Dating app Wango launches in SA with “woman-centred approach”


Dating app Wango has gone live in South Africa, promising a “woman-centred” approach to online dating in a bid to gain a competitive edge.

To use Wango, male members must sign a “Gentlemen’s Pledge”, agreeing to act sensibly, which they are at risk of losing if they break any of the rules.

Co-founder and chief executive officer (CEO) Julian Smida told Disrupt Africa the app was built based on feedback collected beforehand with an experimental base of 15,000 users globally.

It allows users to anonymously discover new people nearby, offers exclusive ice-breakers and one-click date requests, and allows all scheduling to take place in-app without the need to share phone numbers.

“Dating is a man’s world. When we started looking at the competitive landscape we were really surprised at how there was an extreme lack of products that women felt comfortable using,” he said.

“That’s because all the current solutions have been designed by men to cater the way they want to date. As a result, the male:female ratio on dating apps is almost 7:1.”

According to Smida, the secret to success in online dating is winning over women.

“Single women are tired of signing up for dating apps only to get hit on by creepy strangers bombarding them with disrespectful messages or initiating boring repetitive conversations over and over. In the end women stop bothering about communicating with their matches,” he said.

The bootstrapped Wango does plan international expansion, but says currently its full attention is on South Africa as getting critical mass is essential for an optimal user experience.


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Passionate about the vibrant tech startups scene in Africa, Tom can usually be found sniffing out the continent's most exciting new companies and entrepreneurs, funding rounds and any other developments within the growing ecosystem.

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