Iran News ...


02/28/11

Iranian-American Engineer Develops Online Dating Site

By Grace Nasri

The Iranian-American founder and CEO of a newly launched location-based dating service is revolutionized dating with his new company CupidRadar. Founder and CEO Mehrdad Sarlak told the Iran Times that his fascination with how people ultimately pair and bond with others is what gave him the idea for his newly launched dating service.

CupidRadar
www.cupidradar.com

CupidRadar, designed to work on Blackberry, iPhone, Android, iPad and other smart phones, laptops and home computers, is a new way for singles to find and meet other singles based on real-time locations.

The dating service’s Tehran-born CEO told the Iran Times that he moved to the United States when he was still a child. “My parents and I moved to the United States when I was 7 so my father could obtain a doctorate in education.  We first moved to Denver; then to New Mexico, South Dakota, and North Dakota. I then went to Boston for college and subsequently to Minneapolis for my first job out of college.  After that, I moved to San Diego for a work assignment and finally settled in Los Angeles in 2003.  You could say I grew up all over,” Sarlak told the Iran Times.

After immigrating to the United States with his family, Sarlak followed his father’s footsteps and pursued his education.

Mehrdad Sarlak
Mehrdad Sarlak

“I had the honor of being accepted to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge, MA, just across the river from Boston.  MIT was my dream school.  I graduated with a bachelor of science in Mechanical Engineering, or as we call it there, Course 2,” the Iranian-born CEO said.

Upon graduation, Sarlak accepted a job offer from Honeywell in Minneapolis, where he worked as a design engineer and program manager for seven years before being nominated to Honeywell’s management program.

“That led me to attend the University of Minnesota where I graduated first in my class with a Master’s of Science in Management of Technology while working full time at Honeywell,” Sarlak said.

But Sarlak’s interest in mechanical engineering and technology management didn’t stop him from pursuing another interest, his fascination with people.

“I've always been fascinated with people, their dating strategies, and how they go about finding, meeting, and ultimately pair bonding with others.  As a child I was intrigued with the idea of whom I would settle down with and how it would come to pass that I would meet ‘her.’

“In my early 20's, I was at a grocery store when I saw an attractive girl walk by who very much caught my eye.  I wanted to approach her, but I was reluctant- and thought, ‘what if she's taken?  What if she's single but I'm not her type?’  I thought about how great it would be if people came with romance status thought bubbles; if you could tell whether someone is single and looking for you,” Sarlak explained to the Iran Times.

The idea for Cupid Radar largely developed from this idea. “A shirt idea came to my mind, but who's going to wear a shirt that says ‘I'm single- approach me!’  A few more ideas flashed through my mind like ‘singles’ rings or jewelry but none were interactive or compelling enough.

“A few seconds later, it hit me: what about a love radar?  A device on which you could fill out a profile, post a picture, and have it continuously monitor your surroundings for a person who matches your criteria in a potential partner.  And this device could have a button that you push to instantly see who’s near you right now that is single and interested in you,” he explained to the Iran Times.

“While I came up with the idea at that moment, the state of the art in technology at that time wasn’t sufficiently developed to bring the idea to fruition practically,” he said.  “Believe it or not, I had to wait 17 years before technology caught up to my idea.  Additionally, socially people would not have been accepting of such an idea back then.  The advent of smart phones with GPS and a few other underlying technological developments and social trends in the past 18 months finally made my dream a possibility and now, a reality.”

Now that technology has caught up with his idea, Sarlak said he believed the time was now for a service like CupidRadar. “I’m thrilled to be on the front edge of the wave of this type of dating and match making.  My belief is we’ll look back in a few years and realize this was the start of a revolution in how people meet,” he told the Iran Times, adding that the service has no monthly fees, contracts, or strings.

User profiles can be created at www.cupidradar.com. As a CupidRadar user, “you can issue a search and see who’s nearby right now that matches your criteria,” Sarlak explained to the Iran Times. He noted that the company takes the privacy of its users very seriously, and added that users can message other users through the dating site without having to give out any of your contact information. “If there’s chemistry, you know it and can decide what to do next,” he said. “If not, maybe you made a friend, a business partner, a future roommate, activity partner, or neighbor.  I want to encourage people to meet. The world is figuratively becoming so small, and you never know who will cross into your radar when and for what reason.”

Sarlak believes people need a service like CupidRadar because a lot of people are not comfortable giving out their contact information to strangers who are actually potential love interests.

“Everyone bashes bars and clubs as a way to meet,” Sarlak said. “Few people are comfortable giving out their phone number or email address to a random interested stranger who approaches you at a grocery store, restaurant, car wash, party or gym.  On-line dating has run its course.  Most people I talk to are tired of filling out long surveys, taking 10 page personality profile tests, dealing with multiple drop down menus, messaging dozens of people, hearing back from a few, and emailing and talking to them ‘on-line’ for weeks before finally meeting face to face only to realize it’s not a good fit.”

While Sarlak wants to help singles meet people with whom they are ultimately compatible, he realizes that marriage is a very sacred decision. “I’m not married.  Getting married and having children are both things I very much want in my life, and I hold them as sacred decisions.  I want to make sure that it’s with the right person at the right time, and let’s just say I’m eager to see who’s going to be crossing into my destiny’s radar.”

About the author: Grace Nasri is the Assistant Editor at Iran Times International, a blogger on Huffington Post and an Editor at the comparison engine FindTheBest.com.

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