As a member of Gen Z, dating can be weird because, for the most part, a lot of us don’t talk to each other. No matter where we go our faces stare into the depths of the screens glued to our hands while our headphones block out all outside sounds. This led me to downloading dating apps. Tinder, Bumble, Hinge — I’ve tested them all and never had much luck for a variety of reasons, so I was interested when I came across a new app that joined the market in March 2023.

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Heather Hopkins, CEO and Founder of the new dating app, Hulah, had previously launched a different app based on video-dating and discovered the real problem with traditional dating apps is that “women feel unsafe online dating.”

“So now, Hulah exists,” Hopkins says. “Better guys endorsed by other women.”

Hulah is a dating app that allows all single women to join, but only allows a man to join if he is endorsed by another woman. This is what should make Hulah truly special and what drew me in. Women supporting women and helping each other find great guys, right? Not necessarily.

Working out the kinks

Upon looking through the reviews in the Apple Store, I came across one five-star review titled, “Great App! Very easy for Guys to hack.” The review went on to explain that the user was a male who created a fake ringleader profile and invited himself and his friends to join in just five minutes.

Hopkins also saw this review and addressed this potential problem saying, “There are definitely mechanisms in place to verify that they’re a woman.” She explains the app uses AI technology to check a person’s ID, but since technology is not 100% reliable, there is a human moderator who reviews the profiles as well.

There are a couple details that I found made this app different from “the big dating apps.”

First, once you match, the app allows you to schedule a five-minute video chat that is designed to ensure both parties that neither side is being “cat fished.”

This videochat is a rule Hopkins set for her own dating life long before she launched Hulah. “I’d be messaging with a guy, and I’d be like, ‘Oh my gosh, he seems so great and awesome,’” she says. “Then, I get on the date and within the first five minutes I’d be like, ‘Oh no, this is so bad.’”

Also, there is the inclusion of “hypepeople.” If you have a profile, you can send a link to your friends, and they can record a short video answering one question about you. This video appears on your profile for viewers to see what your friends think of you.

How Hulah dating app works

The app is free to download but offers a paid “Hulah Pro” subscription. The upgrade allows you to view everyone who likes you at once, view a ringleader’s full “fleet” of men, extend matches and videochat for an unlimited amount of time.

In general, the layout of Hulah is like other dating apps.

There is the discover section which allows you to go through profiles of people within your distance parameters. The photos of the profile roll through like a slideshow. In the top left corner, the person’s name, age and city appear next to a miniature main profile picture. If you click on that picture, you can look at every detail of the profile. If it is a profile of an endorsed man, a small photo of the woman who endorsed him shows up in the top right corner of the screen. Note that if you choose to like someone, you have to leave a comment on their profile. You cannot just send a like.

The likes, matches and account sections are all set up just like any other dating app and allow you to view those who like you, your matches and adjust your profile’s settings.

Within the messaging section, a woman can also choose to message a guy’s ringleader if she has questions or feels uncomfortable at any time.

“It provides that accountability that doesn’t exist on the other big dating apps,” Hopkins says.

For women, there is also a “Ringleader” section if a woman chooses to endorse men. This area shows the men in your fleet as well as your fleet points which will eventually be able to be converted into real life rewards. Hopkins explains this system is still in the works.

A woman earns fleet points by endorsing men who act gentlemanly. Her points are an accumulation of all the men in her fleet. The app has a “gentleman’s algorithm” that rewards points to individual men for good behavior such as being polite to women.

For a man, this section is replaced with his individual rankings within the app. He can see how many individual fleet points he has, how he is ranking within his fleet and recommendations of how to improve his standing within the gentleman’s algorithm.

Promising dating-app contender

I decided to give the app a chance because I figured I didn’t have anything to lose. I have been going through the discover page but haven’t gotten any matches yet.

In general, the premise of the app is great and even in my short time using it, I do think it has promise as an up-and-coming dating app. But Hopkins says, “We know that there are bugs, and we’re taking in feedback and fixing [issues] as quickly as possible.” All I can say is that it is worth giving it a chance if, like me, you have struggled on other apps. But remember to have some patience because all developments