The founders of new dating app Paktor (which allows you to scan and “like” user profile images anonymously—to protect you from rejection) talk about adapting mobile dating for the Asian market.
How did you come up with the idea for Paktor?
Joseph Phua: I was spurred to create Paktor while living in the US. After suffering the heartbreak that accompanied ending a long-term relationship, I realized how hard it is to meet people and date. Dating websites certainly helped, but they were far from perfect, particular for an Asian. This led to frustration, which brought me to the realization that if I was struggling to find a date in the US, surely those facing similar problems in Asia—where fear of rejection is much worse than it is in the US—must be going through an unbearably difficult time.
What is your target age group and why?
JP: Paktor’s target age group spans from 18 years old to people in their 30s. Singapore’s work culture with long working hours has become a hindrance to an active social life, making it difficult for them to find a suitable partner.
Why did you decide on focusing on the Asian market, even with while you were both studying in Chicago?
JP: With Asian roots, we understand the culture here and the reserved, simplified approach to dating preferred by Asia's socially conservative and introverted society.
Christopher D'Cruz: Paktor’s culturally-compliant features align seamlessly with Asian societal norms. It aims to resolve Asia’s most tempestuous dating concern: the fear of being snubbed by a potential date, at the same time easing the process of finding a partner.
Before Paktor, did you try any other dating services?
JP: Yes, I’ve tried many during my time in the US. Some good, some bad. Online ones tended to be better. Part of the reason we launched Paktor was because of the lack of similar products and services in Asia. We took some things we liked in the West, adapted them for the Asian market and launched Paktor.
Any tips for people using the app?
JP: Don't be afraid to like somebody's photo. We keep it all anonymous for you.
It can be difficult to get people to post appropriate photos of themselves. Is there any way you filter out lewd or inaccurate photos?
Charlene Koh: Paktor users login via Facebook, providing that trust factor that ensures the authenticity of the account, ruling out any photos that might be offensive. There's also a little red flag on the top right corner of each photo where users can also flag the photos that they deem inappropriate.
What are some other ideas you have in the works?
CK: We work with partners to host fun events for our users, such as the We Said So Cover Night Party at Fallabella in Bangkok last month. In Singapore we're also planning to host activity based dates or networking sessions at different outlets.
Check out mobile dating app Paktor.