, as an option for users to meet up.
“I’m from Conroe and I’m here to advocate for making Conroe better,” she said.
She explained how this feature ultimately benefits local establishments and helps them determine what promotional events bring them more business. More than 80 percent of users pick a promotional event to meet up at, according to data from the app.
“I get calls because (businesses) want to partner,” she said. “They want to find ways of drawing business to their location, especially since COVID, so this really helps them.”
In addition, the existence of a platform to allow others to meet up also appeals to people who aren’t just looking for a relationship. The app features a group hang-out option for those looking simply to connect with others and make friends.
“This is really geared to getting people out in public in front of each other, socializing,” she said.
So far, Sinner has seen success on the app, with three to six people accepting requests to meet up somewhere per week. The app has a 24-hour window for people to chat before the meet-up in order to coordinate, which she believes “pushes people out of their comfort zone.”
“A lot of people seem to like that,” she said. “They like the fact they don’t have to have this constant communication.”
Sinner said she made the app primarily to help people connect and find meaningful relationships. She hopes the platform addresses the issues she had when she would swipe on other dating apps.
“I want people to start communicating in person and see people respecting each other,” she said. “I just want to see some changes. I feel like I can do this indirectly with the way the app is laid out.”