If you’ve ever wanted to bypass the superficiality of dating apps like Tinder (where many users are purely swiping based on looks), Jigsaw might be the solution you didn’t even know you were searching for; instead of placing emphasis on your profile picture, it offers a sort of Love Is Blind experience that showcases personality traits over physical appearance. (Yes, conversation is highly encouraged, which is kind of the whole point.)
While the app has been available in the UK for about a year, it only just hit the New York City area last month. “It’s a super strange time to be launching it, but we’ve been stuck in limbo for four or five months,” says Alex Durrant, CEO and Co-Founder.
And how long before that was the project in development? “The initial idea was back in early 2016; dating had become this big game of swiping left or right, just basically comparing and judging people,” Durrant says. That’s when he and his fellow Co-Founder, Max Adamski, decided they wanted to try to disrupt the pattern by shifting the focus back onto conversation.
After two and a half to three years of full time work, Durrant says they’ve “iterated Jigsaw to where it is today, which is something that obscures the face and reveals it piece by piece through conversation. We’ve positioned ourselves as a big ‘fuck you’ to the dating industry that’s just continued to become more and more superficial. We’re here to ruffle that up.”
(Screenshot from my Jigsaw profile. The irrational fear is v. real.)
So what else, besides the shift away from profile pictures as the main element of interest, sets Jigsaw apart? “There’s a lot of pressure to create a good bio with most dating apps, and I think a lot of people found that quite hard. We don’t ask for things like height, weight, ethnicity or things that are generally superficial, but we do have some great tags, as well as some Q&A templates and some in-app icebreakers to help showcase your personality as much as possible,” Durrant says.
Having taken the app for a spin, I can attest that the Q&A templates are a fun alternative to the dreaded elevator pitch; while you can still whip up a free-form paragraph or two to describe yourself, users can additionally (or instead) choose from prompts like “My most irrational fear is…”, “I’ll never do this again…”, “As a child I had posters of…” (the list goes on and on) and fill in the blanks from there.
The whole concept is fun and intriguing, even if a little “out there”; Durrant admits the concept sounds a bit crazy at first, but the success of the app in the UK stands as a testament to Jigsaw’s very real appeal. “A lot of people thought we were mad (and probably still do think we’re mad) for putting a jigsaw puzzle over everybody’s face, but what we managed to do in London was fantastic, and it set the foundations for launching in the US in 2020.”
And the roll-out is slated to continue to other major US cities like DC, Chicago, Boston and LA in the near future (like, by the end of this year near future), so if you’re based someplace besides NYC, be sure to keep your eyes peeled for Jigsaw’s release; it’s open to all, free (with a non-pushy premium option available) and available for Android and iOS.
Featured image via Jigsaw