With new online startup, meeting with strangers

Grouper, a social gathering website, aims for groups of friends to meet.

Shark Week themed Instagram, Pop Rocks and tequila were involved. It was a pretty standard Grouper.

A new concept, taking the potential for disaster away from blind dates by setting up drinks between two sets of friends, Grouper acts as a social club. As a fairly new start-up, founded by Michael Waxman in 2011 and available in 20 U.S. cities currently, Grouper is catching attention for its innovation.

“Our goal is to introduce you to awesome people who you don’t know, but should,” said Lexi Aiassa, one of the member concierges for the company.

Aiassa said she is there to make sure Groupers are “epic.”

With a simple sign up process, becoming a member is almost effortless – besides having to part with $20. The one-time fee covers the first round of drinks and is an incentive to make sure no one bails.

Information is pulled from Facebook once you are a member.

Grouper’s website names three main areas of users’ profiles that it uses to match potential meetups: their likes and interests, their Facebook friend list, to ensure the person isn’t matched with someone they’re familiar with and their tagged photos.

Fill out a few basic questions, invite two friends to the Grouper for next Thursday and the process is complete.

From there, the adventure of Grouper begins. No information is provided on the other trio before the Grouper. Only two truths and a lie from each person is given out, which could be both insightful and terrifying, depending on the answers given.

“The two truths and a lie is a fun icebreaker since part of the fun of Grouper is going in blind,” Aiassa said.

The night before the Grouper takes place, one of the member concierges emails the location, which could be any bar in the city that the Grouper venue team has scouted out.

Julie Touchstone, a recent Temple graduate, was assigned to PYT in Northern Liberties for her Grouper, and was given Shark Week as the theme for her “Groupergram.”

“Members used to email and text us awesome photos of their Grouper, so we realized Instagram would be the perfect outlet to share those with other members,” Aiassa said.

There is also Grouper Texts, which shares real texts submitted after going on the three-on-three dates.

“It was a cool, new start-up company with a fun way to go out and meet different people,” Touchstone said.

Similarly, Nate Wineland, who was a part of the same Grouper, said he joined because he was looking to try something new.

For anyone new to the city, anyone who has become tired of their routine and anyone who wants to try a new way to date, Grouper provides a unique way to meet 20-somethings and make a Thursday night more memorable.

Grouper goers don’t necessarily have to be single to participate.

As a social club, Grouper is open to anyone wanting to meet new people, although it does try to match up similar individuals with a chance of romance blossoming between them. And if all someone does is talk incessantly about their significant other, chances are they will be marked poorly in the survey taken after the Grouper, which means bad Karma.

Karma is the points earned if the other group had a good time, and the experience went well, with no one being late or rude. The more Karma points received, the more fun the Grouper experience becomes.

For more information, visit their website at joingrouper.com.

Sinead Cummings can be reached at sinead.cummings@temple.edu

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