New app Rendezvous aims to cut the pre-chat, get dating

A pair of enterprising Kiwis has launched a dating app which aims to cut boring small talk and get people meeting in person.

Wellington-based Jessica Smith and Elliot Riley are trying to shake up the millennial dating scene with their newly launched service Rendezvous.

Currently available to people living in Auckland, Hamilton, Wellington, Christchurch or Dunedin, the dating process starts with a message to the Rendezvous Facebook page.

It acts as a chatbot which asks you a number of questions about your availability and gender preference, before taking that information and pairing you up with other single-pringles in the area.

If you're both free at the same time, the bot will set you up on a date at a well-known local bar or restaurant.

A chat option will open up an hour before the date so those who run chronically late can message to say their car has broken down and they're on their way in an Uber.

After the date, the app will ask for feedback on the other person - and you can let it know whether they were a no-show, a complete psycho, or just a really nice guy aged 22-35, with a hot body, great humour, ambition, and a stable career.

The idea was conceived by Ms Smith and Mr Riley in November last year with help from Europe-based technical co-founder James McCann.

"What it's really about is making sure people get to know one another in person rather than through a screen," says Ms Smith.

This may sound terrifying to some, but she says there are options for users based on their confidence levels.

"You can choose to take a plus-one if you like... You can also choose a go-blind option which removes both their photo and your photo so the first time you see each other is in person."

Depending on how well the app is received, the trio hopes to expand the number of areas it's available in.

"Our first goal is just to get people using it," says Mr Riley, whose day job is working in dispute resolution.

"Once we're able to put together a business case we will start considering our options around expanding and will need to do some fundraising."

That business case could include shares for investors, signing deals with bars and restaurants and expanding beyond main centres.

He says a June trial helped to iron out some technical issues, but the majority of feedback was positive.

"We're really looking forward to hearing what people think... We've collectively invested hundreds of hours in this idea and there is a lot of potential, but in the end it comes down to whether people want to use it."