There’s a new (dating) game in town, and this app is in a league of its own. Literally. The League dating app is an updated, upgraded version of the swiping for love craze.
The founder, 33-year-old Amanda Bradford, created The League back in 2014 after she left a good job at Google to get her MBA at Stanford and was trying to date in San Francisco. She was on that other app (the one that taught the online dating world how to swipe left) and says she was dating men who were, well, not exactly in her league.
Meredith Davis, a spokeswoman for the company explains, “She said, ‘I’ve curated my life and community around intelligent and high-achieving people. If Tinder is all I have, that doesn’t make sense!’”
She also didn’t want to risk being matched with colleagues or have one of them come across her dating profile.
So in 2015 in San Francisco, Amanda launched The League, a dating app that selects members (in part) based on where they went to school and what they do for a living.
Their website addresses something many of us single gals have heard, saying, “While your mother may call you picky, we call you self-aware.” But the founders know some people think the app is just plain elitist.
“I thought it sounded pretentious at first, but at the same time I was interested because you run into so many bums on the other ones,” says Molly Peach, a recent college graduate who does social media and client relations for StyleBlueprint.
Meredith says, “No one calls Ivy League schools elitist — we’re essentially doing the same thing. Apply. It’s not a perfect science; there are some great people who don’t get into Harvard but they’re doing their best to curate high-achieving people who really want to be there — looking for people who are serious about their education. We are looking for people who are serious about dating.”
WHY THE LEAGUE IS DIFFERENT
The goal is literally to create power couples. And the numbers don’t lie: 45% of members have advanced degrees, and 12% are CEOs. The bad news, ladies? Women make up 55% of people on the site … although that’s better than the 70% on other dating sites.
The League vets potential members using an algorithm that sorts through LinkedIn and Facebook profiles, but they make sure colleagues and friends are never matched. And they help create demand by limiting supply. The League only takes a certain number of people at a time, the others end up on the waitlist.
For example, even before they were officially doing business in Charlotte, NC, there was a waiting list of more than 3,500 people.
“You want what you can’t have,” says Molly who is on the waiting list in Nashville.
Nick Villanova, 25, is a clinical research associate and joined The League as soon as it debuted in Charlotte. He says, “I joined because there seems to be more of an aim for quality and longer lasting relationships with The League.”
In the few weeks since, he says he hasn’t had a date, but he’s hopeful based on the caliber of the women he’s been matched with.
“For someone like me who travels to different cities and states weekly for my job, it is hard to maintain a relationship and have someone be patient enough to stick around. I also have always been attracted to a woman who is successful and passionate about her career, and I think The League helps to connect people like that with each other.”
The League launched in Charlotte and Nashville on the same day last month. That same day they added Raleigh, Portland, Phoenix and Detroit to their roster and are now in 27 cities across the country.
HOW IT WORKS
Every Sunday there’s a “draft,” and a new round of applicants are allowed to “play.”
Once you’re in, every day at Happy Hour (that’s what they actually call it), they’ll send you one to four people they think you’ll like. You decide whether to take it from there. There is no more endlessly swiping, hoping the next best thing is just a profile swipe away.
Shan Shan Fu lives in San Francisco and has been on seven dates with someone she met on The League. She met her ex on the site as well. She says, “Whenever I used Tinder or Bumble, you’re swiping 19 out of 20 times, but with The League, the averages are a lot better. I am saying yes to 75 percent of the guys that they present. I think it’s their algorithm. They learn what you like, and you can filter more than you could on Bumble.”
And the filters, Meredith says, are key. You can set parameters on everything from a potential date’s height to education level. But she recommends you keep an open mind and offers tips for creating a successful profile. She says no group photos, no photos where you’re wearing sunglasses, and she suggests being funny — if you’re actually funny. And when you start exchanging messages, she says be polite, be flirty, and make sure to use emojis and “LOL” and “HAHAHA.” She also recommends widening your preferences when it comes to distance and diversity.
In the end, though, Meredith says to leave the hard work up to them. After all, the company tagline is, “We do the scouting and the vetting, you do the matching and the petting.” Yes, you read that right.
While Molly doesn’t love the slogan, she is excited to get off the waitlist and give The League a shot. “I think it’s appealing because it’s yet another way that you could meet someone. It’s hard to meet people in real life, and I like that this app does a little more of the vetting.”
Learn more about The League and apply at theleague.com.
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