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Vivek Jain is a seasoned entrepreneur, finance executive, actor, tennis addict and is now dedicated on helping people find love through his new dating app LOKO….but is first and foremost a dedicated father and son from Regina, Saskatchewan.
“If you can dream it, it’s possible.”
Tell us about LOKO How did you come up with this idea?
Vivek Jain: It all began with a comment my daughter made during a movie night: “Daddy, you always take care of me and my sister, but who takes care of you? You should get a girlfriend.”
Being a single dad was never a big deal for me, but this hit hard. It made me realize that I needed to make finding a significant other more of a priority in my life. I’ve always been skeptical of dating apps, and up until this comment I’d been trying the old fashioned way. But with my busy schedule as an entrepreneur and being a parent of two girls, it became evident that I wasn’t going to meet someone out in the real world.
So I fired up the popular dating apps, and it’s safe to say I was underwhelmed. I went through online dating’s vicious cycle: I went into the process optimistic, gave it my full effort, became dejected, and then shut down the apps altogether to focus on family and career.
One evening I went over to my friend Norm’s house — the comedian Norm MacDonald — to vent about my recent first dates that went nowhere. Norm wanted to get to the bottom of the problem.
The headaches were obvious: endless swiping, text conversations that go nowhere, matches who are nothing like their profiles suggest. This all leads to the biggest problem, Norm and I realized: first dates. They rarely go well. They seemed like an inefficient use of time, when free time was so precious to begin with.
We wondered how we could we make an app that would lead to more meaningful dates. We talked well into the night and in the end LOKO was born.
The idea behind it is to eliminate the biggest frustrations with online dating, and to help people make sincere connections. LOKO is the world’s first video-only online dating app, and it’s the only app that holds matches accountable to meet in real life.
How does LOKO work?
The video-only profiles on LOKO allow users to make true first impressions while also getting a better sense of their matches’ real personalities. Once a connection is made, users have 24-hours to schedule a virtual date within the app; if they don’t, they’re unmatched. We call these virtual meetings Elimidates, because the idea is figure out if your match is a good one before you actually meet in person. Elimidates are done through video chat on LOKO and capped at 15 minutes. They allow you to get a real sense of the person you’re interacting within the safe, comfortable environment of your own home. It also means you don’t have to write a two-person War & Peace-length text novel on your phone.
You’ll only agree to meet in person if you know there’s a connection that points to a meaningful first date. Once you’ve hung up, if you haven’t agreed to meet or exchange contact info, you will not be able to match or communicate with each other via the app again. This is to encourage users to actually get together for the kind of magical, face-to-face dates where you spend the whole evening getting to know each other, instead of getting acquainted in back-and-forth text exchanges.
How have you been able to grow LOKO?
Vivek Jain: We are still in the early stages of our growth plan, but our calendar over the next few months is action packed and sets LOKO up nicely to make a significant impact. I credit this to being fortunate enough to attract a team of top executives in their respective fields from development, public relations, marketing and entertainment.
A key success factor to growing the business of an App is having sound technology – which I can comfortably say we do. Next is being able to generate awareness to drive user acquisition. In our case, we are spending a lot of time and expense in creating content that will drive our advertising campaigns. Having Norm MacDonald as a co-creator gives LOKO a great competitive advantage by having access to his connections to writers in the world of comedy- its safe to say our content will be entertaining and engaging and not just be ad-funny, but funny- funny. Next is the production of this content, and again we have access to the best of the best as a seasoned Hollywood producer is leading the charge for us. We are very close to having this ready to share with the public, and once we are we have proven public relations and marketing executives leading our initiative to bring LOKO to the masses. In the coming months, we will be attending numerous events, having an aggressive digital ad campaign and be in the media in numerous national reaching outlets.
Teach us something we don’t know about.
Vivek Jain: One of the most common questions we get asked about LOKO is how do you address nudity and obscenity with a video only dating app? We believe video is the future of online dating and to make this a reality users need to know this is not a risk in their user experience. We take this issue very serious and have spent a lot of development time ensuring a safe environment for users. Any videos must be approved by an administrator before the user community can view it. The first line of defense is built-in artificial intelligence which weeds out any inappropriate videos. To add another layer of defense, the administrator, who is a human, goes through the videos and must approve it before it goes out to the LOKO community.
Where do you see yourself and LOKO in a couple years? What’s your dream?
Vivek Jain: Ideally, in a couple of years LOKO is viewed as a disruptor or trendsetter in the online dating space. That LOKO is talked about as the company that changed the landscape of dating apps where singles are able to use technology to have more meaningful dates, and moved society away from a hookup culture to one where romance is again in style.