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Dating during a pandemic: Hooking up is out, video chats are in

Christiana Yebra, CEO of Dallas-based dating app VOUCH, said daters should think of video chats as a screening tool.

DALLAS — It took a global pandemic, but it appears the hook-up culture is out, for now. 

When shutdowns started, Christiana Yebra, CEO of Dallas-based dating app VOUCH, said users were spending more time on the app and seeking deeper connections. Four months into the pandemic, not much has changed.  

"I can’t believe we’re still here having these conversations, but our daters aren’t surprised, to be honest," said Christiana Yebra.

Safety has always been a factor in online dating. VOUCH CEO Christiana Yebra says COVID-19 continues to add a layer of concern.  

"People are sending more messages; they’re spending more time in the app. We’re hearing about people getting off the app to video chat and I just think it shows that people are adaptable," said Yebra.

Much like Yebra, who’s had to shift from in-person mixers to virtual events. Coffee over FaceTime or Zoom double dates are increasingly popular and critical for singles craving connection while still working from home.  

And Yebra has some advice for people who are going to give online dating another try. 

"Use video! Use it almost as a screening tool. Let’s say the pandemic is over tomorrow we’re still going to encourage users to find that connection before they meet up. It gives people that reassurance that they might have a connection with people and video is shown to still allow if there’s that chemistry right off the bat," Yebra said. 

Yebra and her team combined chemistry and creativity to create a brand-new way to showcase VOUCH’s commitment to making lasting matches with a virtual dating show.

"It’s very reflective of what we offer in the app, we let friends pitch their friends by writing a VOUCH recommendation on their profile and then we let friends pre-select matches so this is a way to do it but LIVE for everyone to tune in to watch," said Yebra. 

Friends pitch friends, sort of like a startup. Think “Shark Tank” meets “The Bachelor.”

It's called "The Pitch." Yebra said it’s a natural combination of efforts to bring people who are interested in dating and then host a show around it.

"It’s a live show that we host on Thursdays. It’s like playing wingman at the bar but without the bar. We’ve had people make 3-minute iMovies about why their friends are great. They made pitch decks," said Yebra. 

Online or in person, Yebra reminds users connecting comes down to effort.  

"So, whether it’s joining a Facebook group, or an online dating platform make sure that the effort is there, and you’ll always see results," Yebra said. 

With people still feeling less pressure to hop off the app and meet in person, Yebra said singles are saving money. Data she collected revealed the average cost for a date-night in Dallas is $110.  

“The Pitch” airs Thursdays, you can watch the latest episode at tryvouchapp.com or thru the VOUCH app.