Published: 10:00, 11 December 2017
A dating app designed to combat the “click-and-collect” culture of rivals is looking for £100,000 of investment.
Fobo is described as the world’s first “proactive hybrid dating business” by its chief executive and founder Terry Cullen.
Unlike many other dating apps, all members are vetted and verified as single and living in the UK by a team of administrators and moderators.
The company has launched a crowdfunding campaign on website Seedrs to pay for the app’s development.
Mr Cullen, who runs the business form his home in Kings Hill, said: “The reason I joined the dating industry was to change the way people meet.
“I wanted to improve the opportunity of people finding meaningful relationships, for this and future generations, and to move away from the click-and-collect pick-up culture encouraged by other providers.
“We are creating an inclusive dating business that facilitates a community of singles as opposed to a catalogue of partners.”
The company claims to merge “the best of social media, online and offline dating” and appeared in front of MPs as part of the cross-party commission on loneliness in September.
It runs Single Saturdays events across the country, bringing together members from 240 singles groups across the UK hosted on Facebook, of which 12 are in Kent.
Mr Cullen said: “Single Saturdays has a community feel. Soon after launch we created an app to help people connect to their local Single Saturdays Facebook group.
“The magic will start in the second version of the app, which is planned to offer both free and premium content.
“We intend to develop some unique and innovative engagement features never seen before in a dating app.”
Mr Cullen was able to start Fobo thanks to the success of his other business Resin Bound Surfaces Group, based in Larkfield, where sales have increased 28% on last year.
The company employs six people and has become the fifth biggest supplier of resin bound gravel in the UK over the last three years, as well as a successful training firm.
The second version of Fobo’s app is due out at the end of next month, around the time the crowdfunding campaign closed on January 29.
There are more than 16 million single people living in the UK, of which six million are on Facebook, where Fobo recruits its members.
A report by Mintel in 2015 said the UK online dating market was worth £165 million and forecast it to grow to £225 million over the next two years.
The company has already raised more than a quarter of its fundraising target.
Mr Cullen added: “Fobo aims to give people what they truly want.
“More security within a more natural dating environment.
“We want to overhaul the dating industry and actively encourage community honesty.”
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