Founded by Stanford graduate Amanda Bradford, The League raised $US2.1 million from Silicon Valley investors for a controversial take on dating. The app’s goal is to make a more selective Tinder that’s only for the most interesting and motivated single people in cities around the world.
Ultimately, Bradford wants to match tons of power couples. And in the past few weeks, her app has gone viral. Bradford says The League has 75,000 people on its wait list to get in, even though it’s still only operating in beta in one city, San Francisco.
Unlike Tinder or Hinge, you can’t just download The League and begin swiping through profiles. Instead, Bradford’s app uses an algorithm to decide who’s cool enough to join the crème de la crème of single people.
“The best universities curate students. Employers curate their employees,” Bradford told Business Insider in January. “Work and school are the top places where 20-somethings meet each other. So it makes sense for a dating community to curate as well.”
The acceptance algorithm The League uses scans an applicant’s social networks — primarily LinkedIn — to ensure they are in the right age group and that they are career-oriented. That doesn’t mean they have to be Ivy graduates or work for a big-name firm. But they should have accomplished something in their 20s.
“It’s not an ‘If this, then yes, or, if no, then no’ algorithm,” Bradford said, insisting that membership isn’t based on salaries. “We want our users to say, ‘Hey, we trust your judgment.’ These people are going after their dreams. They’re just interesting, ambitious, and doing something they’re excited about.”
So who is Bradford, who is newly single herself, searching for?
“I think if I had to boil it down into one word,” Bradford says, “it’d be ambitious.”
She says The League is “less about pedigree and where you went to school and where you work and more about ambition and passion.”
There is one way to jump the long virtual waitlist: find someone who’s already a member of The League, and they can help you get in. The League’s algorithm takes into account how many friends of yours are already on the app. Also, members of The League get one “ticket” they can give to another single friend, and about 50% of The League’s users were referred by another member.
Here’s an interview CBS did with Bradford yesterday, where she explains The League: