IBTIMES.CO.UK - Feb 26 - Nimbuzz, a popular messaging app with 150M users in 200 countries worldwide, has launched Masque, a new anonymous dating app. The app matches users based on their age, gender and location, and users can flirt anonymously with new matches through messaging. "I'd much rather be anonymous on a dating site. You have a chance to reveal your identity later once you've found out more about that person," said Nimbuzz CEO Vikas Saxena. Nimbuzz's biggest markets are currently in India, South Asia, the Middle East and North Africa. According to Unicef, arranged marriages still make up 90% of all marriages in India, and many people are nervous about posting public profiles in case their friends and families disapprove.
BUSINESS INSIDER - Feb 26 - The League is a new dating app that uses its own algorithm to judge whether members are cool and ambitious enough to join. Right now it's in beta stage, so not everyone can get into it. Current members have all been carefully selected by creator Amanda Bradford's team using the code. It's predominantly populated by doctors, lawyers, and tech execs. What sets The League apart from its counterparts is its reliance on LinkedIn to determine user credentials. The League just raised $2.1M in funding. It's soon to expand to New York and there are plans to move to London too.
GLOBALNEWS - Feb 26 - 30-year-old CEO Justin McLeod said Hinge is more like meeting people at a “friend’s house party” than the random matching that goes on in many other apps in the marketplace. Hinge shows a list of about 20 potential dates once a day that’s curated from friends of friends. Toronto is the first Canadian city where Hinge launched on today.
FORTUNE - Feb 26 - Robyn Exton wanted to help a gay girlfriend who had gone through a break-up get back on the market. She created Her, a free app for women looking to date other women. The idea is to create a community for lesbians looking to make friends, chat, and date. Dating apps specifically for gay women are limited. The most prominent is Brenda, an app similar to Grindr that was created by a man. Exton herself is gay, and says her San Francisco-based team is made up of four queer women and two straight guys. Exton originally named the service Dattch, a blend of the words “date” and “catch.”
ACCC.GOV - Feb 25 - The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has joined an international initiative to protect consumers by sweeping dating sites for misleading offers, unclear pricing policies or consumer contracts with unfair terms. The ACCC also looked at what measures dating sites have in place to protect consumers against scammers. Here is the latest Online dating industry report.
SF GATE - Feb 17 - GlutenfreeSingles.com is a fairly new niche dating site that was created in July 2013. It now has ~25K users, ~6K of them are active on a weekly basis. “Niche sites are like traditional dating on steroids,” said Eli Finkel, a psychologist at Northwestern University who studies relationships. "The idea is to meet someone who is especially compatible." Niche sites help cut down some of the noise of dating online. Sam Yagan, head of Match Group, is skeptical that sites catering to smaller niches will really take off. “For one, the marketing is very hard,” he said. “How do you even reach a gluten-free single? It’s just crazy.”
PR NEWSWIRE - Feb 25 - The number of registered users across Jiayuan's platforms including Jiayuan.com, iZhenxin.com and qiuai.com surpassed the 140M milestone, including 126.5M accounts from Jiayuan.com. According to statistics compiled by iResearch, Jiayuan.com is China's undisputed leader in online dating, ranking first in terms of daily visitors, time spent by users, pages viewed and number of visits in 2014.
BLOOMBERG - Feb 25 - “All eyes are on Tinder right now,” said Mark Brooks, a dating-website analyst and consultant. “They’ll set the tone for monetization.” Tinder has been testing Tinder Plus, which also lets people swipe for matches around the world, at different prices up to $20 a month, depending on the features. Sam Yagan, CEO of IAC’s personals division, said it’s fine even if there isn’t widespread adoption of Tinder Plus. “The vast majority of people will decide not to use it,” Yagan said. “We’re in the first inning on monetization. We’re trying to figure out which features users care about.” Tinder could bring in $45M in revenue in 2015, Oppenheimer & Co. estimates.
BOSTON BUSINESS JOURNAL - Feb 24 - Wigo, a Boston-based app that lets college students find parties and meet new people, has raised $1.5M in venture funding, bringing its total valuation to $14M. The company now has $2M in funding.
This post also appears on InternetDatingInvestments.
