Vancouver-based Sizzr app aims to help women find women
One evening, Vancouver entrepreneur Jacqueline Clarke hung out with a gay male friend who was "constantly Grinding".
"I was, like, that's so rude. Why are you doing that?" she says.
Her friend—for those not yet in the know—wasn't doing anything physical. (Well, not quite yet.) He was using Grindr, the popular social-networking application that helps men seeking men find available guys in close proximity, on his cellphone. Consequently, Clarke wondered why there isn't one for girls.
Clarke is tired of the stereotype that women attracted to women aren't as interested in hooking up as other gender-coupling configurations.
"Gay men in particular are somewhat known for being the most promiscuous on the spectrum of various sexualities," Clarke tells the Georgia Straight at a downtown coffee shop." Women seem to be, for some reason, on the lower end. And that's just not true….That I personally do think is kind of boring."
And so, Clarke started up the Vancouver-based company Sizzr App Inc., which is developing a female-to-female application that will help women hook up with one another.
Clarke wants to make Sizzr (pronounced "scissor") for all women who are attracted to women. (We'll leave it up to you to figure out the meaning of the name.) That includes any women who identify as lesbian, bisexual, transgender, bicurious, or exploratory.
"This is basically a massive, universal…call-out," Clarke says. "It doesn't matter if you have an asymmetrical haircut or professing your love for veganism or any of those stereotypes….It's more about women who like women."
But straight fellas, don't think any of this is a coy invitation. In fact, Clarke is taking measures to ensure that this app will remain exclusive to female users.
A secure validation plug-in, which will require the use of personal ID, such as a driver's license, will verify the gender of users. Clarke clarifies that this has nothing to do with misandry but is about safety and security.
"It's not 'Go away, boys. We don't like you.' It's just 'Please, gentlemen, this is our space for our time right now.'…I don't want anyone to get the idea this is a place for manhating lesbians. That's not the case at all. And the best way to make sure of that is to let them know that they're still loved, especially in the case of bisexual women."
Clarke says she's had her own negative experiences of trying to use online dating sites, only to discover the women she thought she was interacting with were actually heterosexual men with fake online profiles.
This problem of users faking their online identities (also known as catfishing) is one that has particularly plagued lesbian dating websites and apps. According to news reports, one in ten users who sign up for the London-based lesbian dating app Dattch are actually male.
Clarke is considering using any potential conflicts with men as an opportunity "to introduce maybe a little bit more of sensitivity and understanding".
But that's still a ways off.
First up, Clarke says that they'll be launching an Indiegogo fundraising campaign to raise legal and development fees. Beta-tests with free downloads are planned for June. A series of promotional videos will feature Vancouver showgirl Tristan Risk (who performs with burlesque troupe Sweet Soul Burlesque). Clarke plans to start in the Vancouver market with launch at Vancouver Pride Parade festival, but she says she also hopes to eventually expand to Calgary and Seattle.
But Clarke confesses that the real driving force behind all of this is her own "horniness".
"They say you should turn your passion into a career. And I am quite passionate about that aspect of my life," she says with a laugh. "So I would like to turn that into a career. And I would like to see it help…other women."