Start-Up Looks to Match Mac Lovers
For Mel Sampat, Apple's 600,000 orders for its latest iPhone represent a huge business opportunity.
Sampat is the founder of Cupidtino, a newly launched dating website for Apple fanboys and girls – and one that denies registration to anyone who doesn't visit the site via Safari on an Apple device. This isn't just to keep out the PC hoi polloi – it's to keep the demographics pure for advertising. (Cupidtino, for the record, is a mashup of Cupid and Cupertino, the northern California city in which Apple is based.)
The idea for the site came to Sampat, a former Microsoft employee, during an argument with his girlfriend about whether he should use his iPad during dinner. He told her that if they ever split up he'd date a fellow Apple aficionado. (His girlfriend had a Zune when they met; his first present to her was an iPod.)
Then he thought about how to connect with Miss Mac.
"The more I thought about it, the more I realized people that are true Apple fans might actually have a lot more in common than they realize," Sampat told the Associated Press. And so Cupidtino – which describes itself as "a beautiful new dating site" – was born, linking people who share "personalities, creative professions, a similar sense of style and aesthetics, taste, and of course a love for technology," plus an affection for Coldplay and Starbucks. (Yes, the site actually lists those last two.)
Think perhaps Sampat has been staring lovingly at his iPad for a little too long? Apparently he's not the only one. The site generated 12,000 sign-ups after its first two days of being live (and in beta) in May. On Wednesday, the site began charging $4.95 per month – or in the words of the site, which clearly knows its audience: "Our membership costs the same as a [Starbucks] venti Mocha but lasts longer than 20 oz."
The site doesn't ask members compatibility questions about religion (presumably because the answer is Apple) or desire for kids. Instead it focuses on the size of your iTunes playlist or what's in your Netflix queue.
According to a not-exhaustive count from datingsitereviews.com, there are some 50 microniche dating websites (think veggiedate.com), but Sampat, for one, has no illusions about competing with giants like Match.com.
"It will likely be more casual and our demographic might be a little younger as well," he told the Wall Street Journal. The site has received "tens of thousands of dollars" in private funding, he said, plus an offer via e-mail from the San Francisco Apple store's business development team to help with "any technology needs." (The e-mail noted that the offer was not an official endorsement.) That bodes well for Sampat's dream of Cupidtino events at Apple stores or product discounts. (To read how one online dating entrepreneur hit the big time, click here.)
Will Cupidtino feel the love from customers? Let the arrow-watch begin.
Inc. contributing editor COURTNEY RUBIN was for five years a London-based staff writer for People magazine. Rubin, a former senior writer for Washingtonian magazine, has written for the New York Times magazine, Time, Marie Claire, and other publications. She is the author of The Weight-Loss Diaries.
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