Born from a long-lasting friendship, the Switch Dating app takes a unique approach to modern app-based dating with a unique twist—embracing the power of audio. Corey Staples and Kiana Mincey are co-founders of the audio-based dating app, Switch.
The story of Staples and Mincey’s friendship and business relationship began during their shared experiences in middle and high schools. There they bonded over basketball and track. This friendship deepened as they competed in track and field events, even achieving state championships together for Buford High School. The pair remained close following graduation.
From there both would attend college separately, Staples graduated from the University of Florida with a Bachelors of Science in Telecommunications and later earned a Masters of Science from Florida Agricultural & Mechanical University (FAMU). Mincey graduated from Kennesaw State University with a Bachelors of Science Communications in Media Studies and Masters of Arts in Integrated Global Communication.
Mincey secured a job in Connecticut at ESPN and her time there exposed the limitations of existing dating apps. She found that her experience with dating apps was emphasizing superficial interactions over genuine connections. Concurrently, Staples was pursuing a career in sports broadcasting merged with her interest in tech and app development. This convergence sparked their vision to create a dating app prioritizing authentic conversations and meaningful bonds.
In early 2021, Mincey found herself exploring uncharted territory. “When 2021 started I had, you know, I was just really thinking about different apps,” Mincey said.
Her idea took shape as a response to her own experiences. “I really wasn’t on dating apps before that. I tried dating apps and I had like three or four at the time, and all of them were just garbage,’ Mincey explained.
Mincey frustration with the lack of meaningful connections and the cumbersome process of setting up in-person meetings was difficult. However, an unexpected encounter with a live audio platform, Clubhouse, turned the tide. “I found myself at 3:45 in the morning, still in these chat rooms, because I’m just really enjoying connecting and networking with people,” she shared.
This revelation marked the beginning of her journey to create the Switch Dating app, a platform centered around genuine conversations, bridging the gap she identified in the dating app landscape.
Mincey roped in her childhood friend, Staples, who is the company’s co-founder and COO. Together they sought expertise in app development and design. Designli, a design firm located in South Carolina, yielded a prototype that materialized their concept. However, they soon parted ways due to financial considerations, leading them to an unforeseen ally, Isaac Hayes III.
Hayes III, the CEO of Fanbase, offered an unexpected source of inspiration and guidance. His parallel journey in app development echoed their aspirations. Through diligent research, Corey and Kiki discovered ConsultR, Isaac’s chosen design firm, presenting the potential to actualize their vision.
Continuing their relationship with ConsultR, Staples and Mincey are now on the cusp of launching a crowdfunding campaign via Startengine, the public crowdfunding investment platform to secure a $1 million dollar raise.
Never wavering from the course, the founders did find their share of problems as startup founders.
“We are Black female founders and in the market in general, any market when you’re starting in business as a Black founder, especially as a Black woman, it’s very challenging. A lot of people think that Black founders that have businesses it’s automatically assumed by a majority of the market that this product or whatever it may be is for only for black people,” Mincey told The Atlanta Voice.
Seemingly, standing out in the dating app culture when Hinge and Tinder are already recognizable in the public zeitgeist would be difficult, but Mincey and Staples believe that Switch offers something that other dating apps can’t compete with.
“People have Hinge, Tinder and Bumble, right? So it’s not that daunting to think that we’re going against these big names, because at the end of the day, they’re going to have what they’re used to, but they’re going to want to try something new,” Staples told The Atlanta Voice.
Holding this steadfast belief staples continued that people already keep multiple or similar apps on their phones already and that the freshness of Switch will make them stand out in the marketplace.
“We know what we have is so different that people are going to be incentivized to want to download it and try something new just because people have multiple dating apps on their phone. But what we have is different and what we’re offering is different. So I wouldn’t say that in any of the slightest Kiki (Kiana’s nickname) and I have ever been or felt challenged by what they have going on. We’re in our own lane,” Staples told The Atlanta Voice