April 2nd, 2011 | Uncategorized

Ivy Leaguers look for more love on IvyDate

Ivy Leaguers apparently need some serious help with their romantic lives. At least, that’s what two pairs of Ivy League business students think — each of which has started their own exclusive dating site in recent months.

On Thursday we blogged about Date My School, brainchild of Columbia business students Balazs Alexa and Jean Meyer. First launched at Columbia in November 2010, Date My School is now open free of charge to students at Columbia, NYU, Princeton and Yale, and has a separate site in northern California for students at schools such as Stanford and Berkeley. After this weekend, it will operate in a third location, Boston, for students at Harvard, MIT, Tufts, Northeastern and BU, Alexa told us.

Yesterday we talked to the founders of yet another new dating site — again for students at elite universities that, despite their smarts and motivation, can’t seem to find romance. Harvard business school graduates Philipp Triebel and Beri Meric have created IvyDate, which they described as “a platform that allows very driven, successful, creative singles to meet like-minded others.”

Any single with a “high-quality profile” can apply to join IvyDate, Triebel said, but an “admissions committee” vets all applicants before granting them access to the site.

“We make sure it’s a serious profile, that the photos are legitimate and genuine, [and] that the person is generally quality stuff,” Triebel added.

Singles from 13 schools — the eight Ivies plus Stanford, MIT, Oxford, Cambridge and the London School of Economics — are considered “Ivy Singles,” while accepted users from other institutions are called “Interested Singles.” The site then employs a matching algorithm to present each user with a list of possible matches, Meric said.

According to Meric, this matching system distinguishes IvyDate from other services, including Date My School, where users must browse through profiles themselves.

“It’s not the kind of platform where you go sign on and have thousands of people to click through,” he said. “We have people individually verified in an application process, and we hand-pick your matches for you. And a matching-based system protects the privacy of our users: only the people who receive you as a match will get to see you.”

Triebel and Meric launched a pilot version of the site, called DateHarvard, in August 2010, they said. That site, targeted towards Harvard students and alumni, will be integrated with IvyDate, which launched in mid-February and has been accepting applications since then. About a month from now, IvyDate will send users its first matches, Meric said.

Together, IvyDate and DateHarvard have attracted close to 10,000 users, Meric said. Undergraduates, graduate students and alumni from across the country and all 13 “Ivy” schools have joined the site, Triebel said, adding that the majority live in New York or on the East Coast.

Unlike Date My School, IvyDate asks users to pay for its service, though Meric said it will be heavily subsidized for students still in college. Though exact prices have yet to be determined, IvyDate will charge $20 to $40 per month to most users, he said, and a “negligible amount” for undergraduates, who presumably have less cash to spare.

“We really see ourselves as a high-end premium service for really the best singles in the world,” Meric said. “IvyDate is for singles who are truly exceptional in many different ways: they are very intelligent, very creative, very driven. We want to be the online dating site that really focuses on and serves such a client base.”

Will these sites succeed, or is this just a bizarre Ivy League business school experiment? Only time will tell.