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Finnish Christian dating app expands abroad

Valo (meaning Light) was launched last year and currently has about 130,000 users in Finland, the developers say.

The app is based on the Kotisatama online dating site, which has been in operation for almost 20 years. Image: Matias Väänänen / Yle

A Christian dating app developed in Finland will become available in Sweden and Italy over the coming summer and autumn.

The app, called Valo (meaning Light), was launched last year and currently has about 130,000 users in Finland, the developers said.

The launch attracted considerable media attention as Valo was reported to be a dating service for heterosexuals only. Christian newspaper Kirkko ja Kaupunki (City and Church) wrote (siirryt toiseen palveluun) (in Finnish) that "a new dating app will help heterosexuals with Christian values find a life partner."

Tabloild Iltalehti has since reported (siirryt toiseen palveluun) that the profiles of people looking for same-sex partners have been deleted from the app.

Valo's founder Miika-Markus Järvelä and board member Erkka Simolin told Yle however that the app's policies on same-sex users has since changed, adding that Valo is a dating service for all members of the Christian faith.

"The service was developed 20 years ago based on the spirit and ideas of the time. Currently, the service is being developed according to our mission and vision. The service is constantly evolving and adapting according to usage," the developers replied in a joint email to Yle.

The app is based on the Kotisatama online dating site, which has been in operation for almost 20 years.

They added that about half of Valo users are men and half are women, with the majority aged between 25 and 50 years old.