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Zach Schleien ON: Navigating the Competitive Dating App Space

In a recent episode of "The Picture of Wealth" podcast, I had the pleasure of interviewing Zach Schleien, the co-founder of the innovative dating app, Filter Off. We delved into a variety of topics, from the importance of human connection in online dating to the practice of breathwork and the challenges of fundraising. Here's a recap of our enlightening conversation.

Tackling Scammers in Online Dating

One of the most intriguing aspects of Filter Off is its unique approach to dealing with scammers. Instead of simply deleting them, the app uses a scanner detection system to identify and isolate these individuals into a separate dating pool. This pool is then flooded with bots that engage the scammers, effectively frustrating them. This innovative approach has garnered attention from major publications and TV networks.

The Role of Breathwork in Zach's Life

As we shifted the conversation towards Zach's health-conscious lifestyle, he shared his practice of breathwork. Describing it as a form of meditation that involves controlling your breath, Zach explained how this practice helps him feel present and grounded. Rather than leading to big ideas or relaxation, breathwork serves as a daily practice that allows him to start the day in a relaxed state and handle issues with more ease.

The Genesis of Filter Off

Zach's journey to creating Filter Off began with his own experiences in online dating. Having run a dating blog, he noticed the challenges inherent in the process. He began asking his dates if they were open to video chats before meeting in person, a strategy that proved effective in gauging attraction and chemistry. This experience was the catalyst for Filter Off.

Fundraising Challenges and Strategies

Discussing the challenges of fundraising, Zach shared that his first investor was someone he met through the audio social app Clubhouse during the pandemic. He emphasized the importance of building a user base and generating revenue to make fundraising easier. The funds raised in the early stages are typically used for acquisition costs and salaries.

The Future of Online Dating

Zach believes that online dating will continue to be popular, but acknowledges that swiping can feel superficial. To provide a more authentic experience, Filter Off has introduced matchmaking with human matchmakers. He also emphasizes the importance of starting with a video chat before meeting in person and suggests that hiring a matchmaker can be essential for those serious about finding a soulmate.

The Qualities of a Good Matchmaker

When hiring a matchmaker, Zach looks for organization, coaching, and sales experience, along with empathy and customer service skills. He suggests that three out of these four pillars are necessary for an effective matchmaker, with sales being the least essential, as it can be taught or delegated to a sales team.

Managing Excess Cash and Company Valuation

Zach advises that reinvesting additional revenue into the business is a smart strategy for growth. However, he acknowledges that it's still early for his company to have a specific formula for dealing with excess cash, as they are currently focused on generating revenue. Despite the challenges faced by some companies in the dating app space due to high valuations, Zach remains focused on building the best product possible.

The Evolution of Friend Groups and Their Impact

Zach shared his insights on how his friend groups have evolved throughout his life and how they have influenced him. He emphasized the importance of surrounding oneself with people who align with their values and bring positive energy. He also suggested taking a macro-level view and asking oneself if the group or individual is beneficial to be around.

Wrapping Up

Our conversation ended with Zach sharing that Filter Off is available on all major app stores. I expressed my gratitude for his presence on the show and hinted at the possibility of a future part two episode. Stay tuned for more insightful conversations on "The Picture of Wealth" podcast.

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