Dating reimagined: UK graduate’s new dating app puts meaning behind your swipe


DAMB app logo provided by William Burroughs.

Alexis Baker, News Editor

While attempting to find a date for UK’s Phi Delta Theta’s formal, recent UK graduate William “Will” Burroughs was inspired to create a new medium of modern dating.

Burroughs is in the process of launching DAMB, a new dating app. 

DAMB is unlike popular dating apps many are used to, namely Tinder, Bumble and Hinge. Rather than swiping and matching based on users in your area, users swipe based on types of dates, not people.

“By putting the date first, it’s less of a messaging app, less of an online communication, more of a everything is geared towards the date,” Burroughs said. “We want to facilitate actual in-person interaction because that’s what people actually find meaningful connection and can hopefully find whatever they’re looking for whether that be love or just someone they want to interact with in-person.” 

Users of traditional dating apps spend hours swiping through thousands of people, matching with hundreds and having conversations with dozens only to find people that they don’t connect with, Burroughs explained in a provided slideshow presentation for the app.

Burroughs said that current dating apps are “surface-level.” Simply put, current dating apps are often viewed as a game of “who’s hot or not.” DAMB aims to combat inauthenticity. 

When Burroughs first thought of the concept for DAMB, his friends — who were also in need of a date to formal — liked the idea, but the true test was at a local pitch competition. 

Burroughs participated in the PNC Innovation Summit, hosted by UK’s Gatton College of Business and PNC Bank.

The event consisted of a conference and a pitch competition, according to the Gatton College of Business and Economics website

The pitch competition allowed UK graduate and undergraduate students to compete for seed funding by pitching innovative business plans,” the website said. 

Burroughs said he won $3,000 as a result of the competition.

He will be using these winnings to pay for costs related to launching the app. 

The set costs for the app, outlined in Burroughs’ slideshow presentation, are $500 for the app icon, $445 for a booth to promote the app and $812 for a legal draft of terms and conditions.

The variable costs are $70-310 per month for servers that manage data. Apple will receive 30% commission, Google will receive 15% commission and $1000 will go towards awards per contest conducted for Greek organizations.

“I keep costs low because I can program myself,” Burroughs said. 

A large portion of Burroughs’ earnings will go toward prizes for Greek life organizations, his target audience for expanding app usage. This is a deliberate marketing strategy as Greek life is an event-based organization, Burroughs said.

According to Burroughs, Greek life can accomplish DAMB’s expansion goals in multiple ways:

  1. “Easier to market to – Talk to president, relay message to 100 students
  2. Highly interconnected community
  3. Many events in community: fundraisers, formals, festivals, charity events, etc…,” the slideshow said. 

Amid concerns about marketing to a narrow demographic, Burroughs said that by targeting a younger user base there is an opportunity for users to return as they age out, and it’s easier to integrate an older user base into a younger user base. 

While DAMB has the potential to provide many positives for its users, a driving prospect of the app is its ability to interact with local businesses.

Businesses will have the opportunity to pay DAMB to post events as potential dating spots. These businesses can include bars, restaurants and concert venues, according to the app’s slideshow presentation. 

Burroughs said that events where users are required to pay, like mixers and concerts, will sometimes be posted within the app.

Burroughs said the push behind the need for a relationship with the local business community is because DAMB is “facilitating user interactions.” When an authentic relationship is the goal, a successful dating app is meant to be deleted – hopefully. 

“As you can imagine one of the consequences of us actually pushing people to go on dates and actually going out they may not be on the app for as long because they’re actually finding people,” Burroughs said. “If we can monetize the date, we can make up for users not being as active as long, get better user satisfaction, people can actually come back and have a really good experience with the app.”

With confidence, programming knowledge and funding under his belt, Burroughs’ next steps are to finish DAMB’s final design and get it on the app market in the next two to three months.  

He said that from there, he will be trying to form partnerships with Greek life and push it out into the community and possibly build starting revenue from restaurants or bars with a quality dating environment. 

Burroughs said that anyone interested in being an Alpha or Beta tester for the app can sign up at DAMB’s website.