ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Artificial intelligence is being used by a couple of local entrepreneurs to help break the ice in online dating.
A new app, called WingAI, is using software like ChatGPT to create flirty and witty opening lines for people to use on dating apps.
In a St. Petersburg coffee shop, Tyler Henkel and Ricardo Mejia never could have imagined a chance encounter would lead to a budding business.
“We were just both working on our own projects and then bumped into each other and realized that we had a connection through coding,” Henkel, CEO of WingAI, said.
The connection sparked a partnership where they wanted to create something new using technology that’s grown in popularity since it was introduced — ChatGPT.
“AI has gotten so conversational at this point that you can really teach it to do incredible things,” Henkel said.
This bit of artificial intelligence was a great template but the question for Henkel and Mejia became how could they utilize it?
Then it hit them.
“I’ve experimented with using dating apps in the past and I realized that there’s really a skill that you have to learn to message people on these apps,” Henkel said.
And most of the time, they found out, men would message women basic things but nothing of real substance.
“I wanted to try to build something that would make it easier for guys to get started to get the conversation rolling,” Henkel said.
After months of work, WingAI was born, named after a person having a wingman to get a conversation started with someone they’re interested in.
“We thought having an AI helper that just does that for you, that can be that friend that gives you like an idea or something that that is the perfect fit for us,” Henkel said.
It works like this: you take a screenshot of a person’s bio, maybe a picture they might have, or a piece of text. You upload it to WingAI and in a matter of seconds, it comes out with a flirty sentence to send to that person.
“There’s a cat in her photo that she’s a cat lady and like she’s a nerd or something like that,” Henkel said while demonstrating the app. “So, it says: ‘Books, art and cats. You just described the world’s quickest retirement home.’”
He says it took some time for them to perfect the playful responses from the app but now it does them with pretty much any template that’s screenshot.
“It’ll come up with something from that text,” Henkel said. “But even if there’s, like, just an image, it actually can work from there.”
“There are so many tools that make your life so much easier and your process a lot quicker,” said Mejia.
This is why even though the first edition of the app was launched in February they’ve already received funding offers.
They have not accepted any offers, though, still wanting to improve the app.
“I’m a very technical person,” Mejia said, “so kind of made sense to go that direction.”
Henkel says people have responded positively.
“It’s really cool for us to see it having a real impact on people’s lives and making their lives better by allowing them to have that connection with another person,” Henkel said.
Right now, WingAI is available in the Apple app store and online through its website.
You can use it for free up to 15 times, then it costs about $6 per week to use after that.