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Fun loving SF NS in search of athletic M, 18-25, for NSA relationship, NBM, enjoys long walks on the beach, romantic dinners - and Latino culture., a new online-dating site started by two Penn alumni, will aim to bring together young Latino professionals when it launches in January.

"Latinos are proud of their heritage and [the cultural nuances of the site] resonate with the community," said Penn Law alumnus Ariel Oxman, who created the site with Wharton alumnus Joe Spector.

Their goal is for the site to garner high status - like similar niche sites JDate and ChristianMingle - by "incorporating cultural nuances" into the world of dating.

"There are over two million Latinos in the U.S. who use online-dating sites, and while there are existing Latino-specific dating sites, none of them has brand name recognition," Oxman said.

Plans for the site began in December 2006, when Oxman and Spector entered it into the Wharton Business Plan competition.

Although they didn't win, is now part of the Wharton Venture Initiation Program, which provides students and alumni with funding and advice to develop and implement business ideas.

The site already has a Facebook group and a blog, through which over 10,000 people have expressed interest in the service. Over 500 men and women have submitted their contact information to immediately join when the site launches.

"We co-hosted a party in Philadelphia [in late October] that attracted a couple hundred people, and we got a lot of positive feedback," Oxman said.

Even though many college students are hopeful to find their special someones right here at Penn, the Latino community seems pleased to have this new dating option.

College junior and chairman of the Latino Coalition Oscar Benitez said that while he is not sure how aware Penn students are of the site, he finds the idea intriguing.

"I think for a lot of us Latinos, we have a bicultural identity, and general media appeals to the American side, and that doesn't necessarily tap into our cultural interests such as food, music and family," Benitez said.

According to Oxman, "Latinos tend to marry Latinos." With the percentage of Latino students at Penn hovering at about 7 percent, some students might want to look beyond the confines of campus to find that mate.

Yet most students do not seem particularly receptive to the idea of a niche dating site.

"I wouldn't say that it would be a big thing with the Latin community, probably because our way of socializing is more one-on-one, so I don't think it would be very popular," Wharton sophomore Nicole Santiago said.

Wharton sophomore Daphne Calderon agreed, saying, "I don't think that Latino people would actually use a dating site because we're really social people who would rather meet in public."

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