Attorney and HBCU graduate Naza Shelley grew tired of traditional dating apps. She described the process as “exhausting and unfruitful.” Therefore, she, along with her good friend, decided to launch CarpeDM. An app specifically designed to meet the needs of professional Black women. CarpeDM provides members with high-quality matches from a pool of vetted candidates. The app allows members to communicate via video-chat first. Thus, encouraging them to “Seize the Date.”
Knowing how difficult dating can for Black women, Naza looked to focus groups. This in-depth approach helped find the disconnect. She said, “There’s systematic bias. There is algorithmic bias. A lot of dating apps are created and ran by white men. And a lot of that programmatically gets in the way of how people are served matches who they can see.” She then added, “We realized that we needed a space where Black women are elevated as the prize that they are. So we are allowing people who are interested and worthy of dating Black women to come into this space.”
In its new version, CarpeDM 2.0, the app is elevating itself from traditional swipe culture. Moving to be more intentional, CarpeDM is focusing more on a community experience. “We put some hurdles in people’s way to join our community. We are doing that using professional matchmakers. This allows everyone to receive highly curated choices based on our algorithm.” Acceptance into CarpeDM’s community is based on a multi-phase application process. The initial application includes a 50-point questionnaire developed by Black women psychologists. Naza and her team then review to determine if there is a community fit. Once approved, applicants meet with matchmakers and pay a small deposit. During that meeting, more questions are asked to determine the candidate’s emotional intelligence.
After passing that round, the final step is to undergo a background check. This check verifies employment, identity, income, and credit score. Naza said, “It doesn’t matter what those things are. It only matters that you are truthful. So we verify that information because it’s what you are presenting to other members.” “The last part of that background check is, of course, criminal history. We check for sexual offenses, a history of domestic violence, or violent crimes. We check for things that lend towards your character and fitness to join the application. If we get a green light, you are invited to select your membership. At that point, you are onboarded onto the platform and begin receiving your matches. If you get a thumbs down, then, unfortunately, we will have to pass on your ability to join the community.”
Membership into CarpeDM comes in three levels, pool, gallery, and premium. Pool membership is for anyone interested in dating professional Black women. That membership comes at an annual rate. Gallery is the first tier for professional Black women. There, members can buy a six-month plan or a yearly plan. They will also receive a dedicated Matchmaker and a different number of matches. The premium tier provides members with 24 matches.
Besides matching professional Black women with compatible singles, CarpeDM has a three-fold mission. Which Naza calls, “Giving Black to our community. We empower and elevate Black women. This helps to build strong, healthy families and create generational wealth.” Proceeds from each membership go towards organizations that support the Black community.
“It’s important for people to know that they’re not just joining a dating app. They are joining a community. So we want them to know that there’s much more here for them than that.”
CarpeDM is based in Washington, D.C., with plans to expand into other cities. For more information and to apply for membership, visit https://carpedmdating.com/.
Contributing Writer Racquel Coral is a national lifestyle writer and journalist based in Charlotte, North Carolina. Find her on social media @withloveracquel.