We realized people need to stay home, people need to be reminded to stay home and people will be lonely when they stay at home
What it does
The app is text-based. Every day at 6 p.m., the app asks its registered users whether they washed their hands. If they say yes, they are introduced to another user by text. After 20 minutes, the matched users will are sent a link to video chat.
The app is currently free. However, we plan to send a message to ask for a $1 donation to help frontline healthcare workers get PPE. We have reached out to projectN95 and hope to help them fund some of their costs.
How we built it
We put up a webflow website that collects names and phone numbers using TypeForm. We then built a backend using node.js, express.js, Mongodb and hooked it up to Twilio. We then used Daily.co's API to send create a 1-on-1 video chat room. We then send that link to the users when their speed date is up. We also built in a growth loop: after you are invited to sign up you are asked to tweet at us https://twitter.com/helloQT2020
Challenges we ran into
Debuging and testing Twilio can be hard. Growth: we were covered by the WSJ and the story put on the the frontpage of the website and the printed news paper. Then CNN covered us. The matching algorithm needed to be watched closely initially. So we would only send out small batches to check for errors when matching based on: age, gender, gender preference and time zone. The algorithm initially made some mistakes.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
In the first week we had over 200 signups and that now seems to be doubling every day.
What we learned
People are responding to this "Blind Date" type of setup. They mentioned it is different than the normal dating app. You actually match with some one every night. And you don't know what they look like. So you can only judge them on the conversation. Then you reveal your self in the video chat. Some users shared they are not ready to go on video at a moments notice (they want time to get their hair and face right since they are in quarantine). We had to update our form language to make it clear that your phone number won't be shared. We had feedback they some users were very worried about their privacy. We don't share anything with your match besides your first name.
Here is some other feedback: "I think this is a good idea as this will fight loneliness,depression and fear during this period the world quarantine"
"The 6 pm with 30 minute limit is a problem for people who work late. I teach online until 7 pm. Hope there is a way to connect at 7!"
"Such a cool idea! Happy someone jumped on the opportunity."
"Thank you for including a third gender option. That’s so important and to kick off your idea with that from the beginning speaks volumes to who you are. Truly, thank you. You are validating many folks and saying: hey, I see you. Wow. Thank you."
What's next for Quarantine Together
We are restricting the number of users we have in the matching system and putting many people on a waitlist. This allows us to reach out to early users and get feedback. Iterating on the system before we send it out to the full waitlist. We want to figure out how we will set up collection of donations. Our first step is to evaluate sites like Gofundme.com