A Wexford startup is hoping to make its mark in the crowded dating app scene by mimicking the feeling of being in a nightclub.
Katch is a new mingling app, designed by Paul Numan, which allows users to interact via video during virtual events, such as live-streamed performances by DJs.
There is no direct charge to the customer for the app — the event organisers cover that cost and may decide to charge attendees themselves. A number of Institutes of Technology — Waterford, Limerick and Athlone — and GAA clubs in Cork have already booked gigs on the app.
“Katch was an idea conceptualised during the Covid pandemic in order to bring the real feeling of ‘going out’ back to life,” according to the team behind it.
Unlike other mingling apps such as Bumble, everything on the service is video based and profiles are updated in real time.
Users can watch the live gigs and events on the app and then go into breakout-room-type mingling sessions to chat to other users.
There are no avatars or 'historic' pictures from when you were 10 years younger — this is a live event. It is set up so that people can attend the gig and then if they move to the mingling area each person will 'bump into' another person every two minutes. If they hit it off they can choose to extend this then.
Paul, who used to be a DJ, said: "Everything we do is video-based so when you register the camera is on, everything is real, there are no filters."
While anyone can use the app, no matter their relationship status, its founder believes it will be of particular interest to singletons — and that it might actually work better for them than if they were to go to a real nightclub.
“If I go out with my friends to a normal nightclub, I might chat with maybe two to single women in a night. With Katch, I can engage with 30 plus women a night. So my opportunities of meeting someone that matches with me are far better,” says Paul Numan.
The virtual events will be run by clubs and other businesses around Ireland, who can access an online management suite through the app to launch free or fee-paying events on the service.
All events will have strict safety policies in place, according to the organisers.
"There are a lot of safety features built into it as, as you could imagine, bringing alcohol and video together, they tend to... inhibitions could kind of go wild, so we add a lot of safety features based on that."
This Friday, April 30, the app is launching with a performance by DJ Markus Lawyer and is giving away free tickets to 50 singletons, who can find out more on the app’s website.
This is about meeting and socialising with your 'tribe' says Paul.
“A nightclub was not built on alcohol and music alone, it needs people to mingle to create the atmosphere that ignites the soul,” says the Katch team.