Noveil seeks to eliminate the superficial nature of most popular dating apps.
Using common dating apps can often feel shallow and risky, but a business created by a UC Irvine student seeks to eliminate those hurdles and provide an application that fosters lasting relationships.
That business, Noveil, recently won a $20,000 grand prize and $10,000 Consumer Services first prize in the Stella Zhang New Venture Competition, which is hosted annually by the Beall Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at The Paul Merage School of Business to encourage entrepreneurship and support student startups in the Orange County area.
Michael Allotey, a 2021 UC Irvine graduate who major majored in computer science and minored in innovation and entrepreneurship, started Noveil started Noveil speciﬁcally for Generation Z college students.
“We understood the problem because we experienced it ourselves,” Allotey said of the Noveil team. “We noticed there noticed there was a hookup culture that you can’t get around in online dating. There was a superﬁciality. People only judged each other on a picture and then a few sentences in a bio. Also, women don’t really feel that comfortable. To us, that’s crazy.”
Noveil seeks to solve these problems by removing photos and a bio and adding a video dating platform so people can really get to know each other before going on a date.
When somebody signs up for Noveil, they will be asked three questions to determine their preferences and whether they want to start dating. From that point, the app’s algorithm uses machine learning to ﬁnd a good match for each person. Initially, these matches are based on preferences, but after going on a few dates, the app will base its matches on who somebody has chosen to date and who they have disliked in the past.
“It’s similar to how Netﬂix recommends movies,” Allotey said. When two people are matched, they are immediately placed in a three-minute video call. The app provides two icebreaker questions to stimulate the conversation.
Allotey started Noveil in November and enrolled in the Stella Zhang New Venture Competition a few months later. He said he had been interested in competing in the event for a while.
This year’s event gave nearly $100,000 in prize money to a variety of businesses dealing with sustainability, medical technology and diet. Over the course of seven months, 88 teams were whittled down to 10 during this year’s competition. These ﬁnalists competed in an event run similarly to an episode of “Shark Tank” where contestants pitch their products and services to a panel of judges made up of Orange County entrepreneurs and investors.
Aside from Noveil, several other businesses received cash prizes for a variety of categories, including business products and services, consumer products, consumer services, life sciences and social enterprise. First place winners were given $10,000 and second place received $5,000. A grand prize runner up was also chosen and awarded $5,000.
Grand Prize Runner Up
Enjovu Paper was chosen as the runner up for its proposal to use regenerated fibers from elephant feces to create sustainable paper products. The company argued that this will lessen the environmental impact of paper production and raise awareness for endangered elephants, which are threatened by poaching, human-wildlife conﬂict and habitat destruction.
The ﬁrst prize was claimed by forMED Technologies for its mission to provide patients with an at-home eye pressure monitoring system to prevent blindness and make sure that patients are receiving the correct amount of medication. Sayenza Biosciences received the second place prize for developing the ﬁrst fully automated device that processes fat removed during liposuction. This is crucial because the cells in liposuction fat have a high amount of adult stem cells, which can be used for regenerative medicine.
Business Products and Services
Nutripair was awarded the ﬁrst place prize for its product pairing people with the most nutritious and beneﬁcial foods for their dietary preferences. The company also helps restaurants raise their revenue through helping manage the menu and analyzing allergens and nutrition. EmpowerMi came in second place for its mental wellness platform that provides a more holistic approach to mental health maintenance.
HAI came in ﬁrst place for offering sustainable and fashionable jewelry. GaleGauge took the second place prize for its golf training tool utilizing data on wind, temperature and distance to help people adjust their swing.
Blue Aqua Food Tech received the ﬁrst place award for using insects to create an alternative protein for ﬁsh to feed on to help solve the global crisis of ﬁshmeal shortages. Enjovu Paper also was awarded second place honors in this category. Com
Noveil also received the ﬁrst place prize in this category, while SnapHealth came in second place for its mobile app that helps patients take back control of their sensitive health data to improve the overall experience of healthcare.
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