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Online dating can be a dreadful thing. Anyone who’s ever used services like Tinder or OKCupid knows that one person’s one-night stand is another person’s shot at finding The One. Even if there are a lot of romantics out there, they certainly can’t be heard due to loud voices of those who made Tinder and rest of these apps the way they are.

Ohlala: The Grey Zone of Online Dating

In order to try to correct this, Pia Poppenreiter started her business idea in Berlin, Germany. Ohlala is an application that facilitates “paid dating”, even though not many people believe in this service’s good intentions. This is why Poppenreiter is happy to explain how this idea came to be, as well as why paid dating could be the next big thing.

Poppenreiter previously worked in finance, as an investment banker. However, she took a year off working as a bartender before deciding to go to Berlin. This is where we studied business ethics while working as a research assistant at her university. After her studies, she founded her first startup that launched an app call Peppr.

However, unlike Ohlala, Peppr is definitely a service for those looking for sexual encounters. What needs to be said here is that prostitution is legal in Germany, so this app provides a way to connect clients with providers.
Ohlala is a dating service where women get to choose. Male users post their offers for dates, consisting of time, duration, and how much money they are willing to spend. While the request is open, women can decide to pursue it.

This means that men cannot choose and they can’t even see profiles of female users. Once this happens, the couple can chat and discuss different tidbits, including their boundaries. Once the terms are agreed upon, the chat is logged.

By looking at Poppenreiter’s previous work, it can be easy to assume that Ohlala is not that different from Peppr. Instead of being explicit, this app connects women with men interested in dating. However, having a date with someone requires you to pay about $300 on average.

Ohlala: The Grey Zone of Online Dating

Even if Ohlala is not about hiring an escort, the question here is who would pay to have a date with someone. The founder says that there’s no typical user, as well as that the app is looking for users that know what they want, and who have money.

This seems pretty explicit, right? Still, the app doesn’t allow any nudity in profile pictures. In fact, the company seems to be very interested in keeping this rule and banning profiles that fail to meet it.

It seems like people love this idea. The startup just raised another $1.7 million in seed funding, which are the costs of the U.S. expanding since the app is now available in New York City. Poppenreiter says that nearly 10,000 dates have taken place so far in New York City.

However, these numbers are not a clear indication of the app’s success since it is yet to implement a payment system in the U.S.

When it comes to online dating, there are numerous ways to find someone interested in a long-term relationship. You can also easily find someone interested in something else. Still, Ohlala seems to be in a grey zone and it seems like the company has made that decision willfully. The bottom line is that you can’t really put a price on a platonic date. Furthermore, a lot of people wouldn’t pay a lot of money for a date that they can’t be sure will end happily.

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Novak Bozovic
Tech editor and architecture student. His stories have featured in numerous online publications covering hottest stories about IT-and tech trends.