Brad McCarty • January 8, 2018

If you’ve watched TV at all lately, you’ve likely seen an advertisement for a dating application. All of them make the same promises — they’ll find love for the user. But statistically speaking, over 80 percent of dating app users report that they’ve never found a meaningful connection. Pheramor is a Houston-based startup company that is putting a biological spin on the dating app. The company is sequencing its users’ Human Leukocyte Antigen (acquired via a simple cheek swab), a gene that is strongly attached to feelings of attraction between two people.

Oh, and in case Human Leukocyte Antigen (HLA) sounds familiar to you, it’s likely because you’re also familiar with bone marrow transplants. So while Pheramor’s primary goal is to make a love connection, the company will be gathering consent to turn its users into registered bone marrow donors.

As of 2015, the National Marrow Donor Program reported that it had reached 25 million potential donors around the world. That said, each year sees thousands of new diagnoses for blood cancer, and bone marrow donation can also hold the key to life-saving treatment for over 70 other diseases as well. Since Pheramor will already be collecting HLA data, a simple opt-in from its users could make a significant impact on the number of potential donors who are registered worldwide.

One area where Pheramor is setting itself apart is in how it will build user profiles. Rather than relying on inaccurate self-reporting, the company will pull in activity from social media platforms to give an accurate representation of who a person is based on information that already exists. Combining the profile data, HLA sequencing, and a machine learning algorithm, the company should have significantly better compatability rates than other dating platforms that rely on self-descriptions or user-reported data.

Pheramor is opening a syndicate round of funding via AngelMD where it hopes to gather investor interest in order to meet its next set of goals. These include enhancing the existing product, investing in branding and marketing, as well as covering costs for legalities, operations, and hiring of a management team.


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Image Credit: Pheramor