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A closer look at the new breed of elite dating apps designed for the super wealthy

Elite dating platforms are now unashamedly catering to the super wealthy.

By LLM Reporters  |  October 20, 2021
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Once upon a time, finding a life partner was something left entirely to chance – and an encounter at a champagne bar, high-profile event or even your favourite high-end supermarket would have often led to lasting love. But fast forward to today – a time when we have just spent 18 months of our lives living in intermittent lockdowns, and when face-to-face meetings have been at an all-time low, and no longer do the opportunities present themselves quite as readily as they once did.

Add to that the hectic nature of our fast-paced, always-on lifestyles that see us regularly spending more time behind our screens than we do socialising irrespective of the ongoing pandemic, and it’s perhaps unsurprising that the ways in which we look to meet potential loves has changed, with online dating offering a fast, no-fuss way to sift through the options and find out who might be a match, whilst quickly weeding out those with little potential for compatibility.

But while the idea of online dating has always been to simplify the pursuit of love, many argue that it has, in fact, done quite the opposite. Individuals now find themselves faced with a bewildering array of options – not just in the search for a suitor, but in the apps and tools they use to do so. And for high-net-worth individuals, the idea of exposing themselves so publicly online via some of the UK’s most prolific platforms – like Tinder and Bumble, both of which have millions of users globally – can feel unnerving, never mind fruitless.

Mainstream dating apps like these certainly serve a purpose, but for those looking for a specific kind of person, they can feel overwhelming. So it’s perhaps little wonder that, over recent years, we’ve seen a flurry of more niche platforms popping up in a bid to cater to those looking to meet like-minded souls without spending hours swiping through unsuitable candidates, all to no avail.

dating app
Premium dating platforms like Toffee, The Inner Circle and The League have cashed in on the growing trend for elite apps

In particular, we’ve seen a rise in the number of elite platforms designed to meet the needs of the wealthy, highly-educated and in some cases, even the famous – where discretion is key, and a strict set of criteria must be met in order to be accepted as a user.

These ‘millionaire matchmaking’ services certainly serve a purpose, but there is no denying their controversy. Luxy is one of those to have raised the most eyebrows, touting itself as ‘Tinder, minus the poor people’ – and screens users based on factors including whether or not they were privately schooled, the industry they work in, and even their bank balance. In 2018, marketing manager Rafael Krause told the Financial Times that the platform had “been profitable since its first year of operation” and that at that time, already had more than two million users, and it’s a number that has continued to grow.

Premium dating platforms like Toffee, The Inner Circle and The League have also cashed in on the growing trend for elite apps like this, with would-be users required to undergo a similar process before being accepted. But others, like the Sugar Daddy website – which classes itself as ‘the world’s number one upscale dating site’, have taken a different stance, seeking out young and attractive women to match up with its catalogue of high-net-worth and ultra-high-net-worth men, facilitating a mutually beneficial relationship where both parties know exactly what they are signing up for.

While such services might seem distasteful to some, there’s no denying that there is a demand for them. For the wealthy, it’s an easy way to vet potential matches before meeting in person, and to orchestrate a potential relationship on their own terms whilst shrouded in privacy and exclusivity – which in an age of ever-increasing cybercrime and scams both online and off, is now more important to them than ever.

dating app
These ‘millionaire matchmaking’ services certainly serve a purpose, but there is no denying their controversy

On average, only 10-15 percent of those who apply for this new breed of elitist dating platform are accepted, with Luxy claiming that more than half of its active members make upwards of £400,000 a year. It does, of course, beg the question as to whether money takes precedence here over finding real love, but ultimately it’s a case of ‘each to their own’.

And apps like ‘The Inner Circle’ take this concern more seriously, taking a different approach to matching up wealthy individuals by organising social gatherings – think polo tournaments, art exhibitions and champagne receptions. In doing so, it has managed to successfully retain an element of the old-school way of dating and meeting potential love, allowing users to seek out potential matches online but letting the next steps run their course in a more authentic, real-life setting.

So could this be the perfect formula for finding love for the wealthy? It certainly seems like a better approach for those looking for a long-term relationship, or even to find a life partner. But even so, the demand for the likes of Luxy, Sugar Daddy and similar services remains at an all-time high.

In 2021, it seems, there are no rules when it comes to seeking out that next date, but one thing is for certain. The pursuit of love has moved firmly into the digital age, and that next potential match is only ever a few swipes away.