Dating app Filteroff brings its community-based dating app to the Art Dubai festival this month, which covers art from over 100 galleries and 40 countries.
Apps such as Filteroff, Tinder, OKCupid, or the Islamic-oriented muzmatch, are a challenge to traditional matches in Arab society where families tend to arrange marriages.
Instead, these apps offer lonely hearts an array of potential partners, all just a swipe away.
New York-based Filteroff is new to the Gulf dating scene as a sponsor of Art Dubai, from March 11 to 13.
Filteroff says it differs from other dating apps because it is based around events, meaning that people looking for romance can find each other according to mutual interests, such as art, music, hobbies or even religion.
“You create your profile and then you can choose from many available virtual events, which could be arts-based, or related to a festival or a holiday,” co-founder and CEO Zach Schleien told Arab News.
He added: “Then, once you RSVP and confirm you’ll be there, we schedule you up to 10 video speed dates, which last about three minutes each to break the ice.
“Once each date concludes, we ask if you like each other. Then you go on to your next date. When the event ends, you see if you have any matches. If you do, you can then message or video chat with those matches.”
The CEO said that Filteroff takes a more community-based approach to dating, in contrast to the endless swiping of most apps. This, combined with the fact that potential matches are filtered and selected by Filteroff, means that scammers are prevented — at least to some extent — from hiding behind fake profiles.
Schleien launched Filteroff in February 2020 and said the firm was boosted by the pandemic, given that most events around the world at the height of the health crisis had to be held online.
Co-founder Brian Weinreich came on board in October of the same year, and the two succeeded in raising $2.4 million (SR9 million) in seed financing in 2021.
The lead investor was “a well-known beverage company” along with several angel investors, all ex-employees of Airbnb, Tinder and Google Schleien said.
He added: “That investment is all going toward marketing and people. Building out our team — which is presently three — and really accelerating our growth.”
Filteroff’s business model is based on two income streams.
Schleien said: “We have a paid matchmaking service. Our matchmakers will match you with up to four people every day, based on your preferences. And you can also create your own event and sell tickets, and Filteroff receives a commission on the ticket sales.”
The company will not reveal its number of active users, but according to Schleien, it has run over 10,000 virtual events.
He also claimed that “our match rate is about two-and-a-half times higher than Tinder.” Filteroff says its users match about 23 percent of the time.
With Tinder the match rate is about 0.6 percent among men, according to a 2016 study from Queen Mary University of London in the UK, while women are more selective, getting a match rate of 10 percent.
Schleien added: “Filteroff provides a video-first experience and that’s what leads to higher metrics.”
This has resulted in six marriages to date, Schleien claims — one of which was covered by the New York Times.
“We’re now introducing Filteroff to the Gulf region with the Art Dubai event,” Schleien said. “We see the Gulf as a region where telecommunications infrastructure has really improved. And I think the Gulf region aligns with our brand in terms of family and community values.”
However, critics might argue that dating apps of any kind undermine local traditions, where marriages tend to bring two families together in a planned fashion, as opposed to two people meeting by chance and falling in love.
Schleien countered that Filteroff is more of a platonic introduction service without the instant hookup encouraged by other dating apps.
“With Filteroff it doesn’t have to be romantic,” Schleien said. “It could just be a monogamous friendship. Our platform is all about connecting you with other humans.”
RIYADH: The Muscat Stock Exchange has announced raising the limits of foreign ownership in joint stock companies to 100 percent, as part of its completion of the technical requirements to access emerging markets.
The decision to raise the percentage of foreign investment in public companies is one of the most important steps to include the market in global emerging market indices, Oman’s bourse CEO told CNBC Arabia.
The move has increased the percentage of investments available to foreigners by 78 percent, Haitham bin Salem Al Salmi added, noting that foreign trading represents 14.5 percent of the total trading in the Muscat Stock Exchange.
In addition, Oman plans to list 35 state-owned companies in the next five years, with a focus on listing one or two firms from the oil sector during the current year, CNBC Arabia reported citing the bourse’s CEO.
