Before COVID-19 and social distancing, online dating usage was pervasive. Nearly 135 million Americans use dating apps. For our millennial generation, the singles using dating apps spend on average more than 10 hours per week scrolling and swiping on profiles. Even more surprising is that the average user is bouncing between four dating apps at the same time.
From a simple economic perspective, there is more supply than demand on popular dating apps, which leads to snap-judgments, and a perspective that you aren’t looking at a person, per se, but almost an item on Amazon. Don’t like it, just trash it and move on. That’s why less than one in five matches ever becomes a date on these apps. The seemingly endless supply of faces and names also leads to numerous negative results, including misogyny and harassment.
Across all these dating apps, over 60 percent of women have been sent “unsolicited nude pictures.” In the real world we call that “flashing.” Three-quarters of users have had to block another user for rude or insulting behavior.
Prior to online dating becoming the most common way people met romantic interests, being set up through friends and family led to the most successful relationships. Realizing the business opportunity that parents who traditionally spearhead matchmaking for their kids are completely left out of this new dating landscape, a new entrepreneurial venture emerged from a nice Jewish boy in Asheville, N.C.
JustKibbitz.com is a new dating site launching this fall that does just that. JustKibbitz lets parents play matchmaker. As the company tagline states, JustKibbitz exists to “help someone you love find someone they’ll love.”
“We want to bring the oldest form of dating online,” said CEO and co-founder Jeffrey Kaplan. “And we’re starting with Jewish moms.” Why Jewish moms? Kaplan jokes, “I have a brother who is single, and if I can’t find him a nice Jewish girl to date, my mom is going to plotz.”
Jokes aside, Kaplan, who himself is married and has a 1 year old, takes a data-backed approach to this go-to-market strategy.
His team surveyed over 100 single millennials and 100 moms inquiring about family structure, dating app usage, and likelihood of going out on a date set up by a parent. When asking millennials, “Would you go out on a date set up by your mom?” they say “Yes” only 50 percent of the time. Next the JustKibbitz team asked, “What if that date was pre-paid?” To this, millennials responded “Yes” 92 percent of the time.
If you’re still not convinced, survey respondents reported:
• “The hard part of dating is done for you. All you have to do is show up.”
• “My mom probably knows me better than I know myself.”
• “Because moms are involved, you know he can’t show up and be a jerk. If he does, it’ll get back to his mom!”
Kaplan clearly enjoys leaning into this trope. Discussing what differentiates JustKibbutz, he said, “Other dating sites are investing in algorithms and artificial intelligence. You really think a robot knows you better than your own mother? That’s meshugenah. Our site is powered by Maternal Intelligence!”
The dating site is basic, but effective. The parent logs in through Facebook, completes some profile basics, adds information about their single adult-age child, and voila, they are ready to start matching and messaging with other moms. You can set your parameters by distance, level of observance, and by hobbies and interests. As the mom running the profile, you actually match and message with other moms, not the daters. And if the two of you think your kids would get along, you set them up on a “Kibbitz,” the platform’s patented pre-paid date feature.
“We emphasize the importance of getting your child’s buy-in early.” Kaplan reminds us. “Tell your kid you are joining this community to meet other moms with single kids and you might find someone you think they should meet. But remind them, again and again, it’s no pressure, just kibbitz.” Get it? Kaplan wants to be clear this is not an arranged marriage site, simply a tool to help parents extend their network to help set up their kids on dates.
Just weeks from going live, JustKibbitz is open for pre-signups. If you’d like to join the waitlist, visit www.justkibbitz.com. By signing up, you will be one of the first to know more about the launch date and will have exclusive founding-member pricing.
Another way to support JustKibbitz is to sign up to be a Mombassador. These women will help spread the word about JustKibbitz to all of their friends, at their synagogues, JCCs, and mahjong games. To learn more about the JustKibbitz Mombassador program, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
“We hope you’ll join us to be the yenta you were born to be. We can end with that or ‘Warning: JustKibbitz may lead to adorable grandchildren.”
For additional information go to www.justkibbitz.com.