CREWEGUARDIAN - Feb 25 - Zoosk has been ordered to ensure it places its ads appropriately after they appeared on an app for young fans of One Direction. The app - a game called Date One Direction (D1D) - showed banner and full-screen ads from Zoosk featuring images of men and women and help to "meet local singles!". The free D1D cartoon-style game, which is classified 9+ in Apple's app classification system, gives fans the chance to build virtual relationship with members of the boyband. Childnet International complained to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) that the ads encouraged children to talk to strangers and had been inappropriately and irresponsibly placed within the app.
PR WEB - Feb 24 - Fortu is a new dating app that launched in January. "Fortu cuts the chit-chat and makes dates happen,” says Jason White, Founder of Fortu. Users create dates with a specific date and time. Then they choose the lucky one from the list of users interested in going on the posted date.
COURTLAND BROOKS - Feb 24 - Courtland Brooks completed a white paper overview of the various options you have for moderation of your internet dating service. i.e. text, photos, profiles, sentiment. We considered the key factors, and key players, and this little white paper summarizes our thoughts.
You can grab the white paper here.
OPW INTERVIEW - Feb 24 - Ivan Fatovic is the Founder and CEO of Modamily, a very very unusual kind of 'dating' service, if you can call it that. His service introduces people who want to have a baby together. Nothing unusual there, right. But there's more. Modamily is for 'modern families.' For people who want kids, without the commitment and burden of a marriage. Learn more about co-parenting here. It's a fascinating concept and these are super high-value connections of course. So what does Modamily charge? $Thousands perhaps. A mere $30 a month. Here's my interview with Ivan.
What is Modamily?
Modamily is where people ready to have children and start a family meet. We work with the full spectrum of family arrangements, both modern and traditional, straight and LGBT. After users tell us a little bit about who they are and what they're looking for, we make match recommendations using a variety of criteria, from religion, age, education, income, ethnicity, etc.
What's your founding story. What inspired you?
I was out to drinks in NYC with some of my 30 something girlfriends. They were all going in and out of casual relationships from people they met on Match.com, Tinder, or OKCupid. They were all successful professionals who started to feel the pressures of the biological clock. They wanted to have kids but did not have a partner to make it happen and did not want to do it alone. I started looking online and found that there wasn’t a great site for this niche. We became the first co-parenting site based in the USA and the first in the world to use compatibility as a matching tool.
How many people are looking for this kind of relationship?
Modamily’s membership is about 65% women, and 62% of the women are under 35. About 20% of the site is LGBT and I think that is a segment that will grow. I think we are seeing a seismic shift in what defines a family. More and more people are open to having kids and marriage is not necessarily a pre-requisite. We make romantic connections too, but the key thing is we are a community where everyone is ready to have children and start a family, and how you do that is completely up to you.
What have been your major challenges in starting up Modamily?
I think we are disrupting the way people think about family and opening up possibilities they never thought of before. We are challenging existing norms, and it takes time for new concepts to take hold. Given our growth rate, I’m confident that we are starting to impact the market.
And your growing pains?
We've been fortunate to get our name out there and become the leader in the industry, but the growth has been organic and scattered. We are now putting more effort to gain more usership in target markets, starting with NYC and then LA and SF. Previously, I didn't have the chance to focus on one city at a time because the press was world wide from the beginning. We had people signing up from all over the world and I wanted to try and help them all. This made it difficult to achieve viral growth.
Where do you want to take the site in 2015?
We have the Modamily iPhone app coming out next month. We've improved the matching algorithm and the app will focus on optimizing search and messaging. It will make it much easier to receive high quality match recommendations and communicate with them. There are a lot of other things in the works that I can’t talk about it, but stay tuned!
How big is Modamily at this stage, and how big do you think it will be?
We are still a small operation and membership is in the tens of thousands worldwide. I think we can get into the hundreds of thousands in the short term and into the millions over time. Site traffic has been growing gradually with over 200K visitors to the site and well over 1MM page views. The quality of user has been improving, they are spending more time on the site and coming back more often. We have made thousands of connections and dozens of babies have been born because of us.
How have you managed the scaling process?
