A photo of the Radcliffe Camera with the caption, "Seen someone you like at the Rad Cam?"
Photo by Alexander McFadzean, via Like me? Developer Team

Joel Fernandez investigates Oxford’s newest startup, interviewing Alexander McFadzean, the founder and CEO of Like Me?

Who are you? 

Hi, I’m Alex, the founder and CEO. I graduated from Somerville College in 2023 (History and Economics). As for the rest of the Like me? team, we’re mostly current Oxford students, with a few members coming from other universities in the UK and US (ICL, Dartmouth). My whole team is amazing, but shoutout to our Chief Marketing Officer Charlotte Renahan – we’re lucky to have her on board! Our company currently has a virtual set-up, but I plan to be in Oxford from this week (21/01/24) helping run things on the ground. We’re currently in talks with some local businesses – watch this space!

What is Like me?

We’re a dating start-up, launching this year (2024).* Our main product is an app which works by sending likes to people nearby.

*Editorial note: Like me? is available on the App Store as of 29/01/24

How is Like me? different to the other mainstream dating apps (Tinder, Hinge, Grindr etc.)?

Like me? is different in a few ways. Fundamentally, we believe that dating apps should be a tool to help facilitate in-person contact instead of replacing it. People spend so much time swiping and chatting on these apps, time which could be spent having real human interactions. For us time-poor Oxford students, it’s really important that the time we do have is used meaningfully. To better explain how Like me? does this, let me give an example: 

On a crisp Tuesday morning, you’re working in the Rad Cam trying to finish your essay. You notice an attractive stranger who comes and sits in front of you, and naturally you want to shoot your shot, but there are a few things stopping you: 1) it’s awkward, 2) they might not be single, 3) they might not fancy you back and 4) they might not appreciate being hit on in the Rad Cam (after all, you’re there to work). 

You solve the problem by going on Like me?, which shows you a list of accounts of people near you. If you find their profile, you can send them a like. If you don’t want to be too forward, you can send them a silent like, which leaves no notification, or if you’re feeling bolder, you can send a like which gives an instant notification (the silent like is particularly useful because it’s a risk-free way of shooting your shot: if your crush doesn’t fancy you back, they’ll never know you liked them). Then, if you get a like back, you get a match notification which gives you their socials and/or phone number, giving you the go-ahead to talk to them in-person or online. With the other dating apps, your first interaction is always virtual; by contrast, Like me? has no in-built messaging function – we want you to talk to each other! As a company, we also put personal safety at a premium: if you just want to go to the Rad Cam to work or you don’t feel comfortable, we have an easy-to-use ghost mode which takes your profile off other people’s feeds.

OxShag failed to launch last year because it contravened GDPR. What steps have you taken to ensure that Like me? remains GDPR-compliant?

As I said before, personal safety is really important for the Like me? team. All the personal details you provide will be taken with your consent. Moreover, Like me? profiles are set up to provide the bare minimum of personal data. As opposed to the mainstream dating apps, which ask for a whole bunch of hobbies, preferences and opinions, Like me? only asks for three things: your first name, one profile picture and your age. 

The other Oxford start-up making waves right now is Youni (they had a Saltburn-themed short go moderately viral recently). Do you envision a potential future relationship with them? 

I have been forwarded Youni content by a member of the team. I really respect them: they have bold aims and are taking a risk. Also, their marketing strategy is so effective – I’ve had people come up to me and tell me to make Like me?’s content more like theirs! I think we’re both tapping into something which is very key for Gen Z: a holistic university experience.

Do you have any events coming up? 

On the 31st January (Wednesday 3rd Week) we have our launch event, which will have drinks, live music and some fun games. We hope to see everyone there!

Ok, amazing! Since we’ve got some time left, I thought I’d ask some love-themed questions to finish. What was your worst date at Oxford? 

Hahaha, this is going to be bad… So I planned a date where we’d start at The Bear Inn (Alfred Street), then make our way to Sandy’s Piano Bar. The pint went well, but when we were doing the 2-minute walk from the pub to Sandy’s, she asked me whether we were doing this as friends/not (she thought this was a networking thing). When I clarified, she immediately left. 

Ouch. Ok, so final question. Who’s your celebrity crush?

Ok, I’ve got two. The first one is Keira Knightley; the second is Jessica Pearson on Suits (played by Gina Torres) – nothing more attractive than a woman in power.