A dating app modelled after TikTok Desti sorts matches based on destination dates.


A dating app modeled after TikTok Desti sorts matches based on destination dates.


Users now have the ability to locate possible matches based on a preferred date location thanks to the new video-focused dating app Desti, which just launched over the weekend. Residents of Austin, Texas, the app's first market, can scroll through a vertical feed where profiles highlight the places (referred to as "destis") they want to visit on a first date, such as wakeboarding at Lake Travis, trying a new sushi restaurant, or even visiting a beer garden that welcomes dogs. Swiping through internal TikTok-style videos that showcase the Austin region yields the "destis."

Desti differs from other dating apps like Tinder or Bumble in that there is no "like" feature, forcing users to initiate interactions. The recipient can accept or reject a message that users have sent to them. They can only view one at a time, and to move on to the next, they must pass or respond to the message.

Users using iOS devices in the Austin region will be able to download the app at first. In the upcoming weeks, Android smartphones will have access to it. The business promises it would eventually branch out to other regions.

The user must choose three "destis" when creating their profile, choosing from options like breweries, rooftops, live music, food trucks, dog dates, etc. Alongside the film, there are several prompts to pick from, such as "Someone educates me...," "The CDC recommends...," or "Tonight we should... " The user adds a bio and four photos to their profile to finish it.

Desti employs a similar concept for its destination-based dating app because so many millennials and Gen Z users use TikTok or Instagram to find restaurants and new things to do in their neighborhood.

According to Nick Dominguez, COO and principal designer/developer of Desti, "We chose to gamble on short-form video being the future."

The startup is not the only dating app that emphasizes videos in the TikTok manner. Users can add videos to a feed and swipe on videos from matches on Snack, for instance. Similarly, the French app Feels had an idea.

The business said that it was working on whether each destination would carry the location or descriptions. To enable customers to browse various locations, venues, restaurants, events, and local companies, Desti intends to develop a more feature-rich Discovery tab.

Other features in development include a paid subscription option and upgrades that will remove restrictions like daily message caps. Users can currently send 5 to 12 SMS per day.

The program also has a friend version named Besti, which is currently in Austin, Texas, beta testing.

At a $5 million valuation cap, the company raised its whole $1 million round in July.

The first hour after Desti's introduction on July 29 saw 500 users. Over 5,000 messages and 2,000 downloads totaled just that one day.

The destination-based dating app, which was created by John Taylor, AJ Qutub, and Nick Dominguez, claims to help put an end to "small chat, dull, dead-end talks, awful one-liners, and flaky matches that never go anywhere." "Dating online and trying to strike up discussions with strangers are inherently awkward. One way to make someone feel less unusual is to be able to notice that they frequent one of your favorite patio bars or one of your favorite coffee shops. It contributes to the interaction feeling more casual, as though you may naturally run into the person. The objective of every dating app is for users to eventually meet. Our hypothesis is that adding it will increase the conversion of that end goal during the swiping experience.

Desti was developed with single women in mind as well, as many of their inboxes on other dating apps are swamped with cringe-worthy pickup lines or just the extremely basic and unimaginative opener "sup?"

"We discovered that screening and communication were the main points of friction in the most popular dating applications. Women had to handle their dating apps on a full-time basis, and it was difficult to manage the results. The three of us thought it was fantastic that people might be more in charge of their own experiences," Dominguez added.

What gives John, AJ, and Nick the insight to understand women's demands was one query we had. Julia Chesbrough, a former Hinge designer, gave the three guys advice on the dating app market and created the Desti app for them. But why isn't the designer a co-founder if she is a woman with experience at Hinge?

"Dating applications are two-sided," Dominguez retorted. Men become lost in the overwhelming bustle that women encounter on their side. We were aware that there was a problem on our end, and our aim was to identify the core of the issue. Our talented designer, Julia, is not now a co-founder because she currently owns her own firm, Rebel Studios, where she has several clients and earns far more money annually than she would by working for a single company.

Although Desti was created for women who are accustomed to dating app "clutter," we contend that harassment and a lack of background checks are the fundamental issues with today's dating applications. The issue of sexual predators on Match-owned dating applications like Tinder was highlighted in a report by ProPublica and Columbia Journalism Investigations in 2019. Match Group launched background checks for Tinder in March and more recently added Stir and its own app to the list.

Safety is crucial for everyone, but women especially. Not all women prefer to host the first date at their home. That was the main consideration when developing Desti," stated Dominguez. "We intended to allow people to select their preferred public space as their Desti. In addition, there will be AI-powered photo authentication and background checks.

Background checks and photo authentication functions are not present in the current app, according to the firm, but they are future plans. The only information Dominguez could offer about its ambitions in these areas was that they would think about adopting some sort of third-party integration.

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