A new dating app based on impressing matches with doodles rather than photos of your pouting face is gaining traction with Gen Z users.

Rather than sending “Hi…” messages to matches, Monet, which launched on iOS in December 2020, allows you to draw a picture and send it to other users. Aimed at those born in the late 1990s and early 2000s, 94 percent of the app’s users are aged 18-24.

Monet was created by a group of University of Pennsylvania students, who saw a gap in a dating app market dominated by the Millennial-focused likes of Tinder and Bumble.

“We were thinking about how members of Gen Z are actually using dating apps more like they use social apps, just to meet new people and just to have fun,” Monet co-founder Joanna Shan told Pando. “We tried to think of something that could be this fun and casual environment, and then at the same time help start the conversation better.”

Based on picture creation, Monet feels less like a Tinder-ish swipe-fest and more like creative sharing platforms such as Instagram and Snapchat. It feels wholesome, a place with more friendship potential than established dating apps. You can select whether you’re looking for dates or friendship when you register with the app.

Monet’s less hook-up-based environment has resulted in a gender demographic that’s Tinder’s opposite; 79 percent of Monet’s users are female, 16 percent are male, and just under five percent identify as non-binary. It’s been estimated that around 72 percent of Tinder users in the US are male.

The creative focus and a digitally native user base also means that many users end up sharing their Monet creations on other platforms.

“In terms of brand, dating apps can be a pretty weird thing,” Shan told the Rho Business Banking blog. “You don’t want to be caught on Tinder, right? It’s a bit like, ‘I’m not super proud to be on this app right now’. But because Monet has been this wholesome place to be, and fun activity to do to meet friends, we’ve seen that a lot of the members of our community feel really proud to rep it and share about it.”

By the end of 2020, Monet had over 2,000 people using it each day – a drop in the dating ocean – but is yet to roll out location-based matching. The founders said that despite this, some users based in different US cities had flown across the country to meet up, presumably in a Covid-safe way.

Matching based on location, including by university, is set to be launched soon, the company says.

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