By Amanda Fox
March 10, 2003 | Looking to share a candlelit dinner and intimate conversation about the latest microarray scanner or EDC technology with someone special? A new Internet dating service has popped up on the Web, touting itself as “the first biopharma and healthcare meeting place.” Confidential Colleagues (CC) offers the standard fare of generic dating sites but specializes in the biopharma and clinical health-care communities.
Working in clinical research and pharma sales, Confidential Colleagues Inc. founder Christian Crane, Jr. discovered that the inherent “confidentiality” of the biopharma scene was inhibiting socializing, says Linda Christie, the company’s CFO.
“It seemed that everyone feared the inevitable declassification of people working together and carrying on a relationship,” Christie says. “Funny thing was, many of the professionals that Mr. Crane worked with were carrying on relationships -- sometimes as married couples -- and they were still kept anonymous. The women were keeping their maiden names.”
CC originally focused more on networking than dating, but after two years of planning, Crane’s idea blossomed into www.confidentialcolleagues.com, which went live on Jan. 3.
Just a couple of months out of the gate, Christie estimates CC has more than 500 members, 20 percent with paid membership. Clinical research tops the chart as most popular occupational category. “In fact, we have seen a wildfire effect from the ‘CRA’ and ‘data management’ occupations in biopharma companies,” she says. Most members range in age from 24 to 42, with the genders split evenly and a “9 percent and growing diversified-lifestyle group.”
Playing with Matches
The site offers a free 30-day trial with full access to all services, such as instant messaging, chat boards, photo upload options, and Ideal Match, which matches user-provided information profiles in the database and sends e-mail notification to the user when a match is found. Following the 30-day trial, membership can be purchased for $29.95 per month. Longer-term memberships have a sliding scale fee.
Future plans for the site include "professional parties" hosted by a CC representative, caricature profile photos, a proprietary e-mail system for complete confidentiality and control, and an affiliation program drawing together job boards, biopharma portals, and associations. The company also has plans to branch out into other professions, including law, accounting, and politics.