Community, Features

Meme-based matchmaking app coming to BU

Want a dating app based solely on your humor and taste in memes? Schmooze might be for you.

schmooze dating app
A person using Schmooze, a dating app that matches its users with others who enjoy similar memes. “We want to be the dating app for the TikTok generation,” said founder and CEO Vidya Madhavan. BAYVLE VINES/DFP STAFF

Schmooze sets itself apart from other platforms by being a meme-based dating app. Rather than swiping on profiles, Schmooze users swipe according to the memes they find amusing and match with others who have the same taste.

Starting next week, Schmooze will be on college campuses throughout Boston, including Boston University.

“Our entire team is going to be there next week … trying to grab attention and trying to get more people to Schmooze,” Vidya Madhavan, founder and chief executive office, said.

Madhavan emphasized that memes are reminders of a “point in time, a point in life” worth cherishing.

“Memes say so much about each of us and communicate so much in just being a text or just being an image,” she said.

For the first time, dating app users have a way to connect that is not entirely based on profiles and photos, Madhavan said. Instead, matches are made through humor and laughter, providing a lot more fun and a lot less stress to the experience.

“Every generation has its own set of social and dating products. There was Facebook back in the day when eHarmony and was the thing,” Madhavan said. “Then came Instagram, which had Tinder, Bumble, Hinge as the user base. We want to be the dating app for the TikTok generation.”

Madhavan graduated in 2021 with a Masters in Business Administration from Stanford University where she said professors taught entire courses on memes and meme culture and gave hard facts about the power of memes.

“There are some professors … who say that memes are a huge predictor of not only who you’re likely to gel well with at the beginning of a relationship or how your first date would go, but continue to be a strong predictor of how good your bond is going to be, even once you’ve started dating or you’ve been in a relationship for some time,” Madhavan said.

The app was first tested at Stanford. In 10 weeks, their user base quickly grew from 100 students to 10,000 without them spending a dollar on marketing, Madhavan said.

One of the influencers Schmooze reached out to at BU to help build their brand was Alefiyah Gandhi, a sophomore in the College of Arts and Science. Gandhi’s brand on TikTok focuses on “self love, inclusivity, body positivity.”

After meeting with Madhavan, Gandhi said she had an “instant” connection with the Schmooze team while crafting an ad for the dating app on her TikTok account.

“More than anything … I wanted to watch [Madhavan’s] success so badly and I wanted to be a part of it,” Gandhi said. “Especially just as someone that is South Asian, I don’t have a lot of representation when it comes to these fields.”

Gandhi said she encountered fat phobia and other superficial experiences on other dating apps.

“I want to be able to use dating apps without it being self destructive,” Gandhi said. “I want to be able to match with people and talk to people without feeling self conscious all the time.”

The culture Schmooze creates with its app can be whatever users want it to be, but more importantly, it’s a space where women can be more comfortable, Gandhi said.

“With Schmooze, at the very least, even if you are looking for something more casual, you’re forced almost to make that connection … like love is blind,” Gandhi said.

Jaylen Cocklin, a freshman at Harvard, said he was surprised by the app’s approach to matching people based on memes.

“I’m not on any other dating apps, the only thing with Schmooze, I saw the word memes and was like this is going to be really funny,” Cocklin said.

Cocklin said he thought it was “crazy” how quickly the app updates memes after seeing some about Will Smith and the Oscars an hour after the televised slap.

Madhavan said Schmooze is also developing a game that tells you what your meme personality is, sort of like the Spotify Wrapped. The Schmooze app has other features like a “Schmooze Boo” for customer service concerns and is open to feedback from all of its users.

“I would love for everyone to give it a shot, because it’s a new concept,” Madhavan said. “Hopefully we can surprise, amaze and excite people a lot more. The memes are getting more exciting.”


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