Human match makers get paid for each successful coupling on dating app Once

From left to right: Founders Guillaume Sempé, Jean Meyer and Guilhem Duché

From left to right: Founders Guillaume Sempé, Jean Meyer and Guilhem Duché - Credit: Archant

Dating site Once doesn’t just depend on computer algorithms, but has a team of 170 match makers handpicking one potential love partner for each subscriber every single day.

The start-up in Exmouth Market was founded by three friends - Guillaume Sempé, Jean Meyer and Guilhem Duché - and now has two million users all around the world.

Marketing officer Eva Peris explained how they wanted to meet demand for a “serious dating app” rather than people looking for “hook-ups”.

Every day at noon, Once recommends one potential match. Users then have 24 hours to decide whether to “like” their pairing, and - if both people are amenable - to start chatting.

“The idea was to say that instead of quantity you will get quality,” she said.

“We realised people don’t want to go on some dating apps because they are inefficient and people might spend hours swiping.

“We provide matches to focus your attention on because they are picked by real match makers. We have an algorithm, but we think you need a human element to make your matches of the day to be a little bit more magical.”

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Match makers will look at photos that users have uploaded to see who looks good together, and get paid for each successful match, judged by users’ feedback.

“It’s a little bit like when you are walking on the streets and you see a couple who look good together,” said Eva.

“The idea is to learn from what they’ve done wrong. They are not going to be perfect. There are always mistakes.”

The app is free, but users can pay for extra features like being able to pick out their own matches.

“Our motto is “You don’t need to kiss a thousand frogs to find a prince,” Eva added.

“It’s all about the fairytale. At the beginning we said you can have one match a day. It was the idea of meeting your Prince Charming.”