CitySwoon was already reinventing speed dating in Canberra long before COVID came and upended everything.
Gone are the days of sitting in a room talking to stranger after stranger, without any idea of whether you had anything in common.
"It was like swiping on Tinder but in real life," CitySwoon's Brett Couston said.
Instead, CitySwoon events have an element of matchmaking involved, whittling down the number of potential dates and increasing the likelihood of a match.
"It also leads to a more of an organic feel, like you're meeting people in a bar," Mr Couston said.
With the rise of online dating, it was evident the dating world was going digital, long before COVID. This is why CitySwoon decided to look into taking its speed dating service online even before the pandemic and the company was well on its way to launching a custom platform when COVID hit.
Unlike a Zoom, the platform allows for both group chat - so that the speed dating hosts can chat to everyone at once - and private calls so participants can still have that one-on-one experience.
It's been so successful that the company is running almost as many virtual events as they were hosting live events in 2019. It's also seen CitySwoon expand overseas and it has started looking at what it could offer regional areas.
"Some people are still really embracing the virtual world," Mr Couston said.
"If you're going to meet someone face-to-face at a cafe, you want to make sure that the meeting is going to be as good as it can. A virtual chat does give you a better idea of what a person is going to be like."
After each date, participants rate their date out of five. Mr Couston says 24 per cent of dates give each other a mutual five-star rating, and as everyone goes on eight dates in a night, there's almost 95 per cent of people getting a mutual four-or-five-star rating during an event.
"We've had people talking on video chat for three and four hours after the initial event. Humans are social, so we need to be chatting to each other and communicating," he said.
"But also, the events are ticketed so you know people are genuinely there to meet someone single. They're not just doing it to fill time. They're invested in being at the event and meeting people."
Taking the search for love offline could also help avoid getting caught out by a romance scam. During 2020, there were 65 reports of dating and romance scams were made in the ACT, incurring a loss of $468,474.
On Friday, Minister for Consumer Affairs Shane Rattenbury warned Canberrans to beware of scammers seeking to steal their heart and money ahead of Valentine's Day.
"People need to be aware that online dating websites are not the only method of contact romance scammers use to con their victims, and that there are some simple warning signs to watch out for," he said.
"There has been a growing trend for romance scammers to use apps like Google Hangouts, or online games such as Words with Friends to scam people who may not have been looking for an online relationship."