PartyUp! chief executive Marcus Wu (吳建緯) tells the story behind a new dating app trying to bridge a gap between online dating and the real world.

TNLI: What is the origin of PartyUp! and when did you come up with the idea for the business?

Wu: Social activities among college students are mostly limited to the same year group or the same department. Building friendships with people from different universities or departments is never easy. Due to geographic limitations and lacking information, meetups among student organizations also usually face the problem of pairing up two similar groups, in terms of the number of people and their hobbies.

Most of our team members are from colleges in suburban areas and are conscious of the difficulty in making friends. Therefore, the team came up with the idea of launching a mobile app in June this year, encouraging college students to broaden their social realm by combining students’ daily lives with software and the virtual net. We also expect our users to meet people from different backgrounds to enrich their experiences.

TNLI: Can you briefly describe what PartyUp! Does?

Wu: There are three main functions of our product, including "one-on-one dating" matching, which already exists in the current market, an exclusive form of “multiple dating” matching, and various forms of parties, such as yacht parties, motel parties, baking parties, fashion style parties, will also be held from time to time to attract users and bring them together. In addition, cooperating with catering and entertainment businesses gets better deals for our users.

TNLI: What is the current company status, including the scale, employees, user numbers and their nationalities?

The company currently has six employees: CEO, CTO, COO, marketing manager, sales and a designer. All of the members are paid with the shares and their jobs are related to their professions in college.

TNLI: Who are the targeted audience in terms of nationality, gender and age? Are there any reasons for the choice?

Our target audience is college students in Taiwan. Reasons for the selection is that we think the relationships between college students are closer and more intimidate comparing to other age groups. In addition, messages spread faster within college groups. These factors have all made it easier and flexible for us to adopt our marketing strategies as well as modifying our applications when identifying an unexpected situation.

TNLI: What makes PartyUp! different from other online dating platforms?

Currently, 95 percent of dating apps focus on building bonds for strangers. However, it is also important to follow up a relationship and improve it afterward within a complete process of making friends. Therefore, instead of making people meet each other online, we provide events for users to meet their friends in person to deepen their friendships. Also, unlike other mobile dating apps, we provide a simpler and safer environment for making friends online by focusing on smaller groups and adopting several filtering mechanisms.

The most attractive part of PartyUp! is that it is a simplified process of making friends. In terms of psychology, positive emotions can be brought about by building bonds with others. We believe one of the best ways to build bonds between people is participating in real events and getting to know each other in person. Meetup activities that include groups of people also bear an advantage of avoiding embarrassing moments which may exist in one-on-one dates. By using PartyUp!, from meeting strangers to selecting the place for the meetup, everything is kept simple. Users can even keep their photos in the app.

TNLI: What do you consider to be your most successful accomplishment so far and how did the team achieve it?

We have already held nearly 20 themed parties so far and the user responses are quite positive. We will continue to launch parties for all users in the future.

TNLI: What have been the biggest challenges for PartyUp! so far and how did the company fight against them?

Currently we are facing difficulties in optimizing the app. We are still searching for experienced engineers who are capable of developing mobile dating applications. For example, the convenience of using the app and other factors including user interface and user experience are all taken into consideration in terms of hiring.

TNLI: Is there any field that PartyUp! is focusing in in the future?

Other than building relationships between college students, we will gradually expand our users to office workers. In addition, we expect to expand our services to reservations in restaurant or gaming industries to make holding events more convenient. Businesses can also analyze users’ data in the apps to learn more about consumers’ needs. Finally, we want to establish an online market that allows consumers to sell or purchase items online and exchange goods within the app upon chatting with each other.

TNLI: What does PartyUp! hope to achieve in the long-term?

Wu: Since meetup dating activities exist in many countries, expanding ourselves to the global market is one of our major plans in the long-term. We are aiming at the Asian market and also markets in the West.

Editor: Edward White