How the Power of Music plans to beat Tinder and Bumble in the dating game
What's the idea behind the Power of Music?
When I was at university, I started an events and promotions company. It soon became apparent to me that people acted differently depending on what type of music night it was, whether it was rock, dance, or R&B, for example. I saw how much music influenced people, everything from what they wore, drank, and even how they interacted with one another.
This insight, as well as the fact that the online dating scene seems to be dominated by appearances above everything else, led to the creation of Power of Music, or POM. Our aim has been to create an exciting, inclusive app that delivers genuine, meaningful connections based on a shared love of the same music and emotional compatibility.
The app matches users based on an emotional algorithm technology, using users’ imported music libraries (Spotify or Apple, for example) and the answers to six random emotional questions answered by the first 15,000 users, with machine learning making the process automated after that.
What are the six random questions?
We came up with some questions related to the music such as - ‘How does x (selected artist/genre/song) make you feel?’ The answers that were given to each question gave us some key insights into the users’ connection to music and informed our emotional algorithm technology, which matches potential partners.
What makes you think that music tastes mean people are romantically compatible?
Music connects people beyond language, race, or religion; it plays a deeper role in who we are more than most of us realise. Music is a voice for emotion, therefore using it as a vehicle to understand deeper feelings allows for a greater understanding of other people, and of course, potential partners.
At POM we like to discover the emotional connection each singleton has to music, so we can match them with others who have similar outlooks. Surprisingly, this compatibility can say so much about two people as their outlook and emotions towards songs, whether the same or different, often reflects their deeper outlook on life. Thus, demonstrating the true ‘Power of Music’.
How can you compete with Tinder, Bumble and Match?
These older but granted more established (and somewhat globally successful) dating apps, have negative connotations with ‘hook-up’ culture, and are often known as the go to places for one-night stands and flings. Whilst there isn’t anything wrong with a one-night stand, at POM we want to break the swipe-right and swipe-left culture.
Also, a lot of our new wave of competitors are just taking the existing ‘wheel’ and putting a new spin on it, yet no one is addressing the genuine pains of online daters today.
While developing our app and during the pre-launch phase, we emailed our entire list of pre-launch sign ups to ask them what they want in a dating app. It revealed kind of what we already expected - people are sick of superficial matching, ghosting, and apps that encourage quick hook-ups. People are craving real human connection. Not just on a superficial level but an emotional level.
I think if anything, the pandemic has made people realise how important their relationships are - as well as how best they should spend their time. Facilitating deeper connections is where it’s at in the online dating world.
We are proud to offer this refreshing new app to the dating scene! Tinder might allow users to show off their favourite song but that’s just the tip of the iceberg for any music lover, as it’s not the song but your emotional response to it that matters. People also use dating apps as a carousel – some say they’ve completed Tinder or one of the other major ‘players’. It’s clear people need a new app on the market as they seek to finally find someone right for them.
POM is positively disrupting a marketplace that is truly impactful to the end users’ lives.
How did you seed the site with users in the early days?
We achieved 25,000 pre-launch sign-ups in just two months! This proved to me there is a good appetite for this kind of online dating product and more importantly, people are looking to find potential partners they are truly compatible with.
To achieve this many pre-launch sign ups, we just promoted POM across Facebook and Instagram ads. This pointed to a very simple landing page with nothing more than our logo, our mission and where to sign up. The success of sign-ups simply validated the appetite for this type of dating product on the market.
Did you need to tweak or pivot the product?
The app is based in London but is expanding to other major UK cities as the popularity grows with the app. Watch this space!
Also, as more and more people sign up, the better the algorithm is getting at matching users and starting meaningful relationships. We’ve had more than 100k matches since launching!
Dating apps are notoriously dependent on marketing budgets. How do you market POM?
We have a great team, as well as a wider team, and do lots of social media content, advertising and PR. We know we need to invest in marketing to get ourselves out there, so we have a budget to do that, though it’s a balance of spending wisely while spending to grow.
Tell us about your investors?
I started with close family and friends to get POM off the ground, and then we later raised £1.5m ahead of our launch.
Our investors are an eclectic mix of professionals, from fellow entrepreneurs to more corporate backgrounds. Many have been involved in a number of other successful startups.
We found them through LinkedIn, we had countless meetings and the appetite was there (this helped leverage a high valuation and giving less of the company away) but it was mainly working with investors who believed in me, our vision and had a genuine passion for POM.
One of our board members and Executive Director, Alison Jackson, has been a notable superstar in our journey.
What sort of team have you got?
So, I founded POM with Vlad Ignatyev, who I went to school with (though Vlad was the year below me).
We are a growing team of eight that consists of four developers, two marketing leads, one brand manager and one partnerships manager.
Luke is our CTO and is responsible for all things tech. He, like myself, is 22 and truly redefining the old adage that age equals experience. He has built an incredible team around him.
While developing the app, we’ve worked with teams of developers, some of which have previously worked at J.P. Morgan, IBM, Merlin.
What is the business model?
Our mission is to serve our users, not artificial metrics of revenue. Though, like any business we have ambitious revenue goals.
We will only offer a premium plan. There will be no ads or dodgy information sharing. We will also monetise our social events, which we’ve branded as ‘POM Parties’.
Building a company that provides value and achieves our vision is what is key.
What's the hardest thing about making POM a success?
Of course, there is a lot of competition in the marketplace, some are major players with huge budgets. Though we’ve spotted an opportunity in the current flaws in online dating, we have experienced an appetite for what POM is offering, and it’s our plan to shake up the online dating world as we know it.
Another challenge is finding the best talent to work at an ambitious startup. You need to find the most committed people when it’s a smaller team and we’re working hard to grow. If you hire someone or a supplier that promises to deliver something but they aren’t able to, this can be costly in terms of time and money, which unfortunately we’ve experienced. Though we do have great team members and I feel very lucky to have found them!
Where will POM be in five years’ time?
I believe POM is the next game-changer in online dating. My aim is for the app to be in the hands of all singletons who have a passion for music and are looking for ‘the one’.
In five years, I’d still like to be working within the company, doing all I can to make it grow. It’s kind of my baby, and I am loving every part of the journey so far. Perhaps in the next ten years I will hand it over to new leadership and look to work on the next game-changing product!