(via Bangin website)
What is Tinder and Vine had a baby? It might look like the DMV’s new dating app, Bangin.
Rajdeep Junnarkar, who is based in Sterling, Va., launched Bangin on September 2 in Ashburn, Virginia.
Much like most dating apps, users swipe right to start a conversation or swipe left to pass. What Junnarkar hopes will set Bangin apart from the other apps is his recent feature encouraging users to upload a video instead of a photo.
When we emailed with Junnarkar this week, he described feeling disillusioned over how static and inorganic most dating apps feel. A former product manager with the likes of AOL and Timer Warner Cable, Junnarkar is also an entrepreneur, having founded a contact management app called Addymate in 2008.
Junnarkar started Bangin earlier this year. He said the app “approaches dating with the approach of how folks would meet & interact IRL.”
According to Junnarkar, the app has around 1,000 users so far. “Since the marketing focus has been all local I’d say 90 percent of the users are from the D.C. metro area,” he said.
The new video component was added to help verify users are real, he said, but also because he feels it helps establish a human connection. “While a pic speaks a thousand words, a video helps experience them firsthand,” Junnarkar said.
Apart from video uploads, there’s another feature Jannarkar thinks will set Bangin apart from most dating apps.
“What’s also conspicuously absent from the app is the ability to select the distance of the people near you,” Junnarkar told us. “It only shows those who are within a 30 minute drive thereby increasing the likelihood of users being receptive to meeting IRL.”
According to a report by the Loudoun Times, the app a received a “five figure” investment, which Junnarkar told us was funded via friends and family.
Overall there’s an element of naiveté to the app – from suggesting users “use compliments” as opening liners (oh boy), to showing users a mix of date-seeking and friend-seeking profiles (awkward for queer users), to Junnarkar considering age “extraneous information” that users don’t need to know. The name “Bangin” is also special, as Junnarkar told CBS that he picked it to mean the app was “excellent or awesome”.
But who knows? Maybe some lightheartedness is just what the picky, political D.C. dating scene needs.
Check out the promotional party Junnarkar is throwing tomorrow in Arlington for more info about the app – and, of course, for the free beer.