When we founded Siren just over a year ago, we were motivated by our dissatisfaction with dating apps that feel like they were never really designed for women, with our needs and desires in mind.
As women, we knew that in order to allow ourselves to become vulnerable—to take a chance on the unknown—we first had to cultivate a community standard of safety, comfort, and trust. To address this need, Siren created customizable privacy controls and a casual, conversational model of interaction that mimics how flirting happens in real life.
Organically. Unfolding over time, like any good story, with an element of surprise.
We began our mission by tackling heterosexual dating because it happened to be the arena we were most familiar with, and because it was in desperate need of new paradigms. It was also something of an experiment, since we were told by tech insiders that heterosexual men would never sign up for an app that let women control their own privacy.
We are pleased to report that our detractors were wrong. Over 9,000 members strong—and with success stories rolling in— Siren is living proof that heterosexual men are increasingly ready to use a woman-designed dating app, and it works.
But we have also learned that Siren is about more than making women more comfortable. It's a community of dynamic, constantly evolving human beings, and part of what makes us human is our differences in identity and desires.
We always knew we wanted to make Siren accessible to everyone, but we also wanted to do it right, by expanding our team to include fresh voices and decentering a heteronormative perspective. So we made some key hires, courted LGBTQ advisors, formed focus groups, and spent a whole lot of time listening. We discovered that many of our existing members would also search for same-sex members if given the chance, and we learned that while terms like "lesbian" and "bisexual" can be useful signifiers, they can also be limiting as categories because they rely on the gender binary for their definitions, and because our identities are not always defined by our desires.
One of the key tenets of Siren is that identity is a story, not a constant. None of us are exactly the same person from day to day, which is why it's so exciting to reveal ourselves as a narrative over time rather than as a static, superficial profile. It is with this tenet in mind, particularly as it pertains to the fluidity of gender and sexual orientation that many of us experience over a lifetime, that we are confident that our conversational model has something unique and powerful to offer LGBTQ members. Reductive categories have been removed when possible, however the option to identify as transgender has been added for the safety of trans members.
Feminism is a popular buzzword these days, but businesses that take the deepest implications of feminism to heart are as rare as ever. As a company founded by two women of color—basically unheard of in the tech world, if you're keeping track!—we feel challenged and inspired to continually work toward putting our app where our values are, and we feel great about where they're leading us.
Like our feminism, Siren is a constantly evolving journey. We are proud of this milestone, but we still have have a roadmap of many improvements ahead of us. We are working from your feedback, so please try out our new features and tell your friends that Siren is ready for them to try, too.
Thank you for accompanying us on this journey!