New dating app Metropolis disrupts the sector with artificial intelligence

As the CEO of dating app Metropolis, Matt Kwan knew there was an innovative way to change the world of online dating. Metropolis aims to use AI to match people and do it as efficiently as possible. 

“Other dating apps have revenue models that make more money from unsuccessful users, so their incentive is to keep people playing for as long as they can. Our revenues are aligned with successful matches, so we have a strong incentive to learn what people are looking for, and give it to them quickly,” Matt says.

There were multiple issues that inspired Metropolis, as Matt explains.

“It’s one of the few multi-billion dollar tech markets that’s still up for grabs. The existing products are pretty dysfunctional, so it’s a market we can win. In my spare time I’d built a neural network that can reliably measure the attractiveness of a human face. It works better than publicly acknowledged attempts, so I figured it would give us a competitive edge.”

“I’m single, and I know lots of single people, so that simplifies achieving product-market fit.”

Prior to working on Metropolis, Matt was a software engineer at Google, working on Google Maps. He has also worked for several startups in Melbourne, including one that he co-founded, “MessageMedia”, which recently sold for $1.8 billion.

“I was drawn to being an entrepreneur, knowing there’s unlimited upside, which is great if you’re confident in your abilities. And rather than searching for the perfect job, you can create it,” Matt says.

“With Metropolis, it’s been pretty smooth sailing so far. The focus has been on building the technology, and that hasn’t hit too many obstacles.

The Covid lockdown has put a stop to in-person UX testing, and there was no point launching while it was illegal to go on a date in Sydney, so that’s set things back a month or two. But it gave me more time to fine-tune the technology, so the time wasn’t wasted.”

“The biggest measurable success so far has been building the AI that measures facial attractiveness is the biggest measurable success so far. I was surprised that it actually worked.”

The next plans for Metropolis is for a PR and advertising campaign, and launching the product in Sydney in November. One of the best things about being at Fishburners is there are lots of single people who’ve provided invaluable feedback on the product!”

“And just having people to chat to every day makes the journey much more enjoyable than working alone out of your living room.”

Matt has some great advice for other startups:

“Most startups fail because of a lack of demand, because people don’t want what you’re selling. One trick I learned recently is to set up a basic website describing your product, then put a few hundred dollars behind a Google Ads campaign linking to the site.

“If no-one clicks on your ads, you might want to reconsider quitting your day job.”

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