Senior Ryan Eghrari vividly remembers staring at a page full of matrices at 3 a.m., looking for a solution to what felt like an impossible problem.

If he couldn’t figure it out now, he would have to accept the fact that his business idea wasn’t going anywhere. To create Six List, the dating website he envisioned, he needed an algorithm that would play matchmaker — a system that would match couples based on a ranked list of people they liked. He and his friend Aidan Winters had exhausted every algorithm they could think of.

As he wracked his brain for something new, he traced triangles on his notebook. Staring at the triangles, it clicked. He had an algorithm that worked.

“I literally couldn’t believe it,” Eghrari said. “I was scampering around the room, like there's no way this just worked!”

Eghrari started working on Six List at the end of his sophomore year when he switched his major from business to computer science. What started as a conversation with friends has now become a functioning website with hundreds of college student users from University of Richmond, SUNY Cortland and Penn State University. Eghrari launched the website for a brief trial run last spring, and then, after making improvements this summer, launched it again this fall.

“Ryan is a bit eccentric, but he’s really intelligent,” senior Wyatt Karch, a friend of Eghrari’s and a Six List user, said. “His goal has always been to run his own business. He is not really the work-for-someone-else type.”

Creating his own business required Eghrari to make sacrifices. With limited programming experience, he found himself spending extensive time teaching himself the coding skills required to build the website.

But Eghrari’s obsessive passion for what he does was clear when he talked about the inspiration behind and the value of Six List. His hands busily traced shapes on his Mac laptop as he explained that the business operated on the assumption that there was high demand for love. When given ranked lists of whom users like, Six List determined who everyone should be with by generating the combination of relationships that will result in the most people being the happiest.

Eghrari has also had help from his friend Aidan Winters, a senior double-majoring in computer science and biology, who is now paid on a weekly basis for his work on Six List.

“It is a way for the time I would put in to school jobs, to be put into this,” Winters said.

Eghrari plans to continue Six List post-graduation. Winters said he was looking for a job unrelated to Six List but could see himself becoming employed by Eghrari if he creates a financially sustainable company. Currently, Eghrari isn’t making any money from Six List, which is reliant on his savings, but he said he was confident and optimistic about the future.

“My grandpa always tells me if you do something really good that helps people, the money will just come, and I subscribe to his ideology,” Eghrari said. “I think if you get impatient, you get in a dangerous place. What I’m trying to build will get built.”

Contact writer Rachel Bringewatt at rachel.bringewatt@richmond.edu.

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