Business

Go Dutch founders hope to eliminate dating expectations

Olamide Bamidele, from left, Alysia Sargent and Alexandria Willis founded Go Dutch Today, an app that matches people based on profile preferences, recommends date venues and has them split the costs of a date. (Cheryl V. Jackson/Chicago Tribune/TNS)
Olamide Bamidele, from left, Alysia Sargent and Alexandria Willis founded Go Dutch Today, an app that matches people based on profile preferences, recommends date venues and has them split the costs of a date. (Cheryl V. Jackson/Chicago Tribune/TNS) TNS

A trio of Chicago women think they have a solution to any awkwardness linked to footing the bills for blind first dates.

Their Go Dutch Today mobile app removes expectations that men pay for dates and that women reciprocate with sex. The app is based on the idea that a couple split the cost of a date.

"Fellas, wouldn't it be nice to go out and not have to wonder if the girl sitting across from you is only there for something free and fun? Ladies, wouldn't it be nice to go out and order the surf and turf and not be expected ... to (have sex) right afterwards?" said Olamide Bamidele, one of the cofounders describing the winning app at the South Side Pitch recently at the Chicago Innovation Exchange. The competition was the second by the Institute for Justice Clinic on Entrepreneurship.

The app matches people based on profile preferences, recommends date venues and packages, and allows participants to rate each other.

The winning team received $2,500, a one-year membership at Chicago Innovation Exchange and a collaborative membership with Chicago Ideas.

The Go Dutch Today app, still in development and targeting ages 25-49, is expected to launch Nov. 1. It initially will work with South Side Chicago businesses that will promote specials though the app.

A couple will pay in advance and receive vouchers for their date.

A premium version of the app with a monthly fee would allow participants to view comments left by others who had connected with a potential date, said cofounder Alysia Sargent.

"It would be good to know if this person was looney; and you'd make a judgment on whether or not you'd want to see past that," Sargent said. "It's a great advantage. Someone who leverages our app and platform would be someone serious. They wouldn't want to go out on a date with someone who might have issues."

Sargent works on the business full time while partners Bamidele and Alexandria Willis also are analysts in the health care industry.

The team plans to expand the service to include double dates and group outings.

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