Rob Fishman, former Huffington Post social media editor and eligible New York tech bachelor, has formally launched Yoke.me, the app that raised half a million dollars from investors for a better Facebook-based dating experience. ”There’s this awkward moment when you’re on a date and you say, ‘I’m actually working on a dating website,’” the entrepreneur told the New York Post.
Mr. Fishman’s new startup, Kingfish Labs, is working out of Lerer Ventures “with lots of other HuffPo alums,” the founder told Betabeat by Twitter direct message. Mr. Fishman cofounded the company with Jeff Revesz, whose company Adaptive Semantics was acquired by Huffington Post in 2009.
Yoke.me is already getting a few happy reviews. Jacob Weisberg at Slate likes it! But what’s it got that the myriad other Facebook dating apps ain’t got?
“You’re right, there have been lots of attempts to introduce friends of friends — Thread comes to mind,” Mr. Fishman wrote in an email. “What we’re trying to do is match the sum total of your Facebook profile with other people’s.”
Let’s say you and a potential date share a close friend, went to the same or a similar college, are from the same hometown, and have similar interests—Yoke.me is very interested in that. Where it gets clever is when the startup pulls data in from Netflix, EchoNest and Amazon and throws it in with your Facebook data. “We can say ‘You like Vampire Weekend, and she likes Ra Ra Riot’ or ‘You both like mob movies’ or ‘You read Great Gatsby and she read The Sun Also Rises,’” Mr. Fishman said. “In that way, we’re exposing common tastes without there having to be direct matches. And we’re also normalizing your friend list to target close friends (meaning, those with whom you share a lot of friends), so that you’re not seeing friends of someone you never speak to.”
The idea is not to compete with other dating sites, he said, but to “present an alternate view of Facebook, where you don’t see the people you already know, but instead see single people who share your friends and interests.” Let’s hope they fare better than Grouper.