Hi, my name is Paul Deng. I’m developing a new mobile app called Passionfruit to help people connect. With Passionfruit, I realized something very important about creating lasting relationships – they need a solid foundation, and what better foundation is there between people than passion?

My company Passionfruit Inc. was founded in November 2017 with the objective of addressing a pressing social problem – in the fast moving world of smartphones and online communication, it is becoming ever harder to make genuine connections with other human beings.

While responding to callers as a volunteer at Distress Centres of Toronto, I realized that the majority of people who call do not have an adequate support network around them. When this is the case, many symptoms such as low self-esteem, loneliness, and depression can arise. Mental health is a complex issue with many other contributing factors, but helping people to connect and empathize with each other would be a step in the right direction.

An obvious channel to connect is through smartphones, which are now a fundamental part of our daily life experience. An exploration of the apps available to meet this need is what inspired this project. There is a shortage of apps that come to mind for meeting new people other than Tinder and its swiping siblings.

Dating apps emulate traditional dating habits well. Looks matter. Dating can be very superficial, in real life and online. But what works for dating doesn’t necessarily work elsewhere. Swiping people left and right, casually approving or dismissing based on a first impression, is not conducive to building deep, genuine, and long-lasting connections.

A few exceptions in the market exist, like Meetup. For various reasons, they are seldom used to connect with people. Meetup is used exclusively to discover events, at which more traditional contact information is exchanged. Few, if any, people use it to connect with others either before or after the meet up. Other apps target a niche audience with very specific goals or interests, and do not appear welcoming to anyone outside that scope. This leads to fragmented communities cut off from each other and scattered across dozens of apps.

Passionfruit, the first app conceived by the team at Passionfruit Inc., is designed to harness this tremendous opportunity to fill the missing links. Passionfruit does not allow its members to have a “profile picture”, and this does not mean we blur your picture only to gradually clear it up over a few lines of back and forth chatting. Rather than making conversation a cursory prelude to the picture payload, Passionfruit truly emphasizes meaningful dialogue by encouraging members to engage through a “profile passion”.

Instead of a picture, members input a passion that truly defines them (e.g., an idea, hobby, or career). The Passionfruit app matches two people when one person searches the word or phrase that matches the other one’s “profile passion”. Once a match is identified, both members are alerted and a dialogue can begin. Users can adjust the search options, such as the distance to search for people locally, age range of people to find, and gender filtering, with more features to come.

Stay tuned and follow our LinkedIn Page for announcements and access to information and insights, such as development updates and discussions on features that build on the core functionality of the app. You can also look for us on Instagram.

Paul Deng
Passionfruit Inc.

Look where you can’t see.

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