(JTA) — At first glance, K.J. Dhaliwal and Sukhmeet Toor may be unlikely candidates to create the latest Jewish-themed dating app. After all, both men are Sikhs. And among the nine other members of their San Francisco-based team, there are exactly zero Jews on staff.
The pair are behind Dil Mil, described as a “Tinder alternative” for the South Asian community. Since Dhaliwal, 27, and Toor, 33, founded the app in 2015, they claim it has made more than 5 million matches — leading to about one marriage every day.
It’s only logical that Dhaliwal and Toor, two Indian Americans, wanted to build upon their success, and they launched Shalom on Wednesday. But why start with a dating app for the Jewish community?
“The reason we started with the Jewish community was we saw a lot of similarities in terms of the values around community, the values around family, the values around marriage,” Dhaliwal told JTA. “It’s a very tight-knit, high-affinity community, just like the South Asian community.”
In addition, Jews and South Asians both tend to be more highly educated and of a higher socioeconomic status than the average American, said Dhaliwal, a self-described “artificial intelligence/machine learning enthusiast.”
The similarities led the founders to conclude that the technology that had been successful in the South Asian community would also work for single Jews.
Have 2 Sikh Entrepreneurs Created The Next Big Jewish Dating App?
Josefin Dolsten is a former news fellow at the Forward, writing about politics and culture, and editing the Sisterhood blog. She received an MA in Jewish Studies and Comparative Religion from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and a BA in Government from Cornell University. Follow her on Twitter at @josefindolsten.