Photo courtesy of Alex Furmansky.
Most entrepreneurs start dating websites to make money, but Alex Furmansky created his because he wants to end hookup culture. After attending the University of Pennsylvania’s business school and working at a series of technology and finance companies, Alex founded Sparkology, a dating website for “young urban professionals” that requires members to either receive invites from current members or to have a degree from an elite university. Since Sparkology's launch in February 2012, over 7,000 people have joined and two Sparkology couples have gotten engaged. I didn’t know what a young urban professional is or why they’d have trouble meeting other young urban professionals for sex or love, so I asked Alex what the fuck was going on.
VICE: What inspired you to start Sparkology?
Alex Furmansky: When I was living in Florida, several friends of mine were girls in their mid-20s and early 30s, and objectively they were gorgeous, intelligent, really nice people. They just couldn’t date good men. I know so many good guys, but they just go to bars and stand there looking at girls across the room.
How does Sparkology help those good guys learn to approach women?
We had an event just for our men. One of our concierges came in and gave a short speech about how to date like a gentleman online. We have three concierges. One helps you write a profile, and we have Allegra, who plans and books your entire evening. Often the guys are busy and don’t have time to read the foodie blogs. Then we have Courtland Thomas, our photographer. His name’s really Waspy. When I heard his name, I was like, “He’s hired!”
What does going to a good school and having a high income have to do with your being an ideal dating partner?
It’s not about that. It’s the kind of person you’re with and whether you can communicate and whether you can have a conversation.
What’s a young urban professional? I feel like that could mean many things.
It’s someone who takes his or her career seriously. For you and I, it’s pretty obvious. I think you and I are in this bubble, and if you step out of the bubble, the vast majority of guys don’t take their careers seriously.
I take my career seriously, but my career has led me to review interactive-video sex toys. Do I still count as a young urban professional?
We’re not the banker crowd. We have a bunch of teachers, for example. We have a guy who’s helping start a new kind of elementary school in the Bronx. We have authors.
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