In 2009, Olivia Poole moved to San Francisco to work in the tech industry. She joined OkCupid, but nothing set off fireworks. “I could have great conversations, if not necessarily a love match,” she says.
The bigger problem, though, was a less romantic one: How do you make friends in a new city?
With a couple tweaks, she realized, the online-dating formula could become a platform for platonic relationships.
Seven years later, that realization has become Hey! VINA, an app she launched at the end of January with her former General Assembly colleague Jen Aprahamian. The two of them cofounded VINA, an online hub where women can connect and share their accomplishments, last summer. Available only to women, Hey! VINA suggests potential new friends based on mutual Facebook acquaintances, proximity, and quiz data through a “Tinder-style” user experience. As of now, users are clustered in San Francisco, New York, and Los Angeles. Demand, Poole says, has been “not surprisingly, but excitingly, high.”
Arguably, the same set of conditions that produce modern dating difficulties also limit young people’s ability to form adult friendships. People between the ages of 25-34 show by far the greatest rates of inter-city migration, and tend to remain in jobs for less than three years. The high office turnover rate, argues Adam Grant in The New York Times, has led people to prioritize productivity over personal bonding during working hours.