Eight years ago, just before the dating app Hinge started up, Julia Silva invested some of her spare time to serve as a beta tester. Her job was to help try out its software from a consumer perspective.
That investment paid handsome dividends for Ms. Silva when it came to a man named Brian Whelan, whose profile she noticed during her brief tenure on the site.
“He was a few years older than me and working in finance,” said Ms. Silva, 30, a business development manager in New York at Allergan Aesthetics, a company based in Irvine, Calif., focused on aesthetics brands and products like Botox.
“Brian was the first real man I ever met,” said Ms. Silva, who was born in Salvador, Brazil, and graduated with a business degree from the College of New Jersey, from which she also received an aesthetics license.
After two weeks of electronic chatting, Mr. Whelan pushed for an in-person meeting.
“We have to meet up, or I don’t want to chat anymore,” said Mr. Whelan, 33, a vice president for MUFG Securities Americas, a Japanese bank in New York that specializes in financial services and corporate banking.
Ms. Silva arranged to meet Mr. Whelan for a 7 p.m. get-together on a Thursday night at the Back Room, a speakeasy-style bar on the Lower East Side.
“My friends thought I was crazy for going into the city alone to meet up with a guy from an app,” Ms. Silva said. “But I gave them all his information and promised to text with updates.”
“Hey, I was about to graduate from college,” she added with a chuckle, “and my weekends were sacred.”