Byte Me

By Michelle Poveda

If the bar scene, Craigslist personals and lame introductions foisted on you by friends and family have failed to produce viable BF or GF material, quit procrasti-dating already-and get in touch with these San Diego relationship pros who've built their companies on creating the chance for romance.

 

IT STARTS WITH COFFEE

Founded: early 2011
Age Range: youngest member, 28; oldest, 75
Cost: $49 per month and up (month-to-month contract)
itstartswithcoffee.com

Shortly after getting married, Nicole Bhagate created a social group for married women with single friends in the hopes of helping to ?nd mates for the unbetrothed among them.

The overwhelming response from single women propelled Bhagate and her husband Vinay to launch It Starts with Coffee, a matchmaking service intended to ?ll the gap between national dating sites and more personalized (ergo, more expensive) boutique companies.

It Starts with Coffee members discuss their ideal mates with staff matchmakers, who then arrange coffee dates with promising prospects. Follow-up interviews are conducted after each date to evaluate compatibility, ensuring the next cup of joe is richer and sweeter-or darker and more bitter, depending on clients' wishes.

"Our members are professionals who work late and don't have time to browse online pro?les or attend parties," says Vinay. "We take the work out of dating for them."

 

LUCKY 7 MATCH

Founded: 2004 (purchased by current owners in 2010)
Age Range: varies by event; events for 30-40 year-olds are most popular
Cost: Free to $50
lucky7match.com

When he bought Lucky 7 Match (with ?nancial partner Rich Mino) two years ago, Reza Garajedaghi saw an opportunity to expand the company's services beyond speed-dating events to include a variety of singles' gatherings.

Today, San Diegans on the hunt for romance can visit lucky7match.com to sign up for a weekly newsletter, which noti?es them of upcoming social events based on their age. Garajedaghi prefers this system to the use of personal pro?les.

"Online, you can spend all this time talking to someone, and then meet and realize that person isn't for you," he says. "With our events, you know instantly whether or not there's a connection."

 

FITTOGETHER.COM

Founded: 2009
Age Range: 25-35
Cost: Free
?ttogether.com

Three years ago, Scott Bowen left a corporate IT career to create FitTogether.com, a social network that combines his love of ?tness with his knowledge of technology. Bowen describes his brainchild as "a social platform that extends beyond the Internet to bring together ?tness-oriented individuals."

After creating online pro?les that list their favorite sports, hobbies and interests, FitTogether members can communicate with each other via private messages or directly on their pro?les. "It's LinkedIn meets Facebook...almost meets Match.com," Bowen says.

Though Bowen doesn't market the site as a dating service, he acknowledges that it has helped forge relationships based on common interests. "If it allows people to ?nd someone to keep them warm during those cold winter nights," he says, "then so be it."

 

Reel-time dating

Not enough fish locally? Cast a wider internet with these national sites

PLENTYOFFISH.COM
With 30,000 new sign-ups daily and a whopping 32 million members exchanging 15 million messages every day, this free website has become a top online dating destination-proving that anyone can have a lure.

EHARMONY.COM
According to eHarmony, an average of 542 people (in the U.S.) get married each day thanks to the company's online dating interface. Additionally, the site claims to have helped 1.13 million 20-54 year-olds make sweet music in the form of committed relationships.

MATCH.COM
Boasting more "relationships and more marriages than any other site," Match.com is the grand dame of online dating. About 29 percent of members are under the age of 30, 51 percent are 30-49, and 20 percent are 50-plus. The eldest of the three groups is also the fastest growing, suggesting Boomers can be late-bloomers.

 

Lusty app-etites

Phone-friendly programs that call for a tap of the finger-and the desire to hit "Enter"

I JUST MADE LOVE
When ready to crow about your latest sexcapade, proclaim the when, how and what form of protection you used with this exhibitionistic app, which offers a world-view map to show precisely where users just got their rocks off.
ijustmadelove.com

GRINDR
"Gaydar" springs from the palm of your hand with this mobile service, billed as the "largest all-male location-based mobile network tool." View pics and stats of local ready-and-willing guys, whether they're in the next town or sitting at the next café table.
grindr.com

BLENDR
This inclusive Grindr spin-off fosters fast connections between men and women-and various combinations thereof. Use the app to determine the exact distance (in feet) between you and your next lust object, send a message, then proceed to bridge the gap.
blendr.com

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