An undergraduate team at the Cornell School of Hotel Administration, including Indian American student Abhimanyu Goel, proposed a dating app with a twist in the fifth annual Cornell Hospitality Pitch Deck Competition and ended up winning the $3,000 top prize.
Called Weet – derived from “We eat” – the app would not only match its users like existing mobile apps, but also arrange the first date at a local restaurant – removing risk for the daters and delivering new customers to its dining partners, according to the Cornell Chronicle.
“Imagine not having to take the first step, not having to take that first chance, getting the date set up for you,” Goyal, who presented Weet during the virtual competition, told the in-house publication. “We do it all for you, and I think that’s our biggest differentiator.”
The Weet team also included Aris Agarwala ’22 and Jacob Schlenner, a student at Babson College.
The competition, sponsored by the School of Hotel Administration’s Leland C. and Mary M. Pillsbury Institute for Hospitality Entrepreneurship, was livestreamed Nov. 12.
The competition is an experiential learning opportunity for student entrepreneurs who are contemplating, starting, or operating an early stage hospitality-based venture, and who are looking to improve their pitching skills, with the potential to earn seed funding for their venture.
Twenty-five teams registered and a dozen submitted reading decks that a panel of judges evaluated remotely and winnowed to four finalists, said the Cornell Chronicle. On Nov. 12, each finalist played a pre-recorded 10-minute video presentation, then responded to five minutes of live questions from three industry judges.
Targeting 25- to 35-year-old singles, Weet, said Goyal, would enable users to move up to three matches to a “podium” indicating a desire to meet in person. If the two members agree, the app would make reservations with an independent dining partner. The users can also pick their preferred cuisine.
“In just a few hours,” Goyal told Cornell Chronicle, “we’ve converted an online match into a real-world date.”
Weet would collect 30 percent of the restaurant ticket and daters would get to meet in a neutral public place prioritizing safety, making it a win-win for both, he noted.
Goyal, said the Cornell Chronicle, projected an ability for the app to generate $2.10 per active user per month, compared to an estimated $1.74 for Tinder.
To test the app among college students, Goyal plans to launch it at Brigham Young University, where he said more than half of undergraduates are married by the time they graduate.
“We welcome you all to stop eating,” Goyal told the publication, “and start Weeting.”