New Dating App Changing the Culture in Charleston

Betsey Geier

Experience-first dating app, Element, officially launched in Charleston on September 6 with a party at Uptown Social.

If you follow CharlestonGrit’s social media, you may remember our Instagram story from that night, which included drinks, a band, and tons of giveaways. People were engaging with one another and seemed to be having a great time. The partygoers were in their element.

This is what the new dating app hopes to create: an experience that puts the date back in dating.

“We really see Element as a way to get people in their element, whether it’s surfing, hiking, grabbing sushi, attending some sort of concert or event. By matching other users in their element, that compatibility level is highly probably rather than swiping left and right for opportunities,” Rachel Propst, co-founder of Element, said.

Propst is familiar with the start-up culture in Charleston and met Landon Sanford, CEO of Element, through the entrepreneur and start-up community. After hearing about the idea, she fell in love with the concept because she considers herself a dating app success story, but only because there was a face-to-face meeting within the first week.

Propst and her boyfriend of two and a half years initially met on Tinder. They went on a date to Propst’s favorite sushi place within that first week.

“Before that, I had experienced a little bit of dating app fatigue with just chatting for months with someone and never really having a call to action or meeting in person. I did see the success of meeting my boyfriend from actually going on a date,” Propst said.

After downloading the app from the app store, you can link it to your Instagram account and set up your user profile. Then, you have two options. You can post your own experience or you can express interest in featured experiences created by the Element team.

“If you do post your own experience, other users on the platform have the opportunity to express interest in that experience, converse, and determine when you would like to meet to experience that particular event or hobby together,” Propst said.

If a user expresses interest in a featured experience, that user would receive notifications from other users who are also interested in that experience. At that point, the users can chat and decide when they want to experience that specific event together.

“We believe that there is so much to do in the Charleston area so we are featuring these events and these different activities so that hopefully now people have the chance to find someone who enjoys doing the same things that they do,” Propst said.

Element hopes to bring dating back to the millennial generation while making a positive impact on the business community in Charleston.

“We not only hope to make a positive impact within the dating culture but indirectly for different businesses locally by getting people out there to experience different activities and attend different events in the area as well,” Propst said.