Watch: How S'More's Founder Wants to Make Online Dating 'Something More' Meaningful
Dating — whether online or IRL — is hard enough in Los Angeles. In a city so spread out, many romances face an uphill battle. Even a Hollywood-Santa Monica relationship can often fall into the long-distance category. Add the pandemic on top of it all, and L.A. singles are in a tricky spot. Many people have long been skeptical that online dating can be a way to find a real relationship. But with everything going virtual these days, there is little choice for those looking for love.
Adam Cohen-Aslatei thinks he can help you find "something more."
In this installment of dot.LA Dives In, we talk with Cohen-Aslatei, the founder and CEO of S'More, an online dating app that seeks to provide users with an anti-superficial path to love. S'More, which stands for "something more," expanded to the city a few months ago.
But what makes this app different than the many other offerings in the space? The pictures are blurred out. Gone are the days of endless swiping based on good looks or that bad photo with the haircut your friends begged you not to get (we've all been there). In order to see what your potential love looks like, you will have to get to know them a bit first.
As you start to chat more with someone, their pictures come into focus. And if you don't want to meet in person during a global pandemic, S'More has you covered. Users can initiate a video chat where both sides are blurred for the first two minutes. If both agree to see each other, the blurring goes away.
Drawing comparisons to the Netflix hit "Love is Blind," S'More was born out of a mission to provide singles a space to find a deeper connection. "The average person spends 30 milliseconds on a swipe — that is how much brain power they devote to what is hot or not," he said. "It works if you want a casual encounter. It does not work if you want a relationship."
In his quest to root out superficiality, Cohen-Aslatei has taken S'More one step further. The dating app does not have race or ethnicity filters. It is all part of building a brand-first company that stands for more than a product or feature.
"Our app says, 'you deserve something more. Are you ready for something more?' And the connotation is being anti-superficial. So if we stand for anti-superficial, then everything we do must support that brand."
S'More is also creating content around that theme. Its "S'More Live Happy Hour" — a weekly celebrity dating show on Instagram — is a stripped down look at how the stars struggle with relationships, just like us. The show features personalities like model and entrepreneur Olivia Culpo and cast members from "The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills," all discussing their crazy experiences and serving advice on how to best navigate the dating world.
"It's a forum to bring up what is happening in the world and disguise it a bit under dating," Cohen-Aslatei said. "Really to have a fun conversation, and for the fans to get to know the celebrity in a different way."
Think of it as getting a little 'something more' from a celebrity. And Cohen-Aslatei's favorite story from the show? You'll have to watch the interview to find out, but suffice to say, dog-walking in Central Park can get a little messy.
And while virtual dating has become a necessity for those looking to connect during COVID, is this trend here to stay? Cohen-Aslatei says yes. The pandemic has forced people to reflect on things that they don't have - and with 50% of millennials being single, finding a serious partner is becoming increasingly more important.
"You might have a great job, and a great set of friends, but during COVID, you are home alone. And that's not a good feeling," Cohen-Aslatei said. "Virtual dating is not going anywhere. It's basically becoming the way that you screen 'should I meet this person? Is it worth my time to leave my house?'"
Watch a shortened version above and catch the full interview here:
FULL: S'More CEO & Founder Discusses the Anti-Superficial Dating App www.youtube.com
To check out S'More, you can download it here.
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On this week's episode of LA Venture, hear from Marcos Gonzalez, the managing partner at Vamos Ventures, a seed-stage venture fund which invests in Latino and diverse founders. Over half of L.A. County is Latino. A relatively new fund, investments are in the range of $100,000 to $500,000. Seems like a great time to be investing in this community! And, Vamos is hiring...
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El Segundo-based telemedicine technology provider Cloudbreak Health and Florida-based UpHealth Holdings, a digital healthcare provider, announced they will combine and go public via a SPAC in a deal that values the combined companies at $1.35 billion.
Named UpHealth, Inc., the new company aims to streamline online health care by becoming a single provider of four different services: telehealth, teletherapy, a health care appointment and management system and an online pharmacy.
UpHealth runs healthcare platform Thrasys Inc. and MedQuest Pharmacy, along with two other behavioral health companies. The merger with Cloudbreak, which under the pandemic expanded their interpretation services to remote medicine, will give the new company a foothold in almost 2,000 hospitals.
"What we wanted to do was form a business that could really be a digital infrastructure for health care across the continuum of care, right from home to hospital," said Jamey Edwards, the co-founder and CEO of Cloudbreak. Under the agreement, he will become the company's chief operating officer.
GigCapital2 expects the merger transaction to close at the start of Q1 2021. UpHealth will be publicly traded under the ticker "UPH" on the New York Stock Exchange. UpHealth's integrated care management platform serves over 5 million people, and is expected to reach 40 million over the next three years, according to the company.
Jamey Edwards, co-founder and executive director of Cloudbreak
COVID-19 caused a meteoric growth in the use of telehealth services. In February, 0.1% of Medicare primary visits were provided through telehealth. In April, that number was nearly 44%, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
"Key stakeholders have seen and responded well to the benefits that telemedicine can bring, but they need a more comprehensive, integrated solution," said Al Gatmaitan, who has been named the co-chief executive officer of UpHealth. "This is what UpHealth focuses on, the adoption of digital health solutions well beyond the pandemic crisis."
The deal with the blank check company GigCapital2 gives the two digital health companies access to a wider network. UpHealth and its family of companies operate in 10 countries and their pharmacy has 13,000 e-prescribers in the U.S.
UpHealth will use the Cloudbreak platform as part of their global telehealth services to provide patients with round-the-clock care under a variety of specialties, including telepsychiatry and tele-urology. UpHealth also has contracts internationally, to provide country-wide care in India, Southeast Asia and Africa.
Edwards joined Cloudbreak in 2008 when it went from public to private. It has raised $35 million in venture funds, most recently in the first quarter of this year scoring $10 million from Columbia Partners Private Capital.
Editor's note: An earlier version of this story identified Jamey Edwards as executive director of Cloudbreak, he is its CEO.
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Ryan Edwards, the co-founder of Happier Camper, said he's asked all the time if his company leans on influencer marketing to promote their vintage-style trailers beloved by millennials.
With a waitlist six months out and demand growing from hotel-weary travelers, he said it isn't a priority yet.
"We almost don't need to," said Edwards.
That's because the $25,000 to $50,000 custom trailers have been a hit with a loyal fan base, and rising demand during the pandemic has only helped. Orders for compact trailers at the lower price end, including Happier Camper's 75-square-foot camper, are growing as newbie road trippers look for COVID-safe travels.