Crushes, a new dating app created by Wharton MBA student, launched last month, offering a platform where Penn students could make connections.
Initially launched on Valentine's Day, Crushes was first available exclusively to Wharton MBA students. As of October, it has expanded its reach to include the entire Penn student body.
Carrie Wang, a second-year Wharton MBA student and the app's founder, designed Crushes as a discreet and comfortable platform for students to find out if their feelings are reciprocated.
“The dating culture of today is often very toxic, and there’s a need for a more organic way to connect with others within your own social circle and community,” Wang said. "Crushes is focused on promoting genuine interactions within users' social networks while emphasizing privacy and user safety."
The app allows users to select people they are interested in. These selected individuals receive a notification that someone has a crush on them, whether they use the app or not.
Crushes offers a unique option for users to anonymously send messages to their crushes before both sides express mutual interest. The app also features a board where users can anonymously post messages to the Penn community.
“While Crushes has a romantic aspect, it also aims to serve as a social networking platform," Wang said. "This emphasis on safe connections within the community differentiates it from typical social media and dating apps." An AI model is employed to moderate posts on the confession board, mitigating the risk of bullying or harassment. In addition, users have the option to block individuals who make them uncomfortable.
"Crushes has a 15% match rate among Wharton's MBA students and has been met with positive retention and feedback," said Wang. She mentioned the challenge is to inspire users to nominate crushes actively, and to naturally cultivate user base.
"The app's future success hinges on the network effect, with ambitions to broaden its network to other Ivy League and prominent universities," Wang explained.