Portlanders love vodka, Detroiters volunteer and New Yorkers play board games: What HowAboutWe's 1M dates say about the way we go out

By Erin Griffith , written on January 8, 2013

From The News Desk

HowAboutWe knows dates. Two years into its existence, the online dating site is responsible for facilitating a million of them (1.4 million technically, at latest count). Today HowAboutWe released a pile of dating data in the form of an infographic (below), revealing that New Yorkers and Austinites prefer board games, Detrioters love to volunteer, St. Louis is a hot spot for education and class dates, and 62 percent of all dates involve alcohol (Portland in particular has 10x more vodka dates than the rest of the country). Click around this snazzy infographic:

This data is available to HowAboutWe because of its unique value prop to singles: Don't spend hours tinkering with a profile -- instead, suggest a date idea ("How about we ____") and go do it. So the site knows what daters are into, and the kinds of dates they go on.

That dating data has helped HowAboutWe develop its couples app, which I first wrote about in February. Around that time, the company had raised its first big round of capital, a $15 million Series B led by Khosla Ventures with RRE Ventures and ff Ventures participating. The company's A round included capital from Founder Collective, LaunchTime, NYC Seed MHS Capital and High Line Venture Partners. (Sidenote: The High Line is New York's most popular date spot.)

The couples offering has gone through a few iterations since then and arrived at a viable product that, with no promotion, has accumulated around 650 subscribing couples in New York. It first started as a high-end, couple-fied Groupon-meets-Gilt City, selling US Open tickets with drinks, Central Park bike rentals with a gourmet Italian picnic, and tickets to a broadway show for a $150 a couple monthly subscription.

I was skeptical because the dates seemed out of my price range and lifestyle, and they reminded me too much of daily deals, which we all know are decidedly unhip (especially on a date), but without the massive discount, since I was paying a regular subscription. HowAboutWe clearly saw that as a trend too: The top dates in most cities are free activities like parks, hikes and beaches. The market for daters willing to spend $150 for a night out each month was small.

Now, the price point is lower and the date activities less intense. At $22 a month, HowAboutWe's monthly subscription service is like a cool secret fun club that gives me great ideas and access. The membership also includes rewards, discounted car services and a concierge that can plan a date tailored to your interests. Dates range from DJ classes to free hat fittings to a craft beer flight with cheeses plus a growler to go for $50.

And even if I decide not to shell out the $22 a month to belong, I can still book dates through the service as a nonmember (I just miss out on the discounts and a few members-only offers).

HowAboutWe Couples' communication tools are minimal for now -- your significant other is alerted if you've saved a date to your shared wish list.

The company notably decided against launching a flavor-of-the-month couples app. Remember that in the Spring of 2011, Pair was on fire, and Avocado, Weesh, Kahnoodle and Cupple were hot on its heels. The idea of the two-person social network, or "Path for the two of us," was adorable and novel in theory but, as it turns out, not exactly necessary. Pair, which notably received 100,000 downloads in a week, has been very quiet since its fundraising in May. It was sued for trademark infringement by Pair Networks in June.

Couples already have ways to communicate with each other and they work just fine -- the desire for an alternative to texting wasn't a real pain point in the relationship, HowAboutWe found. "It didn't seem like it was solving a problem that was deep enough to generate true love of a product, which leads to true use and ultimately revenue," says Aaron Schildkrout, co-CEO.

What HowAboutWe's research did find is that couples have a "profound desire" to discover and book wonderful experiences for two." HowAboutWe just so happens to know a lot about dates. Thus, HowAboutWe Couples. The product will roll out to at least two more cities in the second quarter.