Will an 'Anti-Superficial' Dating App Find Love in LA?

Ben Bergman

Ben Bergman is the newsroom's senior finance reporter. Previously he was a senior business reporter and host at KPCC, a senior producer at Gimlet Media, a producer at NPR's Morning Edition, and produced two investigative documentaries for KCET. He has been a frequent on-air contributor to business coverage on NPR and Marketplace and has written for The New York Times and Columbia Journalism Review. Ben was a 2017-2018 Knight-Bagehot Fellow in Economic and Business Journalism at Columbia Business School. In his free time, he enjoys skiing, playing poker, and cheering on The Seattle Seahawks.

Will an 'Anti-Superficial' Dating App Find Love in LA?
Courtesy of S'More

If you think someone is attractive, swipe right. If you don't, swipe left and you never see them again. That's how Tinder and its scores of imitators have defined online dating for the last eight years. But for those looking for a deeper connection, S'More, which stands for "Something More," expands to Los Angeles Wednesday, bringing what it bills an "anti-superficial" dating app to a city with a reputation for superficiality.


Courtesy S'More

Users receive recommended profiles each day based on common interests, similar to Coffee Meets Bagels. However, on this app the pictures are blurred out. As you start to chat more with someone, their pictures come into focus. The idea is to get people to interact rather than just quickly swiping through photos. The process has drawn comparisons to the Netflix hit, "Love is Blind," though S'More launched last year, before the show premiered in February.

There have been signs of dating app fatigue, though Bumble and Tinder both saw large upticks in usage when people were confined to their homes during stay at home orders. For those who do not want to meet in-person, S'More also allows users to initiate a video chat where during the first two minutes, both sides are blurred. If both decide they want to see each other, the blurring goes away.

"With video dating, women often express feeling uncomfortable with existing technology because it feels too invasive and unsafe," said Adam Cohen Aslatei, CEO of S'More. "S'More completely changes the experience, removes the risk, and makes the process fun and exciting. If a user isn't enjoying the conversation, they can end it before ever seeing (or being seen) by the other person. Blurred videos also encourage longer conversations, and provide an added sense of security."

The company says it already has a waiting list of thousands in L.A., which will be its fifth market, after New York, Boston, Washington DC, and Chicago.

Aslatei is former managing director of Chappy, Bumble's gay dating app. S'More has backing from Benson Oak Ventures, Social Discovery Ventures, and power angels Josh Black (Apollo Management), and Mark Rosner (App Lovin).

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Genies Wants To Help Creators Build ‘Avatar Ecosystems’

Christian Hetrick

Christian Hetrick is dot.LA's Entertainment Tech Reporter. He was formerly a business reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer and reported on New Jersey politics for the Observer and the Press of Atlantic City.

Genies Wants To Help Creators Build ‘Avatar Ecosystems’

When avatar startup Genies raised $150 million in April, the company released an unusual message to the public: “Farewell.”

The Marina del Rey-based unicorn, which makes cartoon-like avatars for celebrities and aims to “build an avatar for every single person on Earth,” didn’t go under. Rather, Genies announced it would stay quiet for a while to focus on building avatar-creation products.

Genies representatives told dot.LA that the firm is now seeking more creators to try its creation tools for 3D avatars, digital fashion items and virtual experiences. On Thursday, the startup launched a three-week program called DIY Collective, which will mentor and financially support up-and-coming creatives.

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Here's What To Expect At LA Tech Week

Christian Hetrick

Christian Hetrick is dot.LA's Entertainment Tech Reporter. He was formerly a business reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer and reported on New Jersey politics for the Observer and the Press of Atlantic City.

Here's What To Expect At LA Tech Week

LA Tech Week—a weeklong showcase of the region’s growing startup ecosystem—is coming this August.

The seven-day series of events, from Aug. 15 through Aug. 21, is a chance for the Los Angeles startup community to network, share insights and pitch themselves to investors. It comes a year after hundreds of people gathered for a similar event that allowed the L.A. tech community—often in the shadow of Silicon Valley—to flex its muscles.

From fireside chats with prominent founders to a panel on aerospace, here are some highlights from the roughly 30 events happening during LA Tech Week, including one hosted by dot.LA.

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Body Complete Rx Founder Samia Gore On How She Turned Her Fitness Journey Into a Multi-Million Dollar Company

Yasmin Nouri

Yasmin is the host of the "Behind Her Empire" podcast, focused on highlighting self-made women leaders and entrepreneurs and how they tackle their career, money, family and life.

Each episode covers their unique hero's journey and what it really takes to build an empire with key lessons learned along the way. The goal of the series is to empower you to see what's possible & inspire you to create financial freedom in your own life.

Body Complete Rx Founder Samia Gore
Courtesy of Behind Her Empire, Samia Gore

Samia Gore was a mother of four when she decided to take a shot at starting her own business.

On this episode of the Behind Her Empire podcast, the Body Complete Rx founder discusses how her personal journey with health and fitness became the catalyst for a booming business.

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