SoWink is a dating website focusing on the 20-something and college demographic. With a variety of features to help couples find things to do (Sowink provides tools to create group activities, facilitates events, and other “low-touch” methods of contacting others on the site), SoWink differentiates itself by providing ample opportunities for its users to convert digital flirting to real life interactions in a safe and friendly environment.
- Exclusivity: SoWink is taking a page out of the Facebook strategy book. New users either have to have an .edu address to register, or be invited by a user on the site. There’s also word that significant pruning going on behind the scenes to make sure that the ratio is right. All of this contributes to creating the ideal environment for like-minded 20-somethings to mingle and interact.
- Solid feature set: The team at SoWink has clearly done their job in profiling their targeted segment. A bevy of features exist to help 20-somethings plan out a minimally awkward first date, thus maximizing its value proposition to its users.
- Polished: SoWink is gorgeous. Its front end uses nearly every AJAX and JS look and feel trick out there to build an elegant user experience.
- Clearly defined monetization model: It’s still unclear how SoWink plans to monetize its site. There’s a fair amount of users already playing around with it, but without a strong and clarified business plan it’s going to be hard to attract VC’s who aren’t actively pursuing them already.
- Network effects: Many of SoWink’s users weren’t around when Facebook was in its “TheFacebook” stage, and as such the notion of an exclusive social network could be a new and interesting concept – a concept they might share. If SoWink can capitalize off of their idea and properly market it to college students, they could see huge growth via network effects from the users it already has now.
- Pivots from big names: SoWink needs to work quickly to utilize their first-mover advantage in their young 20-something/college market. Otherwise, OKCupid/Match could pivot and attack with stronger brand recognition and greater economies of scale in development.
SF New Tech Contributor Andrew “Andy” Manoske is a PM by day, hacker by night, and sometimes in the evening he fights crime. He currently serves as a product manager at NetApp – the youngest in the company’s history – and previously held technical positions at SAP, Microsoft, and Electronic Arts. He received his Bachelors of Arts in Economics and Computer Science from San Jose State University in 2010, and was a finalist in Microsoft’s Imagine Cup competition and the Silicon Valley Neat Ideas Fair.