On Nov. 1, Akshat Totla, Class of 2024, announced on NYU Abu Dhabi’s private Facebook group Room of Requirement
that he has created Blind, a social app that matches users with each other in hopes of fostering meaningful relationships in the college community.
Currently in its prototype stage, the app will initially be open only to the NYUAD community and will feature two modes — friendship and love. For both modes, users will first have to answer a series of questions related to their interests, with love mode going even more in depth about one’s personality. Then, the app will automatically pair up users with similar interests, allowing them to engage in an anonymous conversation for up to 48 hours. If both parties enjoy speaking with each other and would like to continue developing their relationship, they can respond affirmatively to revealing the other person’s identity and will get on each other’s friend list. But if one person declines, the entire conversation will be deleted and their partner’s respective identity will never be revealed.
Totla, the creator of Blind, first came up with the idea in April when he arrived on campus as a freshman in the middle of Covid-19. Having spent the fall semester online and with many events still held online, he found it incredibly difficult to meet new people outside of his existing friendship circles.
Another problem that he identified was dating. He tried going on dating apps such as Tinder and Bumble, but was quickly let down by their superficiality. “You literally swipe left or right on people within seconds, you don’t care about … what their personality is, you literally just care about their physical appearance.”
It is this desire to forge deeper connections that propelled him to create Blind. Built on anonymity, the app allows users to talk with each other and examine their compatibility before deciding to meet in person. To facilitate conversations beyond the surface level, Blind also features helpful prompts and cues.
Working together with Aakarsh Singh, Class of 2025, Totla is hoping for a late December or early January launch. While the Computer Science and Business, Organizations and Society double major admits that it is a rather ambitious schedule, he works hard to balance his venture with his academics. He has also entered the startup in The Entrepreneurs Challenge
, a springboard for promising NYU startups.
Despite still being in its early stages, Totla is confident that the app will be a positive addition to the campus community. Thus far, more than 200 people have expressed interest in the app and will get early access to it once it is launched.
Totla urges the NYUAD community to be on the lookout for Blind’s launch: “All of us face this problem [of making friends] and we really want to solve it so that we can all have a thriving social life that we can take charge of.”
As of Nov. 13, the Blind website
is live and those who have expressed interest in it can check their position on the waitlist by entering their email addresses. They are also looking to recruit a team of app developers, both UI/UX designers and backend engineers to bring the app to life.
Charlie Fong is Senior News Editor. Email her at email@example.com.