Learn about a Stanford student's ambitions for his new online dating network, which he aims to expand to 100 colleges in a year, and a Palo Alto teen's key lime pie fundraiser to support local families in need.
CRUSHING IT ... An online dating network that recently launched at Stanford University aims to help students overcome an obstacle many people face when it comes to finding love: the fear of rejection. Unlike Tinder, Bumble or OkCupid, which connect strangers with one another with the help of user profiles, Ishan Gandhi's Link works within a preexisting community. Gandhi hopes to establish his network at 100 colleges and universities across the U.S. and have a quarter-million users this time next year. As of Wednesday afternoon, 2,250 Stanford students were signed up. The rising sophomore's idea for the app came through conversations with friends who had crushes but lacked the confidence to pursue them. Gandhi, a computer science major, started working on Link after classes ended earlier this year while in his hometown of London and rolled out the app earlier this month. Using their Stanford email address, students can fill out a form with their name and the names of up to three romantic interests once a month. Any two students whose names match up on the app receive an email. (The first round of matches were sent out a week after the app rolled out.) Users also have the option to include their crush's email address, and Link will send that person a message. An algorithm connects students whose names are a match on the app and no human ever looks at the data, Gandhi said. The app comes at a time when more people are spending most of their time at home and itching for social connections. Gandhi has secured a $50,000 investment through the father of a friend he met through the university's BlockChain club that will help pay server costs and build more durable databases. He plans to take a year off from Stanford to expand Link (which he said was an easy decision considering the academic year is kicking off in a nontraditional fashion).
KEY LIME PIE FOR A CAUSE ... Tyler Wong loves to bake. The 9th grader and Duveneck-St. Francis resident is now selling his signature dessert — key lime pies — and using money from sales to help people in need. "I started baking when I was in 6th grade. I really liked baking for my friends and loved seeing their reactions when they tasted my desserts. During the COVID-19 crisis, I wanted to help families in need. I decided to donate to Ecumenical Hunger Program in East Palo Alto, helping to feed families struggling to make ends meet," he said. From Aug. 9-15 alone, he baked 14 key lime pies, raising $160 for EHP. To buy a pie or a slice, contact [email protected]