Knowing UCF’s large population can create a difficult dating environment for students, UCF graduate student Richie Frost did something to change it.
An entrepreneurial mindset and a business education led Frost to try changing up the local dating game by creating a UCF-only dating website. Frost, who considers himself very sociable, struggled to meet someone as an undergrad. His own tough dating experience and a concern for more timid students led him to realize the potential for a localized dating site.
He called it Dateabl.
Although it was taboo, he turned to dating websites OKCupid and Plenty of Fish as an undergraduate student. Noticing the large divide between users, Frost felt a site for just UCF students would immediately foster common ground.
“The options that are currently offered by other companies didn’t meet the needs of a student, particularly in finding like-minded individuals in a safe and convenient manner,” he said.
But now, Frost is engaged to UCF alumna Charlotte Warren, whom he met in his dorm.
Regardless, he continues to trust the power of online dating.
“Meeting my now-fiancée was rare; it was a lucky shot,” he said. “Maybe you’re going to meet 100 people in college. Chances of finding a good fit out of those 100 people are slim. That’s where the need for online dating comes in.”
Frost believes the online-dating taboo is waning because more students are not finding success elsewhere. They’re also curious about those they may not meet organically, he said.
“[Richie] is helping to remove the stigma associated with online dating and simply encouraging people to connect on a more authentic level,” Warren said.
Frost believes it’s not about spending countless hours behind the computer; it’s about finding a connection online, and building it in person.
Dateabl is now free after Frost originally charged users at its launch. His goal is for students to communicate and forge relationships, not to become a moneymaking machine. He finds fulfillment in easing the process for students to meet one another, he said.
“I feel like we’re robots now. We just compute, but we never feel — because we’re afraid to feel,” Frost said. “I’m trying to get people to connect and create something real. Don’t be afraid to feel. That’s part of being a human. That’s part of being alive.”