Find A Guy That's Hot AND Socially Conscious with This "Anti-Tinder"
There’s an online dating portal for every type of connection desired under the sun—probably even some questionably legal ones… But among the popular ones—Tinder, OkCupid, Happn—it still feels as if something’s missing. Well, at least for some of us.
With that in mind, Sonya Davis founded Neqtr, and is closing the disconnect between virtual rendezvous and conscious coupling.
Neqtr is an app for socially conscious people looking to meet others with the same passions - for love or for friendship. You match with others based on your common interests. Whether it’s yoga, fitness, activism, or rescuing stray animals, we help you find like-minded people who share your same passions. Because you shine your brightest when you’re doing what you love! That’s how we make giving back sexy.
We’ve made Neqtr available exclusively to those who believe in love, a healthier self, and a better world. That’s because we believe in quality over quantity when it comes to making connections that last, and we know you do too.
I mean, their tagline is “Fall in love. Build community. Save the world.”
If that doesn’t turn you on, check if you have a pulse.
Currently, this game-changing app is available to all you purposeful people looking for purposeful partners in San Diego, San Francisco, Berkeley, CA, and New York, but Sonya’s got all our communities in mind for future expansion.
Sonya is a force with a clear vision and a focused drive. That’s a wickedly impressive combo, and that she’s applying it in such a positive way paints a permanent toothy grin on my face.
I reached out to Sonya to ask her a few Q’s about what it’s like being a woman in tech who started a dating app, entrepreneurship struggles and triumphs, and finding love.
Hey, girl, heyyyyy.
Usually, great business ideas come from a personal journey or experience. Was there a dating experience in your life that exposed the need for Neqtr?
I will admit I’ve gone on countless awkward dates that left me feeling unfulfilled and at times wondering if good guys still exist.
The dating scene has become over-saturated with apps that don’t do much to encourage positive experiences. They in turn seem to enable meaningless hookups, booze-focused dates, and overall surface experiences.
However, the idea behind Neqtr stemmed from both my awkward dating experiences and my highest value of giving back. I realized that many people are looking for quality partners and don’t know where to look or simply feel hopeless. When you take action, help your community, and do positive activities you feel a lot better and are 10x more attractive to others. It’s a win-win.
What was the biggest start up challenge you faced when launching the business? How did you overcome it?
Founding a startup in general has many challenges, but I’ve never doubted my vision and choice to go down this road. I’m in love with Neqtr, and just like any other marriage, it takes work. A couple of challenges have included:
Bootstrapping – However I was able to build an amazingly passionate, intelligent, and dedicated team. Together we have learned so much about the startup world that we’ve become pros at bootstrapping.
Being a female tech founder – It’s getting better, but I’ve definitely experienced my fair share of sexist comments. I've just had to exude confidence, and learn to not take things personally. I've also learned how important it is to trust my gut about these things as well.
The highly competitive and over-saturated space we entered into – We’ve been able to compete by being a niche app that’s totally unique to the marketplace. Neqtr is something that many people can get behind, especially women like ourselves on the founding team. We also put out a lot of content about practicing gratitude and self-love first, instead of encouraging meaningless hookups and instant gratification.
When did you know you were really on to something?
As the founder I’ve always stood true to my vision, as it just makes sense and I can see it truly helping a lot of people. However, there were a couple moments in which I realized I was really onto something: Being able to build my team on a bootstrapping budget. I couldn’t be more grateful for them and their alignment with my vision and mission. Gaining lots of PR, and becoming known as both “the socially conscious dating app” AND “the anti-Tinder” in a relatively short amount of time. Having many users email us and thank us for creating Neqtr and asking how they can help.
What has been the most surprising part of starting this business?
First, how an "idea on a napkin" can turn into a living breathing company with users all over the world who believe in the concept.
Second, how much I’ve learned in a short amount of time. There is no way I could’ve ever learned this much at a desk job.
Third, how hard it is to run an early stage startup. It looks glamorous, but really, we’re in the trenches each and every day and it takes blood sweat and tears to make it a success. My life has done a 180, and it surprises me how many people don’t understand why that is or why I think it’s totally worth it. I’ve found that it’s incredibly important to surround myself with a support network of others who get it.
What's it like being a woman in tech who's started a dating app?
Being that I started a socially conscious dating app, I’ve received a lot responses like, “Awww that’s cute, she wants to save the world.” Especially when I walk into a networking event as one of the 2% of women in the room. I’ve also found that people have made presumptions about my character because of the stigma of the dating industry. Many have thought it wise to assume I’d be ok with gross pickup lines and sexual advances. I have no shame in calling them out and reminding them that I didn’t start Tinder, I started Neqtr, a conscious relationship app. It seems obvious to me, but apparently not to all.
There are many advantages though. For example, Neqtr is unique and we’re genuine in our intentions to do something good, help on a grassroots level, and help people connect with others who care. As mentioned earlier, we’ve received many emails about user’s gratitude for our vision, which is awesome! I love that we’ve been able to connect with so many on this personal level and provide a positive alternative to a need that everyone has. It’s also great that we have many strong women on our team that are pushing the vision forward. That’s a big advantage in the dating app world.
What are you looking forward to in 2016?
I’m looking forward to expanding Neqtr’s reach, building community in more cities, and connecting many more conscious couples. I’m also looking forward to making more connections with local organizations and helping to spread awareness for their causes.
Coffee, tea or green juice?
"My body is my temple”, so I don’t drink and only aim to put good things in. I also don’t drink any caffeine, so only green juice, tea, and supplements for me! My daily routine includes waking up and saying positive affirmations, meditating, and working out in some form. Yoga is incredibly needed regularly, and dancing is the best thing ever. I listen to a ton of music, being that it’s one of my biggest passions. I also enjoy reading, hiking, cooking, being around animals, and seeing family when I can.
So have you found a special someone through your app? Or still open to making new, meaningful connections?
I’ve met interesting people through Neqtr, but I’ve found that it’s a bit of a conflict of interest to use my own app in this stage. I fully intend on meeting my future hubby off of it, and connecting with lots of amazing friends. I know we have inspiring users and from what I know about them, I love them already. Fluffy, I know. But it’s true!
The book I'm currently reading is...
I’m rarely reading just one. Generally I go between a novel and a biz book. The novel I’m currently reading is by Barbara Kingsolver, Flight Behavior. I absolutely LOVE her writing style. I’m also finishing Forgetting to Be Afraid by Wendy Davis (she is amazing and inspiring) and re-skimming Start With Why by Simon Sinek, a must-read for any entrepreneur.