The Inner Circle: A Selective Dating App Fosters a Growing Community of Young & Successful Professionals

Online Dating

The Inner Circle: A Selective Dating App Fosters a Growing Community of Young & Successful Professionals

Amber Brooks Amber Brooks
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The Short Version: Swiping through incompatible profiles day after day can be frustrating. The online dating scene bombards users with endless choices when what they really need is a way to filter out the flakes and fakes so they can focus on matches who are actually quality relationship material. That’s why The Inner Circle implemented groundbreaking vetting tools to ensure everyone on this Europe-based dating app would make a first-rate date. The dating app grew organically through real-life social networks until it had an international presence with nearly 1 million members around the world. What’s more, the Inner Circle frequently hosts members-only parties in big cities, including New York, London, and Amsterdam, to build a sense of community among the young professionals in the area. Whether you’re looking to expand your social network or land an attractive date, you can send in an application to join The Inner Circle to increase your likelihood of meeting someone on your level.

Launched in 2013, The Inner Circle is dating app designed to raise the caliber of online daters by using an innovating vetting system to keep out the riffraff. Instead of opening its network to anyone with an internet connection, The Inner Circle only lets in singles who have been approved by the team.

Co-Founders David Vermeulen and Michael Krayenhoff wanted to make it easier for highly successful and attractive singles in to meet one another, and so they used their own social networks to grow its membership in Amsterdam and throughout Europe. The Inner Circle grew organically as people told their friends and family members about the app’s selective enrollment process. In 2017, the app crossed the pond and began attracting attention in big cities in the US. Within its first three months in the US, it saw over 32,000 sign-ups.

Today, The Inner Circle has nearly 1 million members around the world and is preparing to expand its global network in Australia, India, and Turkey in the coming months.

Screenshot of The Inner Circle

The Inner Circle facilitates quality dating by personally vetting its members.

The Inner Circle is one of the few dating platforms to prioritize quality over quantity in its membership. The dating team personally approves each new member and thus ensures that everyone online is genuinely a good catch.

“We’re a bootstrapped company. Because we’re all self-funded, we’ve always been able to work from an ethical business model,” said Nichi Hodgson, Communications and PR Manager for the Inner Circle. “That approach has been massively helpful in terms of growing the community and taking care of our members, so we’re really proud of that.”

A Valuable Tool for Building Social & Romantic Connections

The Inner Circle offers singles an elite club where they can mingle with people of their ilk. You can submit an application to join The Inner Circle online or via the app (available on iTunes and Google Play). You’ll be placed on a waiting list until a team member personally reviews your profile and deems it appropriate for the site. New members must demonstrate their authenticity by connecting via Facebook and uploading a profile picture that shows only their face.

Screenshot of the dashboard on The Inner Circle

A majority of members on The Inner Circle are single professionals in their 20s and 30s.

Once you officially join, you can see members connected to your social network either directly or through mutual friends. The Inner Circle adds a level of trust among members by letting them know they’re part of a real community of people they know.

“The matches come through a tangible network,” Nichi said. “You can see through Facebook who’s connected to you — maybe you know someone or know someone who knows someone — and that creates confidence with people.”

The app has the usual liking, photo browsing, and messaging features, but it also adds a few worldly tools for travelers looking for a date. Members aren’t restricted to their own areas — they can search for matches or attend events anywhere in the world. The unique travel-friendly tools cater to working professionals who find themselves flying all around the world for work. Thanks to The Inner Circle, you can find friends and dates no matter where you go.

The Inner Circle also allows members to post what their Favorite Spots — restaurants, bars, bookstores, and other hangouts — for a first date are, so singles don’t have to stress too much when proposing a first date. “It’s a more casual way to arrange to meet with someone,” Nichi said. “It really benefits shy daters and again emphasizes that community feel we’re going for.”

Members-Only Events Offer an Efficient & Casual Dating Experience

The Inner Circle’s team keeps a close eye on the app’s community and the type of people joining. Nichi told us the average age of members is around 30. She characterized the average user as a young professional seeking a relationship. “They tend to be people who are doing well. They’re committed to their careers, passionate about their work,” she said. “They really prize the community aspect of The Inner Circle.”

Photo of an event organized by The Inner Circle

The Inner Circle allows members to see who’s going to upcoming events so they can start mingling ahead of time.

Members tend to live in big cities and cultural hubs, including New York, Los Angeles, London, Paris, Milan, Toronto, Madrid, and Singapore, and The Inner Circle frequently hosts members-only events in some of its most active cities.

“We really want to be involved with the daters,” Nichi said. “We’re people-centered, not tech-centered.”

The Inner Circle’s monthly events include low-key housewarming parties and all-out evening galas. You could stop by a bar for drinks or get tickets to a musical festival. In keeping with The Inner Circle’s mantra of quality over quantity, all events are exclusive opportunities for select members to meet one another in person. These events often sell out so be sure to check the calendar and get your tickets ahead of time.

Whether you’re interested in attending a dating workshop or a rooftop party, The Inner Circle does its best to put its members in an environment where they can excel. “It’s a cool, efficient way of meeting new people,” Nichi said. “You can even message other members and send them an invite.”

Responsible for 100+ Weddings & 40+ Babies Being Born

Over the years, The Inner Circle has helped countless singles take their dating experiences up a notch and make worthwhile connections. The app is responsible for over 100 engagements and weddings and over 40 babies being born. The team has a Baby Wall in the Amsterdam office where they tack up photos of children sent to them by members who met via their app.

“It’s a nice reminder of what we’re doing at our job,” Nichi said, “and what we’re working for.”

“It’s a brilliant idea for me that they actually do some filtering instead of letting everyone join. It is inner circle indeed.” — Ching Ching Li, member of The Inner Circle

Nichi described the team as a tight-knit group of 10 people motivated by a desire to bring more love and happiness into the world. Although they come from all different backgrounds — in marketing, therapy, social work, event management — they all share a quality-driven and people-oriented mentality. They never lose sight of the mission of The Inner Circle to bring people together in person and online.

These savvy dating experts are always available to give advice. Some have conversations with members at events while other team members go online to give dating tips or explain how to use the app. “We have so many people on the ground being helpful,” Nichi said, “so we find out much quicker what the user experience is and can incorporate that back into the app.”

Together, this passionate team is revolutionizing the dating world by making it more enjoyable and efficient from start to finish.

The Inner Circle Raises the Bar for Singles Around the World

What began in Amsterdam as a thought experiment among discerning singles has now become an international dating platform with thousands of success stories to its name. The Inner Circle has empowered high-quality singles to meet one another in a more selective manner. Through its user-friendly online tools and exclusive local events, the dating app has established a thriving community of young professionals around the world.

The Inner Circle’s ultimate goal is to make it easier for busy and successful professionals to build relationships with someone on their level. Since its launch in 2013, the invitation-only app has shaken up the online dating scene by emphasizing high standards and authentic matches.

“There’s a security in knowing that everyone on the app is kind of like you and on the same page,” Nichi said. “It helps build a sense of connection in the community.”