Digital Waves #5: Dutch Tinder rival The Inner Circle to launch VIP subscription and ‘it’s a bit creepy’

Digital Waves #5: Dutch Tinder rival The Inner Circle to launch VIP subscription and ‘it’s a bit creepy’

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While some of you might stick to Tinder for online dating, there’s another dating app in the Netherlands which has been making waves for quite a while now. The Inner Circle, a unique, selective online dating app, which makes sure to match you up with vibrant, like-minded ‘elite’ singles.

The Netherland’s hottest online dating app startup lately won the Deloitte Technology Fast 50 awards this year for showing a consistent four-year growth.

Recently our founder Remco Janssen got an opportunity to meet David Vermeulen, founder of The Inner Circle, at Emerce eDay Scale-up Cafe — held in Amsterdam in October. While Vermeulen revealed a lot more about what to expect from the Dutch startup in 2018, he also had a piece of news to share.

Do check out the Digital Waves video below, to take a look at the full interview. Story continues below.

VIP subscription feature coming soon!

David exclusively informed that The Inner Circle is planning to launch a new VIP subscription very soon. David’s confirmed, “So at The Inner Circle, we’re about to launch a whole new VIP subscription; and its something we’re really excited about.”

He added, “Up until now, users in The Inner Circle used to get a match when they would like each other. With the new VIP subscription, they can find the people who liked them, find out who’s interested and can make an instant matching connection.”

Basically, under the VIP subscription, users can see if someone has liked them, without liking the other person. The VIP subscription also has a feature called, ‘Ghost Mode, where people can go online, but it doesn’t show that you’re online.

Although we feel its a bit creepy for sure, Vermeulen insists it’s a feature requested by its users

The startup has already done beta testing and has high hopes, the new feature would be a hit.  On this, David added, “Every time we come up with a new feature we always test it, and sometimes we test in one or two bigger cities. We do a lot of beta testing to see if people actually liked it, and then we roll out to other cities and countries. I’m pretty confident because we got many members asking for this functionality.”

The Inner Circle — for the elites!

For the uninformed, The Inner Circle is a dating platform started six years ago focusing more on quality instead of quantity. The company also does the screening of members in the app, curates and approves each member’s account to ensure you only meet the most inspiring singles. “We don’t offer only profile pictures, but also more in-depth information about profiles and we also organise events,” adds David.

Tinder rival?

When pitted against Tinder, David said, “Tinder is all about quantity, which means getting in as many people as possible.” He said The Inner Circle is all about the quality of people on the platform to avoid a random bunch of catfishers. However, he denies the fact that it’s elitist and primarily focusing on people around 25 to 45, who are a bit more serious about dating and finding somebody.

City by city approach

The Inner Circle follows the city by city approach. It was rolled out in different cities across the world including Hong Kong, Singapore, and Sydney. “We are expanding our base rapidly – North America and Toronto last year, Asia this year and going to focus on South America next year as well,” said David.

He continued, “We are doing a lot of testing right now to see if it works. And when we see it actually works, we will plan a roadmap towards an official launch.”

“At present, we are successful in bigger cities like New York, Los Angeles, and London. Especially in London, we had events with almost 1,000 people attending it, which is kind of crazy. When it comes to Amsterdam, there is still an opportunity for growth, but not as fast anymore as the beginning,” said David.

No external funding so far

Even after a couple of years, the company is making profits, and it’s still bootstrapped. He also added, “The company is in a healthy position right now, moreover, we are planning to launch our platform one city at a time instead of launching in 10 cities simultaneously, this approach gives us a chance to learn from our past mistakes as well.”

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