When Modamily launched, we got worldwide attention almost immediately, even when we had 150 people to begin with on the site. It is difficult to service the entire world as a bootstrapped start-up and initially growth was organic and scattered. However, there were some advantages to launching the way we did as well. There is something to be said for breaking through the clutter, becoming the leading co-parenting site in the world while starting a global conversation on what makes a family, and making the word ‘co-parent’ a more mainstream term and parenting option.
For the launch of the iPhone app, we are taking a step back and focusing on more on New York and then Los Angeles and San Francisco shortly after. We need to get some targeted network effects happening in the area where we have the most members and we can then roll out elsewhere similar to what Facebook, Uber, Tinder, and Hinge did and are doing.
I know you use WebPurify. How are they working out for you?
WebPurify provide us with a valuable easy solution to make sure all the content on our site was appropriate. We were getting some major press all over the world and I wanted to have control over the aesthetic of the user’s experience. The early days of developing a company’s brand and identity are so crucial and WebPurify is great at what they do.
Are there any other services that have been useful for you as you scaled?
Yes, the team at Rackspace has been a valuable partner for our server needs. We use Mailchimp for a lot of our email campaigns and in the future, our match recommendations emails. The Proto.io app has been great to preview UX/UI design throughout the whole process. The Basecamp app is a nifty project management tool that we used for the app build as well. I’m exploring using Stripe or Brain Tree for our payment gateway needs.
Post by Mark Brooks @
THE DAILY BEAST - Feb 24 - Muslim-Americans are going mobile in their quest to find love. They use Minder which is like Tinder but for Muslims. The app launched around Valentine's Day and has already received 2K requests for approval. The app will be released to the public within two weeks. Minder is not the only one. Ishqr is a Muslim dating site that does not allow users to see the faces of the profiles they are interested in before swiping on. Crescent is on Instagram and will launch an app for iOS and Android phones soon. And Salaam Swipe, created by Canadian-Muslim Khalil Jessa, plans to launch this year. The Muslim market is still untested when it comes to monetizing these apps and hard to measure. The U.S. Census Bureau doesn’t track religious affiliation but estimates of the number of Muslims in the US vary between 2M and 7M people.
IDIGITALTIMES - Feb 23 - While it doesn't exist just yet, Binger wants to be an app that matches people based on their Netflix line. According to the creators of the app, Netflix is preventing their dreams to become reality since they have a closed API and do not share user data. The team behind Binger wants people to spread the word so Netflix opens its API by sending messages on social media using their #BeAloneTogether hashtag.
by Susmita Baral
See full article at iDigitalTimes
NY POST - Feb 22 - Joel Simkhai, the founder of Grindr, is still single despite his success setting others up. So is Justin McLeod, the founder of Hinge. “The number one question I get if they’re a Grindr user is, ‘Do you have access to my chats? What do you know about me?’” says Simkhai. Justin McLeod’s doesn’t mention he’s the CEO either. He says he’s been in multiple relationships thanks to Hinge, some lasting a few months. Still, he says, “If I were an expert at dating I would not have started a dating site.” Simkhai agrees. “One of the reasons I started Grindr was that no one ever set me up!”
by Jennifer Wright
See full article at NY Post
SF CHRONICLE - Feb 21 - When designing her new dating app, Bumble, Whitney Wolfe was inspired by the Sadie Hawkins dance, in which women reverse traditional courtship rituals by asking the men to the dance. The app works similarly to Tinder, which Wolfe co-founded. The difference? With Bumble, only the woman is allowed to send the first message after a mutual match is made. The Catch, launched on Valentine’s Day, “gamifies” the selection process with a Q&A from the woman to a handful of candidates. Project Fixup, ensures that the guy actually wants to date, rather than simply chat, with a pay-per-date model that arranges the person, time and place; the two parties only have to “accept” and show up.
FUSION - Feb 21 - Building off the success of Hinge, SparkStarter connects users with friends of Facebook friends. SparkStarter relies on users' friends to recommend potential dates from their Facebook friend circle, based on their real-life knowledge of the people involved. “We never see ourselves as we really are, or the way others do,” said Jessie Kay a LA-based matchmaker. “People are happy to point out other peoples’ faults, but never their own.” Recently Facebook surveyed 1500 users and found out that many couples were meeting through friends.