Sunday, July 14, 2024

Meet the founders of SIRPLUS, the new dating app for mature gay men

If you are older and identify as a gay, bi or queer male, you might have found the online dating landscape challenging. Well, have no fear, SIRPLUS, an app just for you is now here!

So many new dating apps come and go, but this new one called SIRPLUS is aimed at a slightly older gentleman, with a view to helping us find real relationships and real connections. We took some time to chat to the founders Patrick Lightheart and Jason Lambert to find out more about them and more info on their amazing app. You can tell they both know each other well.

Head to the APP store here to download for Iphone, and the google store here for your android.

I started off asking them about their background and discovered they have been friends for over 25 years — perhaps longer — according to Patrick. Their friendship grew out of a shared social life, and “coming up” in the gay village in Toronto where they are both based. They are not life partners but as Jason says they are more like brothers. I asked them if they were married, dating or single. “We are single, that’s why we created the app,” they both said almost in unison!

Read on and find out more about the amazing team behind the app!

Richard Jones: I can see why you were perfect to create the app together, what was the journey? Can you remember the first conversation that you had that led you to thinking there needed to be another app?

Patrick Lightheart: I chatted to Jason with the idea, and it was 2019, so it’s been that long. I was just piddling around design ideas because I’m a graphic designer by nature and thinking of some stuff and it just kind of came to me and I thought, I’m a little bit fed up with not dating and looking at apps and things like that. So I just said, What about if we did something like a dating app for older guys? And we pushed the idea around a bit and then Jason was like, I’m on board. This is a great idea. You have to figure this out. So I went and I started designing some stuff and we came up with an entirely other name, right?

Jason Lambert: And yes, loved it. And we went to the copyright office and they were like this is the same as something else by one letter, so you can’t use this. We were gonna call it Graydar.

RJ: Ha, that’s perfect!

PL: And then realizing that Gaydar was still alive and was a thing that I’d completely forgotten about, even to the point of where I designed it the exact same colors as their website, but within my head, and I didn’t realize what I was doing.

JL: We had gone almost all the way to the point of copyright and then we were you can’t use this.

PL: We paid for all of that. Just stupid. We’d forgotten all about this other company and thinking, Well, we’ve changed the look and the letters, it should be fine. And it wasn’t. So we had to go back to the drawing table and come up with another name. Next day we came up with another name. I had a dream about it. And then I told him. And he was like that’s perfect. So we were like, so design it, get it done.

JL: Then it was fine. And then we were worried that it was too close to Siri. Because it was Sir and Plus and they looked into that and it was fine.

RJ: Amazing. Once you began those conversations, what were the key points that led you to saying “we need something different, there has to be something different.” What would you say were the key factors. What really made you go, ”I want to do this work, let’s dig into it.” What’s the big singular reason, or were there a multitude of factors that came together at the right time?

PL: Just wanting something unique to do together and some sort of project or mission, to get done.

JL: Even before you came to me with the idea originally, Patrick, every time we would go out or we would hang out, we’d eventually just look on our phones because he’d come into my hood or I’d go into his neighborhood and we look on all of the other apps and see who’s closer here and there and it’s just always the same old guys and over time I think that’s where it sort of started.

PL: We actually thought the niche of it was the best idea, the core of the idea because we wanted something. We thought, well, we can’t be unique, other guys that are over 40 I think are tired of 22 year olds dinging them or tired of all the shirtless guys that if you don’t look like that, they won’t speak to you and thought, You know what, let’s just do something for regular guys over 40 that maybe don’t go out as much anymore and need a platform that they could stay home, meet people and make a bit of a difference. And then Jason came up with the idea of the Profile Plus section so you could add more detail and get a much better understanding of who you were talking to and who you were dealing with. If you actually bothered to add all those extra details to your profile, there’s a lot more to it, so thinking that a deeper connection could possibly happen.

JL: We don’t know yet at all, but we’re really hoping that that’s one of the features that gets some mature guys who have been there, done that, had their party days of fun time doing that, but want a little bit more than all the other apps and there there’s a lot of apps out there.

PL: So yeah, that’s this distinguishing factor, a network of guys who are in our age range who have already had the years and years of clubbing and partying and all of that. And not that that’s not out of the question anymore, but I mean that want more of an intellectual, would like to know a little bit more about someone from their profile than what’s usually asked, or what’s usually shown in the profile and stuff.

RJ: So what are the big key differences then? If there’s anything? I mean, you mentioned a couple.

