Malaysia Dating App with Genetic Matching Services
In my own social circles, some of the more commonly used dating apps include Tinder, Coffee Meets Bagel, and Bumble, all of which are US-based companies.
Singapore-based matchmaking service MatchMde tries to differentiate itself with a different strategy. It claims to provide an AI dating coach to help users secure dates, among other things.
But it wasn’t his AI function that caught my eye – it was his recent collaboration with the Malaysian Genomics Resource Center (MGRC) to release a companion, opt-in service dubbed The Gene Match, available for US $ 245 (approximately RM1K).
Essentially, The Gene Match is a biocompatibility relationship matching service that is not a new concept globally, but is a newer concept for SEA.
Find your genetic match
It sounds more like science fiction, and there is even a Netflix series called The One based on the concept. So we had to ask the team, what were they thinking?
“MatchMde’s approach has always been to help our users make meaningful connections by leveraging science and technology,” said Fabian Foo, CEO of MatchMde in our interview. “Our conversation with the MGRC started with the idea and the possibility of a biocompatibility match. “
This led to the team’s discovery of the “Sweaty T-Shirt Study” conducted in 1995 at the University of Bern, Switzerland.
The experiment involved women sniffing T-shirts recently worn by men. Her results revealed that women preferred the smell of those whose immune response genes were different from theirs.
Other research and studies have shown that up to 40% of physical attraction can be determined by human genes alone, according to Fabian.
While we were unable to get an interview with MGRC, it appears the Bursa-listed company was also looking for new areas to expand into, other than the more mainstream healthcare and agriculture sectors.
Active in the field of genome sequencing and analysis since 2004, its CEO, Sasha Nordin, said in a press release that the company has the ability to expand its offerings into other new areas.
“[This] The partnership is proof of the opportunities for innovation and application of genomics science and technology in other new applications, ”said Sasha.
Review of 4 areas of biocompatibility
Most of the genetic tests that have taken off in recent times involve DNA sampling via saliva, and the same goes for The Gene Match.
Once the sample is returned to MatchMde, it will be processed in the newly expanded MGRC laboratory. Samples will take at least 18 business days to be processed before users can view their My DNA section on the MatchMde app for status updates.
The theory of biocompatibility believes that the greater the dissimilarity in terms of genetic traits between 2 people, the more compatible they are.
The Gene Match examines 4 critical areas to determine compatibility between people. “In plain language, this helps determine if there are any upcoming deal breakups,” Fabian said.
First, they look at its degree of attraction. This will let users know if they have a high degree of attraction with their match, and vice versa, based on their genetic profiles.
The second is Intimacy Satisfaction, where users can find out their preferences and response to physical, emotional, intellectual and psychological intimacy, and ways to find a match that can meet their needs.
The third is the wish of children. It refers to their compatibility in the desire to have children, which can make or break a relationship.
Finally, the satisfaction of the partnership. This is where factors such as the user’s individuality as a person, the tendency for positive emotions and moods VS the nature of their potential match can determine whether they can both be happy together.
But the question remains, will this actually help users find “the right one”? What if a person has more than one biocompatible match that ticks all of the boxes?
Fabian clarified that it is important to understand that there are different matching algorithms within the MatchMde platform itself. The Gene Match is more of an add-on to identify a potential connection, providing another layer of filters, so to speak.
“As with the main match algorithm, the user can decide whether or not they want to engage with the recommended match,” he explained.
He also touched on the fact that there are many factors that influence or determine the overall compatibility of 2 people. Even within these 4 traits, different users have different priorities which will play into their final decision to continue the game.
Ultimately, the goal of MatchMde is simply to provide users with information that is generally not available to them in order to make an informed decision on a match.
Before people pay, the app needs to improve
MatchMde itself is free and you can certainly find matches without paying a dime. That being said, it looks like a lot of more engaging features, like The Gene Match, which claim to increase your chances of a quality match, are stuck behind a pay wall.
From my perspective, there are 2 reasons why one would pay for the services of a dating app: 1) they are desperate for a match, or 2) they quite like the free features and have seen results, but would like even better.
To properly capture the secondary market, MatchMde still has room for improvement. Downloading the app and browsing through its offerings, it doesn’t seem like it has much to brag about other than its clean interface and verification process to hopefully minimize cat fishing.
Despite its cleanliness, I noticed that the interface was a bit buggy. For example, some features were slow to load or respond to my touch, and sometimes there were UI elements that blocked other details.
Also, while the app does require you to verify yourself via a selfie, I still noticed some profiles with either cartoon or blacked out images, so the team will need to toughen this process up a lot more if they are serious about preventing the cat fishing.
What determines the usability of a dating app is also its pool of candidates, that is, its user base. For the most part, I observed that there weren’t as many potential matches available to me, compared to my experience on other established dating apps.
To add, my colleague also saw several of the same people who were recommended to me, despite being over 30 km away. From this I would conclude that, because the candidate pool is still limited, the app shows you people from all over to maximize your chances of a match.
Although there were reviews of the app on the App Store and Google Play saying its AI service helped converse on the app, one user complained that despite the purchase of the VIP package, he always had a hard time finding recommendations.
The overall concept of MatchMde is certainly intriguing and new to Malaysia, but for The Gene Match to fully take off, the team would need to refine their core dating app services.
On the bright side, if you manage to find a match on MatchMde, at least the app offers location recommendations as meeting points.
- Learn more about MatchMde here and the Malaysian Genomics Resource Center here.
- Read about other apps we’ve written about here.
Image Credit Featured: Malaysia Genome Resource Center