In spite of the egalitarianism that permeates millennial culture, and wide-spread acceptance of interracial couples, on-line dating is anything but color-blind.“We interviewed some women, for example, who were on these mass market sites,” says Brian, “And they were getting harassed on the sites to some degree, overly-sexualized by guys on there.Most of the times these guys weren’t Black.”In addition to being the subject of an unwanted fetish, statistics such as those recently compiled by dating mega-site Ok Cupid suggest that Black women fair the worst on dating sites.
The founders launched the app at Howard University in April, and received over 17,000 downloads in its first month, outperforming an early Tinder.
In these virtual bar scenes, stolen glances are replaced with hasty swipes, and complex algorithms play the role of yenta.
Sometimes, in this illusory world where nothing is exactly as it seems, love happens, but for the most part, as people sort through profiles like the pages of a catalog, dating has become less ritual, and more of a numbers game– a numbers game where the odds are often stacked against African-American romantic hopefuls.“I was talking to one of my friends. He’d just been on Tinder for maybe a week or so and he had 40 or 50 matches already,” says Brian Gerrard, 26.
Members are also limited to viewing 30 photos every eight hours, and an algorithm tracks user behavior in order to predict compatibility.“There’s been over 10,000 matches on the app, tens of thousands of users, and tens of thousands of downloads,” says Brian, who quit his position at Nielsen to work on BAE full-time.
Justin, a graduate of Harvard, deferred his second year of Dartmouth’s Tuck Business School to invest time in the start-up. The trio of Black male founders, a rarity in tech, say they are halfway through their seed round of funding, ,000 of which came from placing first in Dartmouth’s pitch competition.