I recently attended a wedding where, amidst the celebrations and the couple’s tear-inducing vows, attendees learned the happy couple met on a dating app. This shouldn’t be surprising. Since Tinder’s arrival in 2012, dating apps are no longer considered taboo; rather, they’re our new normal. About 40 percent of Americans use online and/or mobile dating to meet potential mates. Of course, users often have similar and widespread complaints (unsolicited messages, a lack of “serious” participants, spam accounts, and so on). One newcomer to the field, The League, is offering something different, and on August 1, Denver will be the 14th city to join its roster.
The League launched in five cities in 2015. Founder Amanda Bradford was a grad student at Stanford and found herself single for the first time in five years. She downloaded the normal slew of dating apps (Tinder, Hinge, Coffee Meets Bagel), but was disappointed in her matches. Frustrated, but not ready to give up, she founded The League.
While the app is free, not everyone makes it in. Pulling from users’ Facebook and LinkedIn Data, The League has an extensive vetting and selection process. Once downloaded, users are waitlisted until they’re allowed access to the “curated community.” The app’s algorithm screens out those without clear photos and with missing education and work information. From there, they are vetted by a human-screening team. And what do they look for?
“Ambitious people,” says Meredith Davis, The League’s head of communication. “It’s not about where you went to school, necessarily, and it’s not about the job, but ‘Are you going to be a really good asset to our community in some shape or form?’ You have to have one of those things, and it has to be a value add to our community.”
Each day, The League matches users with four potential suitors based on their preferences—education, location, height, age, and gender (the app is LGBT friendly, though it’s a smaller pool), among others. Matches expire without communication after 21 days. Other features enable you to purchase perks, such as additional matches, a “power move” that launches you to the top of a suitor’s queue, an undo button, and a rematch after the match expires. The app also has an optional $180 annual membership that gets you into exclusive events, provides more matches, and other benefits.
This desire to build and cultivate community gives The League an edge over other apps that exist solely on your screens. Users are able to join interest groups, such as dog walking, hiking, or pub crawls, as well as meet fellow Leaguers at a variety of curated, local events.
As of August 1, the founding class of Denverites on The League will begin the matching process. Selected from a waiting list of 9,755, these 2,004 members are between the ages of 22 and 35 (they’ll allow older members as the app’s population increases); are likely to hold an MBA, Ph.D., or law degree; have good jobs; and live in the hottest Denver neighborhoods. The company comes to the Mile High City as part of its Summer Series Initiative to launch in 10 new markets that are hotbeds for power couples. “We’re really just following the trend of where people are moving for jobs, where people are moving as singles,” says Davis.
For young professionals who are looking for love without needing to navigate the rude and lewd on other dating sites, The League may be the perfect solution. Just don’t call it elitist. “What we’re doing on The League is what people are actually doing in their day-to-day lives,” Davis says. “People are constantly curating the people they’re around on a day-to-day basis, and the same goes for The League.”