Author: Amalia Nichols, Graphics: Nina Tagliabue
The BRB Bottomline
Proxii is a new dating app designed for in-person connection, and it is ideal for a campus like UC Berkeley.
If you have spent time on UC Berkeley’s campus, you’ve probably heard of Proxii. Whether you have personally downloaded it for free boba on Sproul Plaza, free Philz coffee in front of Berkeley Law, or if you have a friend who did so, Proxii is probably on your radar. Some may consider Proxii “just another dating app,” but it is not. Proxii is designed to actually foster in-person interaction, and it is the ideal app for college students.
What is Proxii?
For those of you who have somehow evaded Proxii’s guerrilla marketing campaign, Proxii is a new dating app designed to be used when you’re out, rather than at home. Profiles include a bio, up to six pictures, and up to three fun prompts like “2 truths and a lie…,” “My zombie apocalypse plan is…,” and “I can’t shut up about…” Co-founders Connor Davidson and Sean Scott (a UC Berkeley alumnus) had the idea for Proxii when one of their friends deleted all her dating apps because, as she said, she “just want[s] to meet someone organically.” So, now, Proxii provides a way to “organically” meet in our inorganic world.
What do they want to do and how do they do it?
Davidson and Scott believe we see tech acting as a socially divergent force far too often. Proxii wants to incentivize people to actually meet in person. This stems from Davidson’s own experiences, matching with hundreds on the dating app Tinder but not meeting a single match in person. Proxii provides this incentivization threefold:
- The match radius is small. With a maximum radius of five miles, Proxii only matches users with people in their vicinity; users can actually meet face-to-face with minimal hassle. If you are on a college campus, your match pool will consist of others on campus, meaning people you can easily meet with and spend time with. Additionally, if you are at an event and want to meet like-minded individuals also at the event, you can set the radius to the size of said event.
- Users see likes instantly. Proxii is meant to be used when you’re out, so it connects users instantaneously. It is a very modern, less threatening way of walking up to someone you’re interested in at, say, a bar. You can then meet in person immediately. Scott and Davidson told of an instance where one user was at one bar and another user was at a different nearby bar. They matched on Proxii, one user promptly left his bar to head to hers, and what would have otherwise been ships passing in the night became a real connection.
- Matches expire in 24 hours. Proxii puts a clock on how long you can have a match sitting on the app. While it is possible to match with someone again if they are again within your match radius, the time constraint encourages users to exchange Instagram handles, Snapchat usernames, numbers, and/or some other contact information, or even meet in person, if they want to continue communication with their match. This forces users to see matches as “people, not profiles.”
Lastly, while this does not contribute directly to the incentivization of in-person connection, a great feature of Proxii is that, if users are not currently wanting matches or wanting their profile to be seen, they can just click the button on the top right of their screen and turn Proxii off for the time being.
How is Proxii different?
As detailed above, Proxii actually wants you to meet people. Most dating apps only have one goal: get you addicted to their app. Many dating apps actually mimic slot machines, giving users intermittent variable rewards to keep them hooked. Dating apps have been “gamified.” While Proxii may have some features, like swiping, that lend themselves to the average, gamified dating app, the essentiality of Proxii – with its soon-expiring matches and small radii – gets you off the app and meeting people in person.
Where is Proxii going?
Proxii is already proving to be successful. With their launch at UC Berkeley, Proxii was originally shooting for 4,000 signups in the first month. They got 5,500 signups and 3,000 active users in that time period. As of early March 2022, Proxii was predicting 10 thousand users by the end of the month and a million active users by the end of the year.
When asked where they see Proxii in a year, Scott and Davidson had one word for me: national. When asked where they see Proxii in five years, they had a slightly different word: international. They are excited to see how people will interact with Proxii in different countries. Davidson and Scott have been told that in Brazil, for example, Proxii would be extremely popular. They also hope to have 25 million active users in five years.
One thing in Proxii’s future is developing revenue streams. Initially, they’ve been focused on acquisition, but they plan on implementing ads. Uniquely, Proxii may be able to do ad partnerships with local businesses. People are using Proxii when they are “out and about.” Due to the nature of the app, local businesses could buy ads specifically for people in their area, advertising their business or an event. For example, a local bar could advertise its business in general or special events/deals like “Thirsty Thursday,” “Ladies Night,” or live music. This ad would only show to people in the area, already out for the night.
I’ve heard Proxii’s name in a lot of mouths on campus because of all the marketing. However, I have heard many people say they “just downloaded it for the free stuff.” I, myself, downloaded the app and saw many profiles with the addendum “just here for the free boba” or something similar. This can be discouraging for well-intentioned users, but Proxii is planning to fix it. While, to start, their goal was growth, Proxii quickly has been able to become choosy, able to go for quality over quantity. In the future, like the app Hinge, Proxii will likely boot people for inactivity. They are already developing a more advanced and automated reporting system. These trolls will not stay for long.
Why should a Cal Bear care?
Having our college experience amidst a pandemic deprived us of much of the experience and growth of going out and meeting people. Davidson and Scott are acknowledging that, coming out of the pandemic, there is a lack of social and human connection. “Tech has done a poor job of helping people connect in real life,” said Scott. Proxii is a way to fix this. It’s “the first app geared towards spontaneous connection,” something key to the college experience.
Furthermore, Proxii is ideal for a college campus, due to the small radius. As very few Cal students have cars (less than twenty percent), Proxii connects students to people they can actually meet and pass time with and not spending hours on AC Transit or hundreds on Gig or Zip cars. Proxii can even get users out of their social circles. As a Haas business student, I don’t currently find myself able to connect with, for instance, art history students because of our vastly different courses and extracurriculars. However, a student doesn’t have to be in my class to be in my match pool. It’s hard to meet people. Proxii makes it easier.
Download Proxii in your app store today!
- Proxii is a new dating app aiming to facilitate in-person connection.
- Unique features like a small radius, instantaneous likes, and 24 hour match period help encourage actually meeting people.
- Already surpassing their initial goals, Proxii expects to keep growing nationally and eventually internationally.
- It’s the ideal dating app for a UC Berkeley student.