By Dan Ilani, Founder of Sweatt
Sweatt was born out of a love for fitness and a deep disappointment with dating apps. As a single guy, the explosion of new dating apps was fascinating and exciting. At first, that is.
As much flak as dating apps got, I did get to meet a lot of fun and interesting people. But I discovered that as the quantity of people on dating apps increased, there was a clear and direct decline in the quality of my matches. Not quality in terms of the people, they were still (mostly) great — but quality with regards to our compatibility. In an ever-deepening pool, it became harder and harder to meet someone I could really connect with.
Beyond that, I became frustrated with the anonymous-feeling lists of matches, shuffling between multiple apps at a time, unanswered messages, flaky people, and, well, the list goes on. Everyone I knew, men and women alike, had the same problems.
At the same time, fitness has always been a part of my life, from college sports to early morning runs, to the thumping beat of spin and bootcamp classes. I wouldn’t call myself a junkie by any stretch, and sadly, I still don’t have the abs of my instructor friends. But the commitment to staying healthy, to looking and feeling great, has always kept me coming back for more. And then it hit me — fitness is a culture and a lifestyle, but even more than that, it’s a mindset.
That’s what was missing from the world of dating: a way to focus on an actual shared mindset, rather than just looks or common interests. Let’s face it — everyone likes movies, music, and pretty sunsets — and apparently the random tiger selfie. But great dates and lasting relationships start with a strong foundation, and that tends to start with a shared outlook on life. Once you have that, everything else kind of falls into place. And that’s how I first started working on Sweatt.
From the beginning, it was important to me that Sweatt provided value — that it actually made people’s lives better and easier. We’ve implemented that kind of thinking from the top on down. The front-end of the app is a beautiful, elegant interface that utilizes full screen photos during scouting. The match feed is completely reimagined. No more tiny thumbnails or monotonous list of names. We wanted the experience to feel special — like the old days when you exchanged phone numbers and actually felt some butterflies in your stomach. To accomplish that, we made our match photos huge! They nearly fill the screen, so the experience feels more like Instagram rather than scrolling through a spreadsheet.
Meanwhile, behind-the-scenes, our algorithm (“the magic” as I call it) stacks the deck with people who share similar lifestyles. It’s based on workout frequency, diet, typical workout time, and other factors that ensure much better odds of meeting someone compatible.
That said, we also believe in mixing it up. We believe a runner and a yogi can fall madly in love. It doesn’t matter if you spin twice a week after work, or break a sweat six days a week at the crack of dawn. From Pilates to bootcamps, you’re no longer restricted to the small pool of people at your 6:40 class. (Well, maybe we’ll let the Crossfitters just date each other. Just kidding, we’re going to force you guys to be nice to the rest of us!)
In all seriousness, this is not an app just for athletes and fitness instructors. Six packs are not a pre-requisite! That’s why we didn’t overload the app with every fitness feature we could think of. Sweatt doesn’t manage your diet, register you for classes, or calculate your BMI. Sweatt is intended to find you great dates, and who knows, maybe a soulmate.
Fitness is about mindset, and it’s that commitment and no-bullshit attitude that unites us as a community. When you think about healthy relationships and the qualities it takes to achieve them, you start to realize that the fitness community has those attributes in spades. Commitment, follow-through, confidence, and dedication. Having a great pair of glutes certainly doesn’t hurt, either!
Since our launch at Barry’s Bootcamp in mid-December, the response has been overwhelming. So many of our friends in the community, from trainers to health and wellness journalists, have been writing, blogging, and posting about us on social media. The feedback from studios, trainers, and fitness brands has been incredible.
We’ve gotten an especially strong response from New York, London, and Los Angeles, but we’ve also been downloaded everywhere from Kansas to Brazil.
There are so many people who work so hard to be the best version of themselves. The best part of working on Sweatt is knowing those people no longer have to settle when it comes to dating.
P.S. Sweatt’s second "T" stands for together.
We’d love to have you join our growing community. Check it out in the App Store. Use Sweat Life founder Aly Teich's promo code, AlySweattsMe.
Dan Ilani grew up on a small farm on Long Island, New York. Fitness-minded from the jump, he grew up wrestling and played rugby in college and later for the Israel national team. He started in sports marketing for Reebok, but since then, he’s had what might affectionately be termed an idiosyncratic career path. From entertainment lawyer to Hollywood agent and co-founder of Undertow Films, he’s executive produced hit shows on AMC and Discovery and is one of the architects of the World Armwrestling League, the sports craze that’s currently sweeping ESPN. A restless entrepreneur, he's turned his attention to solving humanity’s greatest puzzle — love — as Founder of Sweatt, the first dating app designed for fitness-minded individuals.