Choose matches based on your sexual fantasies & fetishes

Waves is a Tinder-style dating app that promotes sex-positivity and prohibits kink-shaming by only showing potential matches who are comfortable with each other’s bedroom fantasies, preferences, and fetishes.
Would you recommend this product?
4 Reviews2.5/5
Hey guys! 👋 I'm Emerson, co-author of Waves. We started Waves out of problems that our friends faced with online dating. A friend of ours got choked by a guy she met on Tinder and did not enjoy it; filtering out incompatible matches and providing a space to openly talk about bedroom preferences allows us to open the (otherwise embarrassing) conversations early and to set our safety boundaries. With Waves, all the potential matches you see will be people filtered based on what you input. Likewise, you’ll only show up on the potential match list of those who are excited by your sexual tastes. It basically works like this: If you're into ropes, you put that in Waves, and all your potential matches are also people who are into ropes. We're hoping to create a judgement-free environment for sexual exploration and opens discussions around tastes before meeting with matches. Unlike the usual encounter: where the discussion happens in bed – when it’s both too late and embarrassing to bring up. Please do try us out and let us know of any feedback or suggestions!!! It's only available in the United States right now, and we'll keep you all updated! Thanks! Emerson
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@emerson_hsieh Are you able to weigh specific preferences? A user might be completely open to something specific but not be bothered by it if their partner is not, while something else is almost mandatory for them.
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While very different than Waves, this reminds me of an app that launched on Product Hunt long ago called Cuddlr. The app was solely focused on finding people to cuddle with. Read my friend @carmeldea's experience trying this out in I snuggled with a stranger using new app Cuddlr, and my fellow cuddlee had a gun.
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@carmeldea @rrhoover Ah yes, cuddling, second only to hand holding in the terrible scales of depravity.
@carmeldea @rrhoover Hey Ryan, thanks for the feedback! We definitely drew a lot of inspiration from dating apps for finding what you're looking for. I can also see the connection with Cuddlr. There have been a couple of apps for different fetishes, but many remain on the fringe. We're hoping to change that with Waves with a different UX and design!
@rrhoover @morris_hsieh The app reminds me of "Feeld" more than Cuddlr! Feeld, despite a kinda sucky UX, isn't 'on the fringe' for most alternate romance/sexuality communities....it's pretty well-known. WDYT of Feeld @Morris_Hsieh?
"Unlike a regular meeting: where the discussion takes place in bed - when it is too late and embarrassing to raise." - usually, of course, the situation when you first meet in bed ...
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The idea is surely interesting. I am waiting for the Android version so can't yet check it out. Do you already have a user-base, and how do you ensure to launch with enough users to sustain it?
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I appreciate the intent of this app, but the effort falls way short of its ambitions. This feels like a rushed MVP intended to gauge interest, rather than a serious effort with $200K of YC money behind it. I hesitate to be so negative because I understand this is someone's baby, but it's rare that an app leaves me angry after I've signed up, and Waves does. It serves a cautionary example of how not respecting your audience with a level of execution and refinement can harm your brand, threaten your efforts, and ultimately may rob you of your shot at solving the problem you need to have fallen in love with. I think my biggest skepticism is whether an app is actually the right model for this kind of service — because, as a two-sided marketplace, there needs to be inventory... i.e. people looking to connect with other people who share similar sexual interests. The more you express your preferences, the more you limit the pool of potential matches such that you're more than likely to end up with ZERO potential matches if you're too specific, yet that's exactly what this app is promising (i.e. be as specific your sexual interests as possible). In my case, I was quite broad in setting preferences (knowing about the funnel problem I just described) and yet the few candidate matches shown to me were anywhere from 10-30 miles away! Given that I'm (right now) in the Bay Area and this is a YC app, it deeply concerns me that there seems to so few people using this app already... It's no wonder so many other dating/hook up apps are rife with bots... getting people to register, sign up, and participate is hard — especially if you don't provide a meaningful match quickly. And so I'm confused how Waves intends to grow its userbase when the initial implementation is so poorly executed. Oh, and one more thing: when you tap the button to "Live chat with Waves founders!", it loads a page in the app that reads "Tap on the icon on the bottom right corner to chat with us when the page finishes loading!", but no icon ever appears.
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@chrismessina Chris, thank you so much for the detailed response. While I definitely do understand that our product looks like a rushed product that falls short of expectations coming out of a YC company, we did pivot in the middle of our batch and worked day and night continuously to launch our product. We did it based off of the spirit of launching things quickly to then iterate based off of feedback, and we are continuing to do so now. Having the YC investment so far does not mean we were spending all of them immediately on additional programmers to polish up our entire product. While that's definitely what we'll be considering in the future, given the intensity at which we're working now (with participating in YC and having demo day soon), hiring, or spending much more than we already are really isn't something we can spare our attention to. Our current team includes just me and my brother, along with a few friends who are helping out with design input and publicity. Despite that, it doesn't mean that we didn't put effort in it, or that it's meant to be done in an unprofessional manner. We held onto the thoughts about launching when there is a "quantum of utility", and there certainly has been, given that there already has been matches being made, and conversations being held. The Waves app was not built to gauge reaction or interest. We started building it after we received enough interest from our numerous interviews, something we've learned to do after pivoting a few times during the batch on products that nobody cared for. (instead of building first, validate later) I understand the frustration with having a low number of potential matches. It is a part of the idea for why we've designed our product this way. The lower number of potential matches should be offset by the quality and compatibility of the individual matches showing up, hence filtering by your sexual preferences (there will be other options added into the future beyond that.) That, even though there might not be many, knowing that they're into whatever you like is a pretty big kick. Onto the point about users. We only launched yesterday, so we apologize for the lower amount of matches that you can find. My brother and I are working hard to get more users within the Bay Area, in addition to developing the app further. We are already getting a concentrated number of users in the Bay Area. Would you mind outlining where the problem with having matches within a 10-30 mile radius lie? In our experiences with other dating apps, that distance isn't generally a problem for them. If you're in SF, then it's likely that the ones you're looking at are from Berkeley or the South Bay. The preferences that we included are among the most common ones people experience, while we are concerned about fragmenting the userbase by including lots of options, there should still be overlapping preferences for many users. Despite that, we're being mindful of adding more customizability options, and are definitely open to suggestions to change our matching algorithms. Do you have any suggestions for that? Thank you, Morris
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