Social Development Network organises first dating hackathon in Singapore

Participants at the SDN's first dating hackathon, which took place from Dec 4 to Dec 11
Participants at the SDN's first dating hackathon, which took place from Dec 4 to Dec 11PHOTO: SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT NETWORK
Participants at the SDN's first dating hackathon, which took place from Dec 4 to Dec 11
Participants at the SDN's first dating hackathon, which took place from Dec 4 to Dec 11PHOTO: SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT NETWORK
The winners of the dating hackathon (L-R): Ms Jasmine Tan, 24, Kevin Goh, 25 and Amilyn Quah, 27
The winners of the dating hackathon (L-R): Ms Jasmine Tan, 24, Kevin Goh, 25 and Amilyn Quah, 27 PHOTO: SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT NETWORK

SINGAPORE - Could Cupid secretly be a computer engineer in disguise? In a bid to raise marriage and fertility rates here, the Government has organised a dating hackathon to crowdsource innovative ideas to get the growing pool of singles here to mingle.

On Friday (Dec 11), 36 people from 10 teams pitched their tech-based dating solutions to get singles to meet more people, and to remove the stigma associated with the use of dating services. These ideas had been developed over a week since the hackathon was launched on Dec 4.

The top three teams walked away with cash prizes worth $6,000 in total, and a chance to receive seed funding of up to $50,000 by partnering a matchmaking agency that has been accredited by the Social Development Network (SDN).

The top prize went to a team that came up with TableAround, a mobile application with an algorithm that groups individuals with similar profiles. They can then choose to socialise over meals based on the table topics that they are interested in, such as politics or travel.

Coming in second was Tunnel of Love, an app created by two National University of Singapore (NUS) students. The app caters to introverts who are less likely to initiate conversation over text messages.

Mr Ang Wei Loong and his girlfriend Ms Ng Yu Ying, both 22, won the third prize for their idea of a mobile application that allows users to talk on the phone anonymously before deciding whether or not to reveal their profile pictures and contact information.

"What we really want to focus on is creating an emotional connection for users, that is not based on superficial impression alone," said Ms Ng, a fourth-year Life Sciences student at NUS.

"The traditional model of speed dating might have seen limited success, but some of the ideas that came out today build a social layer that might make these solutions more attractive,"said Mr Prakash Somosundram, 38, who is a member of the SDN council.

yuensin@sph.com.sg