Cobb native co-founds new dating app launching next week

Nov. 11—Two local entrepreneurs from Cobb County and Sandy Springs have teamed up to launch a new dating app, Hatched, which will be available for Atlanta-based smartphone users starting Monday morning.

As online dating apps become the new normal for meeting one's match, business partners Sam Lukens and Mitchell Alterman developed a new platform for the digital dating game.

Hatched focuses on creating meaningful relationships based on core values, hobbies, attitude and personality, the co-founders said.

"Every dating app out there today, at some capacity, is basically just looking at a profile picture and making a split-second decision based on looks," Alterman said. "Hatch is not oriented around looks, it's focused on personality."

Alterman said that when people sign up for Hatched, users will select a profile picture just like any other online dating app. However, users will also choose between 50 themed egg avatars which are meant to represent their hobbies, interests and personality.

Hatched differentiates itself from other dating apps in a crucial way — users can't see each other's faces, at least not at first.

While users navigate through the app, egg avatars will appear first, along with surface-level biographical details. But profile pictures remain hidden behind the egg until users match with one another.

"If you like what you see so far, you click the hatched icon and then you are presented with a personality, attitude or core values question. Your match also gets the same question," Alterman said. "If you answer the same, your egg cracks 25% of your match's photo. And then you repeat the same process over again."

If users answer four questions similarly, this constitutes a "hatch match," where matches can view each other's full profile picture, biography and chat with one another, Alterman said.

"We wanted to provide users with an alternative way to match with people that is predicated on personality," he said. "We really want to give our users the chance to succeed."

Alterman and Lukens said research shows that there's a myriad of mental health issues that stems from using dating apps.

"User's pictures on many dating apps take up over 70% of your phone screen," Alterman said. "Inevitably, your appearance and pictures are prioritized. Users have really great traits but if they don't take a good picture, they're going to get swiped left on."

Alterman said people who use dating apps are two-and-a-half times more likely to experience mental health issues.

"I think the world could use a little bit more positivity," Lukens said. "And we can play a role in that."

Lukens is an east Cobb native who attended Holy Innocents Episcopal School. Growing up, Lukens was an avid baseball and basketball player. He later earned his bachelor's degree in marketing at the University of Georgia.

Alterman, meanwhile, grew up in Sandy Springs, attended Riverwood High School and also played sports growing up. He attended Indiana University and earned a bachelor's in Business Administration and Management.

The co-founders of Hatched met each other through a previous employer, where they were co-workers.

"We hit it off from the start and instantly became work best friends," Lukens said.

After they went their separate ways and worked for different companies, Alterman developed the Hatched concept. But Alterman said something, or someone, was missing.

"I knew I needed to cover my blind spots, and I needed a co-founder that was talented and skilled in areas I was not," he said.

Alterman said he pitched the Hatched idea to Lukens at a local Atlanta restaurant.

"It just kind of clicked," Lukens said. "The egg, and the branding, down to the issues with the current dating app market, it needed something new."

Lukens and Alterman said they want the app to be easily accessible for all demographics.

"We don't see Hatched as a niche. We see it as an all-encompassing app for anyone who wants to meet someone meaningfully," Alterman said.

And when it came time to plan the launch, Lukens and Alterman said they recognized that Atlanta was a great place to start, primarily because of its diversity.

"Atlanta really has a great, diverse community of people," Alterman said. "It's a melting pot of all different cultures."

The co-founders said they both play an integral role in Hatched's operations. Lukens handles more behind-the-scenes work, while Alterman handles the marketing strategy.

Lukens and Alterman said none of this would be possible without Hatched Chief Technology Officer Reeves Kissel, who developed their online dating concept further into a tangible, user-friendly technology.

"If we stick to our guns and continue to help build these authentic, genuine connections, we believe the rest will play out," Alterman said.

Hatched will be available starting Monday, Nov. 14 across metro Atlanta on the Apple App Store and Google Play Store. For more information, visit hatchyourmatch.com.