Wade, a graduate of MIT Sloan School of Management , was a self-described nerd. By the age of 17, he’d won the physics Olympiad in his native Singapore. At 21 he had his first kiss.
“I grew up in an environment where I was suffering from my shyness,” he said. “My mother told me to focus on school and when I’m finally successful and have money to be generous, the girls will come. All of my dating websites were created with that in mind.”
On Miss Travel, this means the “generous” member agrees to pay for the “attractive” member to go on a trip. Through a point system, the “attractive” members will receive frequent flyer miles that can be redeemed for airline tickets or hotel rooms, presumably for travel without a “generous” partner.
In speaking with several reality show producers on shows like “The Bachelor,” Wade learned how much money they spend on creating romantic settings that will stimulate a passionate response from the characters. He wanted to emulate that with his new dating site.
“I have this notion that if people can travel to Paris together or see the sunset in the Caribbean, the chances that they will fall in love are much stronger. It’s a great way for people to share experiences in a setting that is new to both of them.”
Miss Travel quietly launched on April 9 and Wade claims it amassed 11,500 users in just two weeks. Ninety-nine percent of the “generous” members are men and, despite the website’s name, about seven percent of those are looking for other men.
“Perhaps the idea of travel is a more positive allure than my previous websites,” Wade said of Miss Travel’s popularity. “The focus on ‘sugar daddies’ may have negative connotations to some, but when you think about traveling it has a snazziness to it.”
Snazzy as it may be, not everyone is excited about the new site.
Lindy West of Jezebel questioned if it’s a good idea for a girl to go off into the unknown with a stranger she met online.