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Having trouble finding a quality date online with services like Match, OkCupid, or eHarmony? How about going on some video speed dates with new startup Seekly?

Seekly wants to get rid of the “overwhelming” and “misleading” nature of online dating sites and make dating online efficient, less stressful, and more economical. Users can sign up to participate in five-minute-long video speed dates with people who also use Seekly. Users are paired with people within 100 miles, and it does not pair you with people who don’t meet certain criteria. Right now “deal-breakers” include smokers/non-smokers, location, and age. If a video chat goes well for both users, then users’ information is exchanged.

On stage at DEMO conference in Santa Clara, Calif., the cofounders showed the audience how their service will help love-seekers “break the ice.” They also offered a discount to DEMO attendees who needed to get a date.

Unlike competitors, Seekly has ditched the compatibility tests and questionnaires, so you can “get to know the person, not the profile.” To help you get through those awkward silences, “while you’re on a date, you’re prompted with information that your date has already provided,” they explained.


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“Online dating can be improved,” Seekly co-founder Susie Steiner told VentureBeat. “The way people see other people can be improved. With Seekly, you cannot prejudge, you cannot choose who or what type you would like to date. You can only eliminate users based on items that are deal breakers for you.”

For pricing, the service will be free in beta, but it will transition to a paid usage early next year. In the near future, Seekly will offer daily ($3.99), weekly ($7.99), or monthly ($29.99) subscriptions. These subscriptions get you unlimited usage.

Seekly almost sounds like a useful version of Airtime, Sean Parker and Shawn Fanning’s social video startup that hasn’t really done much since its celeb-filled launch. Instead of video chatting with random strangers or Facebook friends you already know, Seekly is pairing you with people who have the same reason as you to be there.

Tampa, Fla.-based Seekly was founded in January 2012. The company received about $12,000 in “Developer Dollars” in January from Abbeton, a Tampa-focused accelerator. The company hopes to get more funding in the near term.

In the DEMO Sage panel after the presentation, Tracey  Isacke, director of investments and business development at Telefonica Digital, said that she liked the concept of doing speed dating remotely. If you don’t like someone, you don’t have to stay for an extra couple of minutes, she said, “and it’s a great way to meet people.”

Seekly is one of 75 companies and 6 student “alpha” startups chosen by VentureBeat to launch at the DEMO Fall 2012 event taking place this week in Silicon Valley. After we make our selections, the chosen companies pay a fee to present. Our coverage of them remains objective.

Photo credit: Seekly

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