Launch of dating website sees NZ internet entrepreneur become matchmaker.
Buoyed by comments from friends left unsatisfied by their experiences with dating websites, Dylan Bland decided he could create better technology himself.
After 18 months of web development, the 32-year-old internet entrepreneur will launch the country's newest dating website - Twosome - tomorrow, which is, fittingly, Valentine's Day.
"I've used internet dating sites in the past and a lot of my friends have used them as well," said Bland, who also founded flatting website NZ Flatmates and is a shareholder and advisory board member of local online shopping business Mighty Ape.
"People have just said to me over and over again that it was time there was something better."
It's a sizeable potential market, with data from the latest Census indicating there are over 1.5 million single New Zealanders over the age of 15.
Bland said a preview version of Twosome had already attracted close to 1000 users and the goal was to have 200,000 to 300,000 members signed up by the end of this year.
"Once you get people in there it's about techniques to keep them coming back," he said.
"Not everyone is going to get a great experience on day one - it takes longer than a day or a week."
Bland said Twosome's advantages were its usability, price, social media integration and "responsive design", which allowed the website to function properly no matter what kind of device it was being accessed on. Twosome is 20 per cent owned by Mighty Ape and the dating service will be promoted through the online shopping website's Facebook page and email database.
Albany-based Mighty Ape has grown to have over 500,000 customers since it was founded five years ago.
Bland said Twosome's main local competition would be Findsomeone, which is run by auction website Trade Me, and NZ Dating.
Members can customise their profiles and a filter matches users based on interests, age, gender and sexual orientation.
Twosome will not feature any advertising, instead earning its revenue from customer subscriptions.
"The advertising thing was really important to me because I love the internet and I like to use sites that aren't cluttered with advertising," Bland said. "Advertising can get in the way of the user experience."
Bland said Twosome members could start one conversation a day with another user free. Users who want to have more conversations will have to pay a monthly fee of $19.99.
Bland expects about 20 per cent of users to buy subscriptions and said the website had the potential to turn a profit "fairly quickly".