Families can now swipe right on other families in New York.
On August 15, MatchFamilies, an app designed for families to meet other families, launched in NYC and already has 300 users who are looking for friendship at first swipe.
Ranked in order of number of members, they hail from neighborhoods like the Upper East Side, Upper West Side, Brooklyn, Jersey City/Hoboken and Tribeca.
The free service launched in Germany in Nov. 2021 by former management consultant Dzhangar Sanzhiev, who founded it after he moved to Dusseldorf with his wife and two children. “We needed to build our social circle from scratch; we had no friends nor family here,” he explained.
Although he met families through his children’s school, both sets of parents and children didn’t always mesh.
He knew there had to be others living nearby with similar interests and age ranges that would connect with his household. “And no one would be like, ‘The husband is boring,’ ‘The wife is a bit strange’ or ‘They are vegetarian’” he said. “Or the kids are bored and saying, ‘We want to go home.’”
“But my chances to meet them were so low ... I thought, ‘How can technology help enable this?’” Sanzhiev, 37, said. “In our individualistic world, everyone forgot about families, but we have needs as well.”
Mandatory Information, Optional Details
Similar to a dating app, participants swipe left if they don’t approve and right if they think there’s a match. Profiles contain mandatory information like location and ages and optional details like occupations, nationality, religion and smoking and drinking habits.
To protect their safety, families can opt for a username instead of their actual moniker and either exclude photos or blur out faces in them. Members can only chat if both parties liked each other’s profiles.
MatchFamilies is also available to empty nesters, single parents, LGBTQ partners and couples without children.
Tech entrepreneur Ivan Mishanin, 36, learned of the technology at an investor event where Sanzhiev presented. Although he does not have children yet, he and his wife, who live on the Lower East Side, joined the network. The pair have since met an “awesome” couple from New Jersey with a child and have already socialized with them multiple times.
“Awesome Way to Connect”
Meesha Chang, 44, who recently moved to Westchester from Brooklyn and has two daughters ages 5 and 3, discovered the app through a parent group on Facebook. Although she has yet to meet a family in person, she has already liked profiles, chatted with users and enjoyed the swiping process reminiscent of when she was single and dating online.
“I was excited just to scroll. It was very familiar,” she said. Although she did not meet her husband on the web, she has friends who found spouses that way, so sees the value in employing the use of apps.
“They’ve been together for over 10 years, so I believe in them ... and I think it’s an awesome way to connect,” she gushed.
When she first moved, Chang, a marketing director, found it difficult to make friends. “We never even really talked to our next-door neighbors ... My kids were just so lonely, and it really broke my heart,” she said.
As for what she looks for when browsing, she said, “Kids around their same age is very helpful,” she said. “And if I find a profile that’s unique and honest.”
Mishanin described his more discussion-based criteria. “I’m looking for someone with whom I can spend my time and talk about books, movies or whatever is going on around us,” he said. “I’m not looking for their job title or business background.”
According to Chang, who shares her family’s photos on the app, images personalize the experience, but are not deal breakers. “I’m a very visual person ... But I’m finding with age and experience ... it’s more about the vibe,” she said.
Mishanin also included photos of himself and his wife on their profile. “I’m not a politician, so I’m not scared that somebody is going to discover me,” he said, laughing.