RIYADH: Saudi stocks closed lower on Sunday as Russia’s war in Ukraine caused stock markets to sway.
The main index, TASI, closed 0.62 percent lower at 12,605 points, while the parallel market, Nomu, shed 0.60 percent to 24,640.
AlJazira REIT climbed 3.83 percent to lead the gainers, while Malath Cooperative Insurance Co. slipped 5.58 percent to lead the tumblers.
As for the financial sector, Al Rajhi Bank and Alinma Bank were down by 0.13 percent and 0.73 percent, respectively.
Shares of Saudi Aramco, the largest player on the Saudi oil market, declined 2.80 percent.
Saudi Advanced Industries Co. gained 0.60 percent, as its profits tripled to SR91 million ($24 million) in 2021.
Though it opened with a gain, Elm Co. closed with a decline of 2.16 percent, despite recording an increase in profit of 85 percent in 2021.
Energy prices remained unchanged since the opening bell, with Brent crude trading at $112.67 per barrel and WTI at $109.33 per barrel.
RIYADH: The publicly-listed Eastern Province Cement Company’s 2021 profits dropped by 7 percent to SR201 million ($54 million), a bourse filing revealed.
Profits fell from SR217 million a year earlier, even as revenues inched 2 percent higher, it said.
The company attributed the results to lower income from investments, higher losses from asset write-offs, and increased Zakat expenses.
Despite lower annual profits, the company has proposed the distribution of SR94.6 million in half-year dividends. Shareholders will receive SR1.1 per share, according to the filing.
Cement producers across the Kingdom are witnessing a downturn in profits for 2021 driven by a drop in selling prices.
RIYADH: The Saudi Real Estate Refinance Company, a wholly-owned company of the Public Investment Fund, has signed a joint agreement with Saudi National Bank to sell a real estate financing portfolio worth SR1 billion ($270 million).
The agreement aims to refinance the portfolio to provide long-term liquidity to the Saudi home financing market and facilitate risk management in the sector.
Majed Al Ghamdi, chief executive officer of retail at Saudi National Bank, said this agreement is the largest bank financing in Saudi Arabia to date.
He also noted that the agreement will help provide housing finance solutions for Saudi families.
Fabrice Susini, chief executive officer of SRC, asserted that the company continues to expand its partnerships with originators to boost the rate of Saudi homeownership to 70 percent by 2030 in line with the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 initiative.
MOSCOW: Despite the ongoing conflict, Russian gas transit via Ukraine to the EU remained largely unaffected — just 6 percent off the 2021 levels.
The Russian natural gas flows into Ukraine’s gas transmission system remained steady at a daily average 107.4 million cubic meter from Feb. 24 through March 11, data posted on the website of Ukraine’s Gas Transmission System Operator, also known as GTSOU, showed.
Since Feb. 24, when fighting between the Russian and Ukrainian forces began, the average daily inflows of Russian gas jumped 80 percent.
It is interesting to note that the supply of Russian gas into Ukraine’s gas system during the first two months of 2022 had fallen to 59.7 million cm, or 48 percent below the average flows in 2021.
In 2021, the average daily flows of Russian gas to Ukraine’s gas system were 114.1 million cm.
As for Russian gas transit figures, from Feb. 24 through March 11, average daily outflows from Ukraine’s gas transmission into EU and Moldova totaled 106.2 million cm, 177 percent more as compared to the period between Jan.1 and Feb. 23, 2022.
Slovakia — via a cross-border point at Uzhgorod — 81.0 million cm
Moldova 18.4 million cm
Romania 4.9 million cm
Hungary 1.85 million cm
The pipeline capacity booked for transit of Russian gas for the next two days — March 12 and March 13 — are little changed from the past few days, GTSOU data showed.
Russia’s Gazprom ships part of its gas supplies to Europe via Ukraine based on a “ship-or-pay” transit deal that provides for Gazprom’s obligation to ship 40 billion cm of natural gas per annum via Ukraine.