Weave is like Tinder, but for networking instead of dating.

You may have heard of the “Seattle Freeze.” It’s the notion that those from the Emerald City are less friendly to strangers, particularly to those from another state.

Whether or not it’s actually true is up for debate. But now there’s data from a networking app proving that the freeze may be a legitimate phenomenon.

Weave is an app that allows users to swipe through cards of nearby people that they could potentially meet up with. If two people happen to swipe “yes” with each other, Weave opens up a conversation channel between them to help initiate an in-person conversation. It’s like Tinder, but for networking instead of just dating.

Weave, which raised $630,000 in seed funding led by Vulcan Capital last month, provided GeekWire with some interesting back-end data comparing users from Seattle and San Francisco:

  • Seattleites swipe yes (invitation to meet) once for every 10 “no’s.” Compare that to San Francisco and New York, where the yes:no ratio is 1:5.
  • The average San Francisco user matches with twice as many people as a Seattle user.
  • Seattle has 10 percent more “lurkers” than San Francisco, and 5 percent more lurkers than New York (Lurkers are people who use the app, but only swipe no on people).

Weave founder Brian Ma, who previously co-founded Decide.com, told us that the app is seeing the same level of engagement from users in Seattle and San Francisco.

Seattle skyline and Rainier at sunset
(Photo by Kevin Lisota)

“But people in Seattle just tend to be less open to meetings,” Ma noted.

Ma, who recently moved to the Bay Area after living in Seattle for 20 years, said the data definitely proves that the “Seattle Freeze” is real. But he doesn’t necessarily think that Seattleites are unfriendly.

“It’s more that people in San Francisco and New York City have a mentality that’s all about networking, all about working, and all about discovering new opportunities,” Ma explained. “Seattle is this smaller, nascent tech community that’s still growing into something like Silicon Valley, but it’s not quite there yet.”

As someone who graduated from the University of Washington, worked at Seattle-based companies like Microsoft and Zillow, and became entrenched in the startup community here, Ma said he’s a huge supporter of Seattle becoming a giant tech center for companies big and small.

Weave founder Brian Ma.
Weave founder Brian Ma.

Yet his experience living in San Francisco and working with Weave has provided some insight into what qualities Seattleites should have if the city really wants to become a global tech hub.

“When I moved here, one of the biggest culture shocks was seeing how every person is open to networking, to talking about their ideas,” Ma said. “People [in Seattle] need to realize that networking and sharing ideas is what you should be doing. It’s necessary for a giant innovation economy.”

Ma started Weave because he was frustrated with how difficult it was to meet people in the Seattle startup community. “There was a giant discoverability problem,” he says. The original idea actually came from Zillow Digs, which had a “hot or not” type of app for houses. Once he saw how quickly Tinder caught on with users, Ma knew that Weave could work for entrepreneurs and other professionals that wanted an easy way to link up.

weave31In less than a year after Weave launched, the app is now helping set up an average of 100 in-person meetings per day. Ma said that there are two primary reasons for the early traction: Networking has been “traditionally archaic,” and having a strong network is more important than ever.

“People are making job changes five or six times in their career now, and each time you make a job change you need a new network of people who will buy your product, support and mentor you, etc.,” he said. “So your network today has become something that is possibly even more valuable than whether or not you can do the job or not.”

Weave pulls in data from LinkedIn and uses a simple algorithm to help users match up with people that they’re more likely to be interested in meeting. In terms of competition, Ma said there are a few apps doing something similar, but nothing quite like Weave.

“The competition is parties, events and spam emails,” Ma said. “Those are my biggest direct competitors.”

Check out Weave on iOS and Android.

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  • ScottSticklin

    Oh grasshoppas,
    The “Seattle freeze” is a cultural artifact of western Washington, in part predating statehood.

  • Pantry Pest

    “But he doesn’t necessarily think that Seattleites are unfriendly.”

    He’s wrong. I’ve lived in seven states and Eastern Europe. Spent a year in NY. A few months in DC. Visited 40 states. Of all the places I’ve lived or have visited, Seattleites are the most unfriendly lot I’ve seen.

    And to preempt you, yes, I know that I am free to move.

    • Slaggggg

      Please move.

      • Pantry Pest

        Thank you for making my point. Just another Seattle arsehole.

  • http://eatplaythaw.com Becky Henchman

    As someone who blogs about how we can all thaw the Seattle Freeze, I find this article fascinating. Even professionally, it appears that we Seattleites seem to struggle with habitual hesitation when it comes to taking the next step toward meaningful connections. I look forward to exploring Weave. I think it might just be a social media tool that will help us increase our face-to-face connections rather than keep us disconnected at home. Good job Mr. Ma.

  • balls187

    I couldn’t GAF about solving the seattle freeze, just stop cruising in the GD passing lane.

    • Slaggggg

      Yeah, seriously. Now THAT is a real issue.

  • 100_people

    Weave? Never even head of it. How many people in Seattle actually use it? Is Weave’s data any good? Or is this just free PR for them based on junk data?

    • Slaggggg


      • Pantry Pest


  • http://www.belladomain.com/ Sandy Jones-Kaminski

    As someone that has had the opportunity to live in both places (happily now back in San Fran again after almost 5 yrs in Seattle, this time by way of Chicago), I have plenty of empirical data to support what the Weave app proves. In fact, encountering the Freeze motivated me to, a) start hosting my own networking events there known as Pay It Forward Parties, and b) write my book, I’m at a Networking Event–Now What???, where the phenomenon gets several mentions. Something Ma failed to mention, though, is that in San Francisco, it’s not just about networking, it’s more about helping each other and connecting all the people you meet to the resources (contacts, knowledge, ideas, etc) they need to achieve their goals. I’m looking forward to checking out his app!

