From fifty shades of texting to a dating site for matchmakers, Boston tech digitizes Cupid’s arrow

Single and not that fired up about Valentine’s Day?

Well, a few Boston-based tech companies have created some, ahem, “alternative” apps and websites that may fill that urge for romance this Friday.

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From the helpful to the “personal,” here are a couple of local startups that are looking to add a little love to your life.

Jess, Meet Ken

Ken Deckinger, who already created a successful dating company Hurry Date, recently launched online dating site, Jess, Meet Ken.

The website’s unique spin on internet dating was developed to replicate how Deckinger met his wife, Jess.

Ken’s longtime friend — and business partner — Adele Tongish posted a profile of her pal on a dating site, highlighting how great of a guy he was. She was then contacted by Jess whose interest was piqued by Ken’s interesting profile.

The two met and knew by the end of their first date that they were meant for each other. (Jess and Ken are now happily married and have three kids.)

So how do the serendipitous events of years ago translate into a new dating platform?

Jess, Meet Ken follows the Ken/Adele/Jess roadmap by being a dating site where women create the profiles of their male friends. They are then contacted by women interested in the bachelor and serve as the matchmaker between the two parties.

What make Jess, Meet Ken so unique is that women don’t post their own profiles and men can’t post or connect with people on the site.

Two weeks since its been launched, Jess, Meet Ken has had a great response, Deckinger told me.

They are holding their “Official Launch Party” at the Middlesex Lounge in Cambridge tonight.


Cambridge-based Pink Kiwi Co. designed a product aimed at fans of romance novels and 50 Shades of Gray.

Pink Kiwi’s app, Lovelines, creates interactive “choose-your-own-adventure” stories that give users the experience of being involved in an, at times, sordid texting dialogue with one of four fictive characters.

Lovelines users can engage with Marco “your PhD teacher,” Robby “the bad boy,” or — the kind of creepy — Jack “the family man.” To move the story along, users choose one of the preselected replies to the fake lover’s flirting text. As the texting “story” moves along, the exchange becomes progressively heated, and even a bit raunchy.

For fans of sexed-upped romance novels and the oeuvre of P.D. James, Lovelines is an engaging, and highly personalized, advancement of an experience that exists mostly in paperbacks and, secretly, in the dark corners of people’s Kindles.

The Lovelines app can be downloaded on iTunes.