Finding love can be truly magical, but for some, the journey to get there is anything but enchanting. They must endure a string of bad dates. And if they are fortunate, they might eventually discover a soulmate. This quest becomes even more daunting in a world with millions of single people, leaving them unsure of where to begin. This is where Trueflutter, a Nigerian dating and matchmaking app dedicated to helping individuals find compatible partners with shared values and backgrounds, comes into play. “There’s someone out there searching for you. We are here to help you find each other and fall in love,” says Dare Olatoye, co-founder and CEO of Trueflutter. 

Trueflutter has recorded over two million successful matches across Nigeria. Last year alone, they facilitated more than 27 couples tying the knot through their service. Jumoke Obanla, the brand activation manager at Truflutter, shares, “Right now, we have several people leaving our app and telling us specifically, ‘I found my partner on the app,’ or ‘I just got engaged,’ or ‘We just got married.'”

Since its inception, Trueflutter has maintained a steady month-on-month growth rate of 10 per cent. However, the true impact of the Trueflutter dating app lies in its mission to foster genuine relationships.

Bukola and Abayomi, a couple that met on Trueflutter

Bukola had lost hope of finding true love before her experience with Trueflutter. Following an early divorce, she remained single for seven years, navigating only short-lived relationships. “It seemed like that was all there was for me. But I wanted more,” she says in a video on Trueflutter’s social media page. Her connection with Abayomi through the app changed everything. “I found my soulmate,” she exclaims. Bukola and Abayomi married on Valentine’s Day. “I still pinch myself sometimes because it all feels too good to be true,” she adds.

L-R: Ayo Olatoye, Co-founder and CMO Truflutter. Dare Olatoye, Co-founder and CEO of Trueflutter.

Trueflutter is the brainchild of two brothers, Dare and Ayo Olatoye. Dare had worked in the downstream sector for over 10 years after earning an accounting degree from Covenant University. However, it didn’t take much for him to pursue a different path. “I wasn’t feeling my potential as a person. I wanted to follow my dreams and make an impact,” he says. Dare and Ayo joined forces to create Trueflutter. While their ultimate goal was always a dating app, they initially formed virtual cohorts in various communities, a strategy that Facebook and Tinder are known to have explored. Hundreds of people joined these groups, making it easy for Trueflutter to organize events and attract attendees. Despite the significant marketing effort required, these events paid off, establishing the brand as the host of Nigeria’s foremost speed dating events.

The term “speed dating” was first used in 2000. But the earliest documented example of speed dating dates back to early 1996 in Los Angeles. Aryeh and Rena Hirsch developed speed dating as a solution to the typical single events where only attractive women and outgoing men found success. This concept has since gained popularity worldwide and caters to various communities and preferences. Trueflutter, however, aimed to redefine speed dating. Their first event, attended by over 200 people, featured games, cocktails, food, and prizes, creating a fun, pressure-free atmosphere. “Generally, we had an idea for an app, but first had to be sure it would work in the space. When we ran the MVP, we had about 15,000 subscribers in a few months and made around $3,000. After seeing the huge demand, we decided to scale with it,” Dare recalls.

On the Trueflutter App, three subscription plans—Premier, Bloom, and Flutter—offer varying possibilities for finding love. The Flutter plan allows users to send voice requests, which are displayed prominently, increasing visibility. To use Trueflutter’s service, users must first consult with a representative via Zoom. During this consultation, the matchmaker learns about the user’s preferences and needs. Afterwards, users submit a form detailing their information, including genotype and other preferences. Trueflutter then uses this data to match users with like-minded individuals. However, the matchmaking service is optional, and users do not have to pay if they do not want to use it. There are in-house purchases, where the user can purchase other features on the app to have a better experience. But those who value privacy and anonymity get private matchmaking services. “The ultimate goal is helping people find relationships that could lead to marriage,” says Dare.

Trueflutter’s influence extends beyond its technological capabilities. Nigeria is home to many cultural traditions, religions, and social strata. These factors play a significant role in shaping personal relationships. However, if there’s one thing these many people and cultures agree on, it is that finding a life partner is not just a casual pursuit. Jumoke Obanla notes, “For young people in our society, their upbringing has been centred around finding a husband or wife in the most traditional of places, such as among family friends, in churches, mosques, or maybe at work.”

Trueflutter has revolutionized the Nigerian dating scene by bridging the gap between cultural traditions and modern aspirations. The app offers young Nigerians a secure platform to connect with like-minded individuals who share their values and aspirations for a lifelong partnership. Moreover, more Nigerians are embracing dating apps, partly accelerated by the pandemic. “I think the pandemic also helped us,” Dare says. “There was a lot of boredom during the pandemic, especially for the single people. By the time the pandemic was over, more people had become proactive in finding a partner.” But for some people, it took the testimonials of others for them to take the “leap of faith”. “It is just like eating food at a restaurant. When you hear good reviews, you want to eat there,” says Dare. Since the pandemic, Trueflutter subscribers have surpassed 308,000.

Despite an impressive growth and adoption rate, running a dating app in Nigeria comes with unique challenges. Apart from overcoming societal misconceptions about online dating, Truflutter grapples with infrastructure-related issues, particularly around internet access and reliability. They worked tirelessly to optimize the app for limited bandwidth conditions in Nigeria, ensuring accessibility for all. Additionally, they invested significantly in security infrastructure to protect users from potential fraudulent activities while safeguarding their privacy. Discipline, dedication, and diligence—the three Ds—have always been Dare’s guiding principles. These principles have helped them succeed in new markets. “I believe that nothing happens by chance. It takes a lot of commitment. There were a lot of seeds planted in the past that started germinating two years ago,” he says.

The Trueflutter Team

Since its launch, Trueflutter has attracted several investors including funding from angel networks, Lagos Angel Network (LAN), SSE Angel Network (SSEAN), and SGC7375. Despite funding challenges in Africa’s tech sector, they raised $50,000 last year to accelerate their growth plans. “Beyond having a great product, investors always want to know the people behind the product. If you can effectively communicate the dedication of your team, the vision for the product, and the possibilities of how big it can be, investors will be willing to bet on you,” says Dare.

With Africa’s sizable young population, the dating space remains largely untapped, and Trueflutter’s impact on the Nigerian and African dating market is expected to be profound. The app not only fulfils the essential need for companionship but also paves the way for a future where cultural and religious values coexist harmoniously with modern dating practices.  

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