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Why I started a Dating App | Founder/CEO Interview

Updated: Feb 3, 2023

Q+A with Joe Feminella, Founder of First Round's On Me

“First Round’s on Me” is a dating app for people who want to cut out the small talk and actually meet for a date. FROME helps users find the perfect date spot, and alleviate the stress (and awkwardness) when it comes to who should pay for the first round. Each time a user signs on, they will scroll through profiles and then when they see someone they are interested they will send an actual date by picking a drink, time and place to meet!

Once the receiver accepts the date requests, the two users will only be able to chat 6 hours before their date, and then the chat box will close once the date time hits. You can only have one date per day so you can't play the numbers game. This encourages the users to actually go on a date to keep talking, and build upon the connection... in person!

1) What did you find frustrating about dating apps, before developing FROME? The number one thing that was frustrating to me was that the date didn't seem organic. Most of the time when you meet someone in real life, that first encounter is organic and real which makes it so much easier. You have those natural ice breaking questions, like 'Where are you from? What do you do for a living? How do you view the world?' These questions are natural and take pressure off creating conversation. I saw that in the dating app world a lot of people got to know each other for too long through the phone that they already asked those questions which made it awkward because they kind of knew the person and needed to build a conversation on what they already knew about them.

Also when you take too long to get to know someone through the phone you build them to be that perfect person and no matter how great they actually are, you are always let down because you want them to be what you thought they would be.

2) What happens if someone rejects a date request through your app?

Nothing happens at all :). If a user sends you a date request and you are not interested, once you reject it the other user has no idea. It is very similar to if someone likes you on Tinder, Bumble or Hinge and you don't like them back, they really have no idea. Maybe they will think that you just didn't see the request or you were too busy and the date time passed.

3) What is the biggest challenge in launching a dating app? The biggest challenge is showing how you are actually different and getting to explain your idea to potential users. As soon as people hear that there is a new dating app it is kind of like white noise, because there are over 1k dating apps and most of them have the same concept. I think a lot of dating apps are great, however I think ours is more unique and caters to the people who actually want to go on a date and meet in person.

4) Do you think technology has changed the dating mindset or courtship experience for the better or worse, compared to the "old days" (before computers)? This is a great question and I always like to say that FROME is bridging the gap between the old school and the new school. In my opinion the old school way of dating was great because you had that natural rush of approaching someone you were interested in for the first time and you had no idea how that encounter would go, and if you got rejected then it was whatever-- and you kind of went on your way, but like I said earlier, it was so real.

Now I think the dating world is getting complicated because people are always looking for the next best thing, and no matter how great a connection they have with someone they always are looking for something better. But technology is so important to this world and I think we have to grow and learn with technology. Technology does amazing things connecting people from all over the world, but I think if you want to see if you have a real connection with someone that needs to happen in person and in my opinion sooner than later. As far as courtship I think that is a very complicated question and people have so many varying views on that. I can tell you the way I am is that when I was going on dates (I am engaged now) is I always wanted the woman to feel appreciated and valued even if I was into her or not; and I think 'doing the little things' like paying for the bill and holding the door open are just nice gestures to show that I value the time we are sharing together.

5) Tell us about the FROME partnered pop-up events? What cities are you focused on? Pop up events are one of our pillars of marketing and one of my favorites, it gives our users an environment to meet new people and allows us to be hands-on in explaining the app and giving our users a direct face and energy behind what we are trying to do. We are mainly focusing our events in LA and NYC only because that is where the most people are and our team is not big enough to hold events all over the country just yet. I am very excited about this year's events because we are partnering with such cool venues like Mondrian hotel, Soho House, Cipriani, The Britely among some others.

6) What are you most proud of behind the creation of FROME?

I am most proud that I am trying to build a community of people who are looking to connect with other human beings. I think the world is such a busy fast paced environment that sometimes we forget how important it is to connect with one another and I am proud that we are trying to help facilitate those connections.

FIRST ROUND'S ON ME WEBSITE LINK: INSTAGRAM LINK: YOUTUBE: With First Round's on Me, we're bringing back real dating! We want to encourage people to be more confident in themselves and their quest for companionship through face-to-face interactions. Download App from Google Play Store or Apple App Store (includes freemium version, or pay to unlock special features.)


Joe Feminella, Founder/CEO

"Treat the janitor the same way you would treat the CEO."

Editorial images are photo courtesy of First Round's On Me.


Editorial images are photo courtesy of Joe Feminella of First Round's on Me. Contributors Disclaimer: Submissions are memoir. It reflects the authors/guests present recollections of experiences over time. Some names and characteristics have been changed, some events have been compressed, and some dialogue has been recreated. Personal stories are not intended to hurt others-- the intention of this blog is to inspire and entertain.


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