PL: We’ve added the Profile Plus section. We also have our Take Flight section, which most apps have, where you can go and look at other cities around the world. And the fact that it’s for guys 40 and over, our dial date doesn’t even start until whatever birth date that is. It’s really sort of a deterrence to people that are younger from joining, we hope … of course they could lie and join anyway and that’s nothing we can do about that. But I think just really pushing the fact strictly or trying to be for a certain age demographic is really what we’re trying to hammer home. That’s the top for sure distinguishing factor and then the plus section which you know offers more of an intellectual idea or concept of your profile and who this person is.

JL: And that came about just again because we said Profile Plus and the plus has always been PLUS but it’s also a plus on the end of Sir in our logo and going off on that idea. And plus is extra and that’s something that’s not on the other apps right now.

PL: There’s three sections. There’s either/or lists or top threes. We developed it so that they’re really, really quick answers, quick questions because on the apps you don’t have a lot of time, you don’t want to spend, we have a very limited attention span on the phone and things happen really fast. it was just three categories of questions that you can read and answer really quick and will give you a little bit more of a picture of what this guy looks like and what he’s about and get you interested and maybe get you to reach out and text and start a conversation and that was the idea.

The other dating apps they don’t offer let you choose serious relationships or connections, they’re all just branches of straight websites or straight apps, and we wanted to just really hone in on the fact that we’re gay-owned, gay created, gay focused, mature gay focused and at the point in our lives where we want a little bit more than what we see now.

Jason Lambert

PL: Also we’re trying to offer a more diverse experience. Me being Black, Jason being who he is, we sort of thought, It’s a good chance for us to really go after and advertise to other demographics of people within that gay age group: brown, Asian, Spanish, this and that. We’re really trying to represent that in our advertising.

RJ: You launched in June last year, we are a year in. How has the year been?

PL: A year in with the iOS, we’re only a few months in with the Android, so we’ve been dealing a lot with the developer over the last year, trying to get to that point. Also scrambling to get the finances to do it, and making sure that what we had put out was sort of tweaked and good, which is why we never made a big launch about it, a big announcement or anything because we were still kind of, we haven’t launched the other side yet, we want to make sure that’s okay. And now that both are out and we’ve pretty sure we’ve gotten most of the bumps and grinds gone from both versions that this is perfect timing for us to sort of start, because, we did have a little few issues with profiles and people signing in and out. And then we got a couple of really bad reviews on the App Store which have brought us down to a 2.7. And we need better reviews, so hopefully now that people won’t be having that issue, that will happen.

RJ: Wonderful.

PL: I think that’s a difference right there that we’re noticing as well that makes sense as we get more populated because we’re more of a dating app as opposed to a hookup app. And so there’s people less online all the time and it’s more of a logging in to check in to look at new faces, to read profiles to get to know someone. And it’s not like, jump on because I’m horny and let’s see who’s around and stuff. It’s more about checking in to see the community around me and who might be an interesting guy to reach out and also friends.

JL: The other thing too, when we were promoting at Pride, we realized originally it was always going to be a dating site but I’ve really enjoyed talking to people on the street and promoting and stuff and realizing it’s more of a community of guys that in our age group and maturity and all of that but you know it’s not necessarily. It’s a dating site, but it’s also just to meet other guys for friendship, to connect, to say, Hey man, I’ve seen you around and cool and we hope that all of that happens.

PL: As far as what we’re presenting it’s more of a community. It’s about bringing people like us together. And it’s not just for sex, it’s for getting to know people and to build the community. And there’s no limitations or anything. When there’s no rules, you can jump on and if you want to look for guys for sex that are mature, great, and if you want to meet someone just to hang out and be friends, that’s there too. The point is it’s a network of guys, and at the moment it’s completely free.

RJ: What does the future look like?

PL: The future looks like we have built a community of people our age and we can sponsor events, we can start going out into the real world. With this branching out into the world with Sir+ and being a net for people that are part of it and have something grow from that.

JL: I’ve got great big ideas. If it’s something that’s amazing and then if our name becomes something, then I think we could carry it a lot further.

PL: I am just picturing big parties in Palm Springs and Fire Island or PTown and have a massive tea dance that’s brought to you by Sir+ and people come from all over

JL: I love the idea of Sir+ being like a crown or a direction where you can find all of those guys so that we can get Daddy Crews underneath that and Daddy next door and all of these different places and different events and different groups and stuff but under the umbrella of mature men and looking for whatever they’re under our banner would be good.

Head to the APP store here to download for Iphone, and the google store here for your android.

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Richard Jones

Richard is the co-founder of Queer Forty. As a 40-something gay man, he is passionate about creating good, informative and entertaining content for the over 40 LGBTQ Community.

Richard Jones has 136 posts and counting. See all posts by Richard Jones

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