Kaliido isn’t another gay dating app. Its goal is to create meaningful connections. Connections outside of the bedroom, based on common interests. And Kaliido doesn’t just talk the talk, it walks the walk.
There are no headless torso shots on the site (they’re banned). Users need to request an invite to join the network (or can be invited to join by an existing member). Kaliido Konduct also requires users to show respect towards one another and accept other, differing points of view. Refreshing, right?
I was fortunate enough to interview Kaliido Founder Peter Venero recently. I got a chance to ask him about the origins of Kaliido, how it’s going so far and where it’s headed.
LGB – Firstly, the name – Kaliido. Where did it come from and what does it mean?
Peter – Kaliido is a play on the spelling of the word ‘kaleido’, as in ‘kaleidoscope’. Think networks of colours bumping into each other, forming new colours and meaningful relationships. This is what Kaliido is all about!
LGB – How did you get the idea for Kaliido? Was it based on your own experience of using other gay dating/hook up apps?
Peter – It was definitely based on my own experiences. When I became single again a couple years back, I wanted to meet some interesting people who were of like-mind. I took a look around the gay online space and found it silly that there wasn’t a clear channel or platform that enabled us gay guys to meet others based off of common lifestyle interests like travel, dining, or theatre for example.
I gathered feedback from other single gay friends and moved quickly to do a wider market test where I built a twitter following of interested gay guys. Once I confirmed the potential, I locked myself away in my apartment each night for a number of months to develop the concept.
LGB – What are your thoughts on apps such as Grindr and Scruff that are focused predominantly on hooking up, as opposed to common lifestyle interests?
Peter – I personally have no problem with these apps. I think everyone is on a different path and these apps serve a purpose, especially where it’s still unfortunately illegal to be gay in some countries.
However, I also think gay guys deserve options. Not everyone is out for quick shag and even if they are, Kaliido serves as a common ground where gays from all walks of life can connect on a variety of interests in a non-confronting way. These guys can meet like-minds online, attend events off-line that are meaningful to them, which are put on by Kaliido or by our Ambassadors, and then come back online to share it.
LGB – Kaliido was launched to the public recently. How’s it going? What’s the feedback been like so far?
Peter – Yes, Kaliido went into public beta just in April. Public beta means it’s not the final version yet, but we’re getting there. The response has been outstanding, guys are really digging it. When I speak to guys on the street to let them know that it exists, they’re like “wow, a network to meet other guys on common interests, and not sex? Who would have thought!”
LGB – How can people join Kaliido and where is it available?
Peter – Since we went into public beta, we have just taken off the invite-only requirement. That’s not to say it may not return, but we’re giving it a try. We don’t want to make it too exclusive, but we also want to maintain the integrity of the community. So we’ll see how it goes.
Right now guys can join by going to www.kaliido.com. We encourage them to share it with their friends so we can bring together more-like minds. That is key.
LGB – You have certain rules such as ‘No headless torso shots’ which are synonymous with other gay apps. What has the feedback been from Kaliido users about not having these sorts of images on the site?
Peter – Our Kaliido Konduct is the forefront of Kaliido. This is what helps us keep Kaliido different.
The feedback has been great because the guys really appreciate the point of difference that we’re offering. During our market test early last year, a lot of the concerns we heard was “it’s just going to turn into another hook-up joint!” and having these standards helps us keep it from becoming exactly that.
We’ve only had to moderate a handful of photos, and the offenders were actually pretty cool with it. It’s also an opportunity to get some exciting brand partnerships happening, because we’re not as “racy” as the others.
LGB – What ‘type’ of men are joining and using Kaliido? Are you seeing any trends emerge in terms of age, or interests of users?
Peter – It’s been pretty interesting actually. It’s gay men from all walks of life, different ages, various backgrounds from students to professionals. The beauty is that it has not been a specific type of demographic. You see an entirely different side to gay men that many would not expect from the stereotype we’re labelled with – and I think that’s a beautiful thing.
LGB – What’s in the works for the future of Kaliido?
Peter – Wow so much, and it’s just exciting. Our priority at the moment is getting our native apps prepared, which we’re currently doing. It’ll be available on iPhone and Android to start with. At the moment it’s an online platform and there’s a mobile version too.
Once those are launched our next initiative, which we’re currently developing, is called Kaliido Marketplace. Kaliido Marketplace is a platform for businesses to market themselves to a global LGBTIQ audience online, as well as locally.
We also plan to develop Kaliido Girls, because the girls deserve a meaningful option as well!
There’s a team of 3 of us now, Nicole Stegemann (Marketing) and Cor Jansen van Rensburg (Finance and Kaliido Marketplace), and they have been so invaluable – so a big shout out to them!
I love the idea and ethos behind Kaliido and I really hope it does well. It’s up to those of us within the gay community who have been wanting something more from our online interactions, to support Kaliido. Sign up to it, share it on your networks and help spread the word.