Online dating the new norm says SA-born co-founder of Christian app

Paul Rider, co-founder of the SALT Christian dating app which was launched in South Africa earlier this month

Paul Rider, the South African-born and raised co-founder of a free-to-download Christian dating app called SALT is on a mission to provide a platform for Christians to meet, date and marry in South Africa.

He says 30 000 people have downloaded the app since it was launched in South Africa earlier this month. SALT was launched in the UK in 2018  and in Germany and Australia earlier this year.

Rider, who met his wife through online dating, says the stigma of online dating being unromantic and only for people who can’t meet anyone “in real life” has largely fallen away. And with the growth of mobile phones, and the usage of apps increasing, data shows that 40% of people now meet online.

“I think it’s become the new norm and Covid-19 has only accelerated this process,” he said. 

“Traditional dating can be difficult and pressurised for Christians and it is a challenge to meet Christians beyond your own church community. With many churches limiting attendance at services or moving online, interaction has become even more difficult. Connection is needed, and we’ve seen this in the pre-registrations for SALT in South Africa. We’ve had thousands of people sign up and use the app in the last couple of weeks.” 

Commenting on the SA launch of SALT which is the most popular and highest-rated dating app in the UK, rider said: “Having been born and grown up in South Africa, it was always going to be a priority market for me. We feel that SALT has a big opportunity to help Christians in South Africa meet, match, build relationships and get married.”

Having met his wife through online dating he said he saw the need for an improved app that matched people of faith: “Working for a mobile app business at the time I met my wife online, I could see mobile use growing at a very fast rate, but I felt there were a number of problems with the dating solutions that existed for Christians.

“A lot seemed very out of date, old fashioned, and just not relevant. The products were not mobile first, and price points tended to be very expensive; we hoped that SALT could change a lot of this and really make a difference for Christians around the world,” he says. 

SALT is free to download, create a profile, meet people, match and chat, with the option to upgrade to premium for additional features. User safety and privacy is paramount with individuals only being able to receive messages from people they have chosen to match with. 

The app is available on Android and iOS. For more information go to

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