From UT students looking for a quick hook-up to those looking for a love connection, one website is attempting to form relationships because, as it claims, “Horns were meant to be
Business freshman Mark Kilaghbian started Hookuphorns.com in October 2013. The dating website specifically caters to students and matches them according to their desires in a relationship.
“I thought that maybe by making this website, I could try and connect people,” Kilaghbian said. “I thought that making it UT specific would make people more comfortable. That was the driving force behind it.”
Business sophomore Kylie Adler is a friend of Kilaghbian and a member of Hook Up Horns. Adler was there when the idea for Hook Up Horns was initially born.
“One day, Kilaghbian and I were sitting in the SAC between classes, and he told me that he was interested in developing an app or something of that sort,” Adler said. “I was on my laptop and saw some post on the UT Facebook page about a guy looking for a girlfriend based off of his ‘requirements,’ and [Kilaghbian] was inspired.”
Hook Up Horns took shape as a dating website that allowed students to personalize what kind of relationship they desire. When creating an account on the website, a user is allowed to specify whether they’re looking for a date, a “hook-up” or just a friendship.
“Hook up Horns was meant to encompass all types of relationships,” Kilaghbian said. “I think, a lot of the times, the problem is that people have a hard time moving from the friendship stage to the relationship stage, or they meet someone at a bar, and they hit it off, but it just never quite gets to that point. So it’s good to have a platform where everyone knows that [a relationship] is the goal.”
Although Hook Up Horns is designed for students, there are no restrictions keeping non-students from joining. The site only requires a name, a birthday, an email and a ZIP code for users to join.
Once Hook Up Horns was ready for launch, Kilaghbian and his friends advertised around campus. They put up posters on campus and in West Campus, in dorms, posted the website on Facebook pages and passed out flyers to people on the street.
Although the site has advertisements and an option for users to pay to promote their profiles, Hook Up Horns does not turn a profit. Kiaghbian said he has no plans to make money off of the website.
“It’s not really meant to be profitable,” Kilaghbian said. “It’s just helping me get my feet wet as far as web design and coding goes.”
Since its launch in October, the website has acquired more than 200 members. Radio-television-film freshman Chanelle Gibson recently joined the site after hearing about it through the UT Class of 2017 Facebook page.
“It’s hard to be forward with people in person when you don’t know what they’re looking for,” Gibson said. “It’s easier online when you do know what they’re looking for.”
Unlike Gibson, who has not yet met anyone through the site, Adler said the site helped her make a connection.
“Hook Up Horns did help me meet a guy I had a relationship with,” Adler said. “We met in person at a football game and later realized, through [Kilaghbian], that we were mutual friends of his and had a 100 percent match on the website.”
Kilaghbian wants to continue pursuing the online dating market. He currently has plans to come out with a dating-themed app, but hopes Hook Up Horns will catch on with each new class of students.
“In Texas, online dating hasn’t really taken a hold yet,” Kilaghbian said. “I think by introducing Hook Up Horns, as we move forward, it will get more and more popular with underclassmen who will be more comfortable with this kind of thing.”