Tips For Finding A Date This Valentine’s Day From The Co-Founders Of Black Dating App MELD

February 11, 2015  |  

With the influx of online dating sites and apps available to singles, meeting someone has become (seemingly) easier than ever. Although dating sites and apps are getting more and more users to use their platforms to find love each year, the statistics behind single African-American women successfully meeting and finding someone online are still grim compared to other women. According to Quartz, data compiled from Facebook’s dating app Are You Interested found Black men and women receive the lowest response rates on many online dating sites than any other race.
Although the research provides a grim reality for the up to 70 percent of professional Black women who are single, dating apps like MELD are working to combat these statistics with a curated platform specifically for black professionals looking for love.

Raissa Tona and Wale Ayeni, the co-founders of MELD, saw the market for a platform for Black professionals to meet and match online a year ago, and have grown since their app launched for iOS six months ago.

“The black professional market [on dating sites and apps] is underserved. There are plenty of dating apps out there that serve a bunch of different segments, but none are catering to the black professional,” says Ayeni. “The premise of MELD is that we are creating a platform for black professionals to date and to mingle and to provide an avenue where you can find like-minded people.”

With Valentine’s Day approaching, MadameNoire spoke with the co-founders of MELD to discuss their dating app, the stigma of online dating in the Black community and how you can snag a date this Valentine’s Day weekend.

MadameNoire: What have you experienced so far from African-American professionals on MELD?
Raissa Tona: I think we are still educating. Even on MELD, we have female [users] who will email us and thank us for creating the app and have met someone they are dating from the app, but don’t want anyone to know publicly. I don’t think we are at the point where we have removed that stigma completely. I think it’s changing, but it hasn’t changed to where it is as acceptable as it is in some other communities.

Wale Ayeni: We have gotten a lot of users on MELD who has never been on a dating site before. We designed the app in such a way that it is welcoming and not intrusive.

MN: Do you see more of that acceptance to meet someone on dating apps and sites with African-American men or women?
I think it’s about 60/40, 40 percent male and 60 percent female, which matches the professional demographic out there.

MN: What are some tips you have for Black professionals looking for love online for the first time?
 I would tell people that there’s no reason why you should be single and not doing something about it in 2015. If you are single and want to connect with other Black professionals, MELD is there.

But there is no reason you should be sitting home alone on Valentine’s Day, especially as a professional. As a professional, you are going to work and probably doing some type of networking or hitting the gym or doing your side hustle. So why not use a tool to make [dating] more efficient? And we are not saying that the only place you can meet people is online. You should go out and meet people and have conversations.

[Finally,] one of the things that we tell people is to be honest. A lot of people don’t put up pictures that represent themselves.

MN: What are some innovative ways Black singles can put themselves out there to date or just have fun this Valentine’s Day weekend?
Develop interests that are outside of your profession. [MELD] allows users to have more than five pictures, and in those five pictures, our goal is for users to represent themselves and their interests in those five pictures. So, if you like to travel, make sure one of those pictures is a travel picture. If you like to cook, you should display that. People are very visual, and they like to know that there is more to you.

Also, conversation through online and texts can be interpreted a certain way, so pick-up lines that don’t work in the normal world don’t work online. Maybe start the conversation, when reaching out to a person for the first time, with mentioning something about one of their five pictures. You’ll probably stand out to people who have probably reached out to them. So, say something that is unique and not contrived.

You can find more about the MELD app by following them on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram, or download the app for free on iTunes. Download and join MELD to attend one of the three Valentine’s Day events that are hosting exclusively for their users in Washington D.C., Houston and San Francisco this coming weekend.

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