Let’s get this first part out of the way so you can share it with your non-millennial friends/family:
Bae – Popular term used by millennials to describe a significant other
Cuffing Season – the coldest months of the year when you and bae go into Netflix and Chill hibernation
The busy schedules we have as millennials make dating hard. Often we’re forced to juggle school, work, family, friends and travel, and we simply can’t find the time for it. Dating services are fixing this by helping us find people quickly through technology, but most of these sites aren’t made for black millennials like us…until now. CEO Brian Gerrard and his team launched Bae :: Before Anyone Else, a dating/social app for our community to help you find your bae.
Brian was inspired by his friends’ negative experiences using mainstream dating apps. They couldn’t find anyone who looked like them or anyone who they’d be interested in. He and his co-founders Justin Gerrard and Jordan Kunzika started Bae to create a more fulfilling dating experience. They launched this summer and Brian says they have one goal, “creating experiences that allow members of our community to easily and seamlessly find their bae.”
How Bae works is simple. You download it for free on iPhone or Android and quickly login. First-time users are encouraged to add profile pictures and an “about me” section to have the best chance for a match. Bae’s algorithm allows you to use the app limitlessly until your first match. “Bae is learning who you are and what type of people you are into the first time you use it. After you get your first match, we give you 30 yes/right swipes, and unlimited no/left swipes every eight hours. It’s that easy and once you get a match, you can start chatting” says Brian.
Bae launched at Howard University and has been growing quickly since, with over 100,000 downloads and 20,000 matches. Although the founders didn’t attend Howard, they’ve returned that love by hosting HBCU college tours and alumni events to do something that you don’t see many other dating services do — cultivating the community in the real world. That’s not the only way Bae is doing more. There’s also a blog and podcast hosted by Madison Shockley, aka “Fred” from Awkward Black Girl, talking about love, sex and relationships (check it out on their content site).
As first-time founders, Brian, Jordan and Justin have had great success thus far. The team attributes much of their success to who they are and what they stand for. For example, unlike other black dating apps, the Bae founders are African-American and know that their consumer cares about supporting black businesses. The team has been recognized as a Rising Star with Techstars, featured by Black Enterprise’s Modern Men and (arguably most essential) they are raising their initial funding. The team is fully committed to Bae‘s success. Brian has left his job as a consultant and Justin and Jordan have left school to focus on the business full-time. Brian reflects on his time running a startup, “Running a startup in many ways is like building and maintaining a car — our CTO (Jordan) is the engine who powers us, our CMO (Justin) is the design and look, and as CEO I manage which direction we’re going [in] with the wheels.”
On a personal note, my time using Bae has been great! I’ve had a lot of great matches and connected with people right here in NYC. The Bae team created a really well-developed app and cultivated a community that is as heterogeneous as the people that are attracted to it. With that said, you should probably be downloading Bae to help you find yours. As the Bae team says, “Choose, Get Chose!”