Two years ago, Laurie Hinshelwood, 32, and Shari Linton, 30, childhood friends and Miami residents, booked a cruise to the Bahamas, hoping to find single men while on vacation.
To their surprise, all of the men they met on the cruise “were taken.”
“We were so disappointed,” said Linton, a former finance representative for American Airlines. “We said to ourselves, ‘Someone should create an app that tells us where the single people are.’”
In March they launched “My Single City” app, which notifies users where singles using it are hanging out.
Never miss a local story.
Since its launch, more than 3,500 users have downloaded the app in Google Play and Apple App Store combined.
The app does not require a profile or pictures. Hinshelwood said it’s mainly for singles to meet people in public places, such as restaurants and bars.
“With the app, the natural interaction is still preserved,” said Hinshelwood, who graduated in 2005 from the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Florida International University and currently works as a marketing specialist for iHeartMedia. “You still have to introduce yourself to people and put effort into interacting with others directly.”
After users verify their age and register, they can look for other singles anonymously by using their phone’s GPS.
They can refine their searches by choosing which gender, age range and education level they are interested in, as well as sexual orientation.
The app is free for the first 30 days. After the free trial, users are asked to pay $1.99.
“If you don’t pay, you can still use the app but are only able to filter your search by female or male,” Linton said.
Users can also get points every time they check in at a place, which can be redeemed as gift cards or giveaways.
Farah Allen, 32, has gone on a few dates because of the app.
“I like the app because you can go bar hopping and find interesting single people that you would not have met otherwise,” Allen said. “I can choose who I want to talk to because I know where they are located in a specific area within the place I visit.”
But David Campy, 30, a civil engineer, who started using “My Single City” this month, is planning on switching to other dating apps.
“The app is quite simple and easy to use,” Campy said. “However, it makes you a little anxious because you don’t know whom you may meet, and I am very used to looking at pictures before I meet the person.”
Linton and Hinshelwood said they are working with an app developer from India to continue refining and adding features.
“The goal for the improvement is to start attending tech competitions nationwide to showcase our app as well as learn new developments from other app creators,” Hinshelwood said. “The main idea is to make ‘My Single City’ an alternative to the mainstream dating apps.”