We’ve all heard of dating apps, but there’s a tri-state local who had a vision to create a matching app for the family community. Dzhangar Sanzhiev created MatchFamilies to help families make social connections in a welcoming environment. Whether you want to make friends who also have children, connect your kids with others in the community, or are looking for new friends after moving to the area, this app will help facilitate it. Read on to learn more about MatchFamilies, its founder, and how this unique idea came to be.
(Photo credit: @matchfamilies)
Hoboken Girl: Give us the ‘elevator pitch’ for MatchFamilies.
Dzhangar Sanzhiev: What could be more important in your life than your family and your friends? But what happens if you, for example, move to another city or country? You don’t have them nearby anymore, right? Humans are social creatures and we all want to have a good social life but it’s not possible without good friends. Yet, every 4th American feels lonely and isolated (according to Cigna research). The researchers are saying that loneliness is the new Pandemic. Now, finding great friends is hard — and for married people it’s even harder, because more people are involved and more criteria have to match, like common interests or kids’ age. There are tons of apps for singles but nothing for families to help them find friends. It’s so unfair!
Every family has great matches living nearby, maybe a block away. But how would they find them? What are the chances of their paths ever crossing? MatchFamilies app makes it quick and easy. Instead of hoping to meet someone by chance, our users have thousands of chances to meet like-minded people right now. They can find exactly who they are looking for, connect with them, arrange meetups or playground dates, attend regular family-friendly events, find their village, and get access to useful content and tips in one place.
HG: Why do you think Hoboken + Jersey City are great spots for users to try MatchFamilies?
DS: Several reasons — Hoboken + Jersey City are very family-friendly places. There are a lot of expats/fresh immigrants who are looking to make new social connections. There are several big ethnic communities, but I know that most people don’t mind meeting other cool families outside of their ethnic communities. But even within an ethnic community, it’s not easy to find really matching/like-minded families (e.g. with kids of the same age group, people with similar interests, and who are on the same wavelength). Most events organized in Hoboken/JC are not designed to make new social connections (usually it’s when moms bring their kids to have fun and wait until they are done or, if there is a family-friendly event, it’s not common to come as an entire family and get to know others (most people are grouped)). So we want to run inclusive events geared toward bringing families together, where kids could have fun while parents chat and don’t need to watch the kids (we will have people to take care of kids). We’ve been isolated for too long. It’s time to socialize!
HG: Do you have any personal ties to the Hoboken/Jersey City area?
DS: I lived there in the past for a little while, I have close friends still living there, and I’m talking to some investors from Hoboken who are considering investing in MatchFamilies.
HG: What is your academic/professional background?
DS: I’m a former General Manager and a Sales Leader within the international HR consulting space.
HG: What gave you the inspiration to make MatchFamilies? What problem does it help address?
DS: I moved to a new country with my family and I know the pain of building a new social circle from scratch, it takes a lot of time and effort and I thought — how [can I] make it easy? And decided to develop the MatchFamilies app. We are fighting such big problems for our society as loneliness, isolation, and lack of social integration among families worldwide.
HG: Did you create it by yourself or with someone else?
DS: I hired a team of developers and designers to execute my vision.
HG: How many years went into the creation of this service? What was creating it like?
DS: It was a great and exciting experience, full of learning and creativity. It took us about a year to develop, run testing rounds, launch a prototype, then launch the app live on app stores. We’ve been constantly working on enhancing the app and now with our first investors on board, we are getting ready to scale.
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HG: How did you land on the name?
DS: It was rather easy, because we match families.
HG: What has been the most rewarding aspect of having created MatchFamilies?
DS: Thousands of families saying thank you for this app because they were able to meet new people and make friends.
HG: What is your hope for the app 10 years from now?
We are working on developing the app from the “socialization and community platform” into a “useful portal for families” (additionally), where every family will be able to get real value for their day-to-day life, e.g. engage in groups per interests, get discounts, travel and swap houses with their best matches abroad, get access to useful content and resources for families.
HG: Is MatchFamilies available nationally or is it regionally based?
DS: It is available worldwide. We are currently focusing on growing our user base in Europe and the US.
HG: Is MatchFamilies free?
DS: Yes, all core functionality is free. We are working on a subscription model with advanced features and free events for subscribed users.
HG: Would you say it’s similar to a dating app? How is it different?
DS: Our app is for friendships and for families, no dating or anything romantic. We are bringing families together not only in the app but in live family-friendly events. Additionally, we are developing a useful local community of families, where people support each other.
HG: Is there anything else you think our readers should know?
DS: We intentionally keep the app free but would appreciate a donation to help us develop it further (if you like the idea or met a great match). You can download the app, create a profile, and purchase extended access, getting lifelong access to all features (including the future ones) for a $14.99 payment/donation.