In our modern days, relationships are getting more complex than ever. Life is so busy, and finding your perfect match is not an easy mission, at least this is what the founders of Harmonica think. Harmonica; a mobile application that helps people find a serious relationship that will lead to a happy wedding. It was founded by a group of young people who decided something needs to be done about this difficult equation. We interviewed Shaymaa Ali, one of the co-founders, and here is what she said.
Tell us about Harmonica and how it works?
I am one of Harmonica’s co-founders and Head of Public Relations. We are four founders: Sameh Saleh, Tamer Saleh, Aly Khaled and myself. I studied Geochemistry Science and worked for 12 years in the Bibliotheca Alexandrina till I met Sameh two years ago and we established Harmonica in April 2017. It is a mobile application that helps single Muslims find their life-partner safely and securely. By the end of 2019, we celebrated the acquisition of Harmonica to be part of the giant internet company “Match Group” that owns more than 40 dating apps around the world like Tinder and Hinge. Being part of MG will help us solve the marriage problem in Egypt, and expand to do that in other regions in the future.
What inspired you to start a marriage app?
As an Egyptian girl, I already struggled a lot until I found my life partner and I got married at 31. Before that, I went through arranged marriages, online dating, and friends’ suggestions and I know how difficult it is. At the same time Sameh Saleh – Harmonica’s founder – was planning to find a solution for the same problem. Sameh believed that technology could facilitate meaningful relationships and empower singles to meet their future life partners. When he introduced the idea of Harmonica to me, I was so excited to join the team and start working on it. We built it with our sisters, cousins, and friends in mind.
Why do you think some people need a marriage application?
Finding a life partner is a big decision and we believe that using Harmonica is the smartest way for our time. We believe that technology can facilitate meaningful relationships, but there were no products serving more conservative cultural norms. That is why we made Harmonica, to fit their needs.
Are most of your users men or women?
The ratio between men and women on Harmonica changes from time to time, but we do have huge appeal from women who trust Harmonica and love to use it.
What is the average age of the users?
The average age of users is between 24 to 35. Those are the majority of the users on Harmonica, but we also have users below and above that range.
Is there a minimum or a maximum age to use the app?
The minimum age is 21.
Have you had success stories of marriage?
Yes, we have had many success stories since the first month. Till now we receive many thanking messages every week!
How is your application different from other dating and matchmaking apps?
Actually, we position Harmonica as a high-intent application that helps men and women find their life partner in a serious way for marriage. That is why we make sure that we have a pool of serious users and we make sure that our users have real profiles, with real photos and information. We also have the “Exclusive Conversation” that is a unique feature on Harmonica that allows a couple to get into an exclusive conversation so they can’t talk to other users on the app, for the sake of the seriousness of the relationship.
Please explain the questions and algorithms that help users find their match and how did you develop it?
Our algorithm works by finding the best matches for the user based on basic information collected during onboarding. Example for our questions are “Do you support working women?”, “Do you agree to share with your husband the house expenses?”, “Would you have kids direct after marriage or wait for some years?” and so on.
What are the taboos and stigmas you hear from people who learn about Harmonica?
People used to have negative feelings towards online dating as other apps didn’t provide serious rules towards fake profiles. That is why in Harmonica we do our best to prove that it is different and is helping them find real serious people who share the same interests and values.
How is Harmonica different from the “El Khatba” concept that existed in Egypt in the past?
El Khatba was a woman who knows some families in a very small circle and introduces singles through sharing photos and some shallow information. That old way doesn’t suit our modern generation anymore. Harmonica empowers single youth to search for their life partner by themselves, go deep through suggested profiles to read more information about each suggested partner, see their photos and start a conversation to see if they are comfortable or not and to know each other more. Harmonica uses the most advanced algorithm and matching technique that are the future of marriage.
Tell us about the data privacy of the users and how do you protect it?
Our users’ safety and security are one of our main concerns. For chat and messages, we use the most advanced technology used by world-class apps to encrypt all the information of our users in our own database. As for the photos, we do not allow taking screenshots, and girls can also blur their photos and show them only to the partners they choose.
Do you think that online applications are a more fit way to meet your perfect match than the usual ways?
We are so close to 2020, and Online Apps are used in all our life fields. It is time to use them the right way to solve the problem of finding the right life partner. Harmonica is the future of marriage in the region.