Actresses Hailee Steinfeld, Cara Delevingne, actress/singer Selena Gomez and recording artist Taylor Swift attend the 2015 MTV Video Music Awards at Microsoft Theater on August 30, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. Actresses Hailee Steinfeld, Cara Delevingne, actress/singer Selena Gomez and recording artist Taylor Swift attend the 2015 MTV Video Music Awards at Microsoft Theater on August 30, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. For those whose #squadgoals reach as high as Taylor Swift's star-studded squad, there's Raya. (Photo: Jason Merritt/Getty Images)

This dating app is harder to get into than Harvard

Famous people use it to meet other famous people, and the waiting list is 100,000 people long.

You might call it the Ivy League of online dating, but for users of Raya, a social network patronized by the elite, it's simply a way to carry on a healthy dating life without blasting their private lives on ordinary sites like Tinder and Match.

It's called Raya. The word means "friend" in Hebrew, and it was founded by a thirtysomething, self-described introvert named Daniel Gendelman. While staying in Israel in 2014 and trying unsuccessfully to date online, Gendelman came up with the idea of an exclusive, invitation-only dating app for the A-list. He launched it in Los Angeles a year later, and it's now garnered a waiting list 100,000 strong.

So naturally, this trusty news reporter can't try it out. (My A-list card expired around 2002.) But it's rumored to have attracted the likes of Raven-Symoné, Kelly Osbourne, John Mayer, Jeremy Piven and Cara Delevingne. Famous people need love, too!

Actress Laverne Cox and Kelly Osbourne were among the stars sitting front row at the Idan Cohen fashion show during Spring 2016 New York Fashion Week in Manhattan. Laverne Cox (left) and Kelly Osbourne sat front row at the Idan Cohen fashion show. Osbourne is rumored to be on the new app. (Photo: Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images for NYFW: The Shows)

It's intentionally built to stay small and intimate, while it grows at a moderate pace. Raya employs only 13 people full-time, and its founder, Gendelman, rarely speaks publicly about his creation. Last week, the 34-year-old told The New York Times that he didn't intend for the site to be about helping wealthy people find someone to accompany them on elaborate yacht excursions. Rather, he said, it's “for passionate people anywhere in the world who have something they want to share with other members, and can do it in a respectful way.”

The founder is not exactly new to the startup game. In 2013, he launched Yello, a sort of travel/dating combo app.


Now that he's branched out into the VIP set, Gendelman insists you needn't have movie-star looks or a massive Instagram following to be accepted into Raya. But you do have to be invited, and in many ways, social capital can achieve that. “I tried to solve a big problem for a small amount of people,” he said.

It's also not just about dating. Gendelman's interest lies in "curating digital dinner parties, so to speak, and that comes in all forms.”

So if your dinner parties look like a scene out of "Real Housewives of Beverly Hills," Raya might be the next frontier in your social life.

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