The founder of dating app HighBlood has a good reason why his new app weeds out fake profiles and introduces socioeconomic verifications and community approvals: he alleged he was catfished before.
Founder Herbert Eng claimed he has been tricked into sending his nude photos to a girl on the Kik messenger app, he said to Popspoken. He also blogged about this on his Medium account Thursday.
The plot twist: Eng allegedly believes the girl, “Jie Yin“, is actually a man in real life and an administrator of the NTU Confessions Facebook page, of which he tried to establish a relationship with as the founder of anonymous confessions app Fessup.
Eng added that “Jie Yin” was against the collaboration with Fessup at that time.
“I needed to improve authenticity in online dating, and to ensure that people are real,” said Eng, who uses online dating as he admits he is not as successful when it comes to dating.
The app’s first hurdle for new applicants is getting three out of five random users to approve the app; if they fail, they can revisit another group of five in 12 hours’ time or pay a $100 sum.
HighBlood’s second filter is an optional step to verify one’s income and educational institution – the latter through signing up with a school email – which is a measure that Eng hopes will eliminate fake profiles and reduce casual frivolity as seen in other swipe-dating apps such as Tinder.
The app would hopefully “foster symbiosis between two parts of a power couple” in that people of the same situation and socioeconomic status can find each other and progress amicably to aspire to be respectable members of society, said Eng, who compared such pairings to Claire and Frank Underwood in the Netflix drama House of Cards.
Eng stressed that the app is different from other elite apps in that it allows you to find someone who is on the “same level of success” in life instead of someone who has already “made it” so that both partners can get ahead together instead of one chasing the other’s status and money.
HighBlood recently landed in hot soup because of a recent advertisement stating “no banglas, no maids, no uglies… Just. Pure. Quality”.
However, Eng clarified that the marketing stunt – which he admitted he created on purpose to elicit a reaction – does not translate to the app and that the app is not racist.
“It is not elitist in that we do not filter people or reject admission based on their race, class, or any socioeconomic factors. I wanted to promote outrage in society and portray that they would not date a Bangla,” he said.
In fact, he stated that the ad was driven from feedback he received from what his customers have told him and that he “wanted to preserve the authenticity of what my audience said to me”.
The app is currently in testing mode and will be released within the next two months for public beta with a projected user base of 5,000 according to early sign-ups. An exhibition of nudes, in the style of artist Matty Mo, is being arranged and the app has called for submissions of nude photos to be sent to the @kievery account on Snapchat with the caption “Happy Birthday @Highbloodapp”.
The R21-rated exhibition’s purpose is to mirror the sensitive information about one’s income, school and profession on the HighBlood app to the nude selfie submissions as a form of collective cultural expression, said Eng.
However, the exhibition would need to be cleared by the culture ministry as its flagrant nature could be classified under the Undesirable Publications Act, he added.
Eng is currently looking out for three HighBlood ambassadors across the local universities, and a co-founder.
“I would be the devil and she would be the angel to be interested in this vision about HighBlood,” he said, after sifting over 50 applications bore no fruit.
Photos by HighBlood and Herbert Eng