Just in time for shelter-in-place orders, D.C.-based startups CarpeDM and District IRL are teaming up to launch a virtual dating experience called LoveCast.
Launched in 2018, CarpeDM is the developer of a dating app that requires people who match to indulge in a five- to 10-minute video chat before continuing their relationship via text. Newly launched District IRL is a digital media and marketing company connecting people through in-person and virtual experiences.
“The teams behind CarpeDM and District IRL met last year during DC Startup Week,” CarpeDM CMO Sali Hama told Technical.ly. “Now more than ever, we know the importance of building social bonds and curating experiences that help us all feel more connected.”
Unlike traditional dating shows, LoveCast will be an interactive experience with audience participation. Audience members will have a chance to vote and pair couples together before watching their first date online. The show had an open call for applications for casting until March 28 and Hama said that just under 100 people applied. There were 20 finalists selected and official cast members will be announced on March 31, when voting for couples will begin.
The inaugural live episode will air virtually on April 5 at 8 p.m.
During the one-hour live event, audience members will be able to comment and ask the cast questions to help guide them to a decision to either stay matched or not. Ganesh Sarma and Austin Hannah, two hosts from the “Amazon Book Club” podcast, will host LoveCast.
“LoveCast is designed to be a positive, interactive social experience; one that allows viewers to engage with the cast members and feel like they are a part of their journey,” Hama said. “The audience will get to watch the couple’s go on their first video date.”
There will be five couples featured on the first episode, while future episodes will include a mix of new and returning couples, Hama explained. Returning couples will include ones voted on by viewers as the audience choice winners.
“We will continue to incorporate partnerships with local businesses designed to enhance the virtual social experience on each episode, bringing our Cast and viewers as close to meeting in real life as possible in this challenging time,” Hama said.
To aid in COVID-19 pandemic relief efforts, LoveCast will have a virtual tip jar for special guest hosts to help support local artists and businesses. The show is also partnering with Hook Hall Helps for the inaugural episode and is asking for donations to go directly to the Park View-based tavern and event space.
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