  • margaret Bartley

    Just because people in Seattle are not constantly “networking”, i.e. monetizing their social life, doesn’t mean they are less unfriendly to outsiders. That is a lack of logic.

    The “data” upon which this article is based has nothing to do with whether a person is less likely to be friendly to people not from Seattle. So why bring it in?

  • http://brettgreene.co BrettGreene

    Taylor, you know I love your writing, but I had to comment on this as being BS. The Seattle freeze is either a myth, or only happens to people who are focused too much on what others can give them rather than what they can give others.

    Saying it’s true because of how people in Seattle use a networking app versus how San Franciscans use it is also not proving that it’s for real. It proves the users in Seattle of one app don’t use it as much for connecting as users in another city. 1 out of 10 VS 1 out of 5 sounds interesting. Was the survey sample the same size and taken over the same time period. Even if it was, this is a great PR angle to get a story written to promote a cool app, but that’s it.

    Every city has people who are warm and people who are cold. People talking about a “Freeze” need to get over it, move on, and make things great in their own lives rather than wasting time whining about what others aren’t doing for them.

    By hustling, helping others, and hoping for good things to happen, I’ve experienced more amazing experiences and deep relationships in 23 months in Seattle I’ve experienced deeper relationships than I have through years of living in Las Vegas, Los Angeles, and Boulder.

    I’m an evangelist for the Seattle anti-freeze. I moved to Seattle in September 2012 knowing 5 people from high school and college from Las Vegas who had moved here. When I chose to move to Seattle I reached out to my extensive network (who I’ve been helping and giving to for years) and asked for connections to anyone they knew in Seattle to help me build a professional and personal network here.

    Through asking, I began to actively build my Seattle network, and my conversations began with asking how I could help my new connections, not how they could help me.

    The first 6 meetings I had with with people I reached out to in Seattle were awesome, and 5 of the 6 refused to let me pay my bill or the bill for both of us when we met for coffee, lunch or dinner. Six out of six repeatedly said “welcome to Seattle!” and verbally acknowledged that they actively welcome new comers to the city because of of the negative “Seattle Freeze” hype.

    In less than two years of living in Seattle, I’ve co-founded the fastest growing event group in Seattle history , which is currently the largest monthly event in Seattle (Seattle Tech Meetup). I also just joined Project Bionic as a partner and finally found my dream job. In both cases, my partners are warm (some would say ‘hot’ in the startup community) Seattleites that I did not know when I moved here.

    My success in Seattle has happened partially through my efforts and ideas, and mostly by everyone I’ve met in Seattle supporting me, my ideas, and sharing their resources openly with me. The majority of people I’ve met in the startup community have been immensely helpful to me, love this city, and are dedicated to making the community better for everyone.

    I encourage everyone, especially the Seattle media, to look for positive examples of Seattleites helping each other and new comers rather than perpetrating this “Seattle Freeze” negative concept. It’s a tired headline that does an injustice to the people of the warmest city I’ve lived in. (Boulder is a close second though).

    This is the most heartful, intelligent, civilized, humanist-driven city I’ve experienced, and I’ve spent time in most states across this country. There are other great cities, though none I’ve known offer this level of both opportunity and people honestly supporting the innovation and dreams of others.

    If you think you’re a victim of the “Seattle Freeze” I invite you to continuously ask yourself “How can I help everyone I meet to get what they want?”

    The more you help others get what they want, the faster you’ll get what you want. That’s how you melt any concept of a “freeze” – be the warmth, do not blame anyone else for not going the extra mile for you before you do it for them, live with an open heart, be actively grateful for what you have, and you’ll attract the warmth.

    I look forward to checking out Weave to make networking even better, but don’t buy the “Freeze” hype.

    • Jon Doe

      You must be well-rounded …

  • http://www.christopherbudd.com Christopher Budd

    There two things I dislike about discussions about the “Seattle freeze”.

    First, the equation of this with “unfriendliness”. Willingness to engage with strangers and being friendly are two different things. It’s more accurate to say that this phenomenon reflects “outgoingness” versus “friendliness”.

    Second, there’s always this implicit judgment that more outgoing is better and less outgoing is worse. Neither is better or worse per se, they’re just different. I know plenty of people who think that less outgoing is better and more outgoing worse because they don’t want to feel the intrusion of strangers.

    People regularly take these two points and then turn around and use them as arguments about why things need to change. You see that in this article:

    “Yet his experience living in San Francisco and working with Weave has provided some insight into what qualities Seattleites should have if the city really wants to become a global tech hub.”

    I really disagree with that. The culture here is what it is. Many of us like it and don’t want to change it. I think a lot of people don’t want to be a global tech hub at the cost of changing that.

  • suesmaller

    Seattle freeze is real. We all know it is. The real problem with living here (other than lack of people skills in the natives) is how impossible it is to find your way through society here. What I mean is, if you act assertively, you will find yourself dropped. This is especially bad if you need to get the right meds from a doctor. If you try to ask, they will drop you as a patient for being too pushy.

    Frankly, I think that everyone here is running away from something; that is why they are so unprofessional and lacking in social graces.

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