A new app localises online dating based on the needs of Egyptian singles
Spotted: Not every culture has the same protocol and traditions for when it comes to finding a mate. For some, swiping right is just not culturally appropriate and now, there is a dating app that takes this into account. Egyptian entrepreneur Sameh Saleh, alongside three others, have created “Harmonica”, a dating app aimed at the specific needs of Arab users. The app is for those who do not want to rely on traditional matchmaking but are seeking a more conservative approach to finding a partner than Tinder. Since its launch, Harmonica has become one of Egypt’s most popular dating apps.
Harmonica claims the key to its success is localisation. The app mimics some elements of traditional matchmaking and targets more conservative users without explicit religious branding. Localisation features include a “guardian” function, which (with both users’ approval) sends transcripts of their chats to a third party, such as a parent or aunt, mimicking the common habit of bringing a relative along on a date.
Harmonica allows users to post a blurred profile photo, which can only be fully revealed to users of their choice, a feature geared toward more conservative women. The service also offers a team of psychologists to answer questions from users who need advice. The app’s success has led to its purchase by the Match Group Inc., the parent company of Tinder and Match.com.
With Match planning to bring in 25 per cent of its revenue from Asia within the next five years, the purchase makes a great deal of sense. Match has described Harmonica as a “platform to accelerate global expansion in the Muslim demographic”.