PINKNEWS - May 17 - British TV producer Charlie Parsons, who created Channel 4’s The Big Breakfast and The Word, has added Gaydar.co.uk to his business portfolio. QSoft Consulting, the former owner of dating site Gaydar.co.uk, announced in May 2012 it was seeking a “significant cash investment” to fund its “ambition for global growth”. Gaydar founder Henry Badenhorst has left the company and the new management team, led by Trevor Martin, will include Charlie Parsons and Mark Speeks who will both join the Gaydar board of directors with immediate effect.
This post also appears on InternetDatingInvestments.
STRAIGHT - May 16 - Vancouver entrepreneur Jacqueline Clarke started up Sizzr App which is a female-to-female app that will help women hook up with one another. Clarke is taking measures to ensure that this app will remain exclusive to female users. A secure validation plug-in, which will require the use of personal ID, such as a driver's license, will verify the gender of users. Clarke says that they'll be launching an Indiegogo fundraising campaign to raise legal and development fees. Beta-tests with free downloads are planned for June.
LA WEEKLY - May 17 - On Tinder app users anonymously reject others almost solely based on their profile pictures. They can also initiate conversation with only those they're actually interested in, under the condition that the interest is mutual. There are no personal statements, compatibility quizzes or rating systems. Since launching Tinder in September 2012 with CEO and fellow USC alum Sean Rad, Justin Mateen says the app has made~40M matches and eight marriage proposals. Tinder's four co-founders are all in their mid-to-late 20s and collectively hold bachelor's degrees in business and marketing. But Tinder is far from their first. Mateen founded Sitecanvas, a website builder that was used to create and maintain sites for Taylor Swift, supermodel Adriana Lima and other celebrities. Meanwhile, Rad founded a matchmaking service of his own: Adly, a startup that matches celebrities seeking to endorse products on Twitter with companies willing to pay for those endorsements.
RED EYE CHICAGO - May 15 - According to the Lulu website, the app is "the smart girls' app," and when a guy tries to log in, a message pops up on the screen saying, "Dude, you're a dude!" Lulu uses men's Facebook pages to create a profile and invites users to compile info on everything about the guy. Men reviewed have little access to reply due to being locked out of the app, even though there is a limited accompanying app that lets them edit their basic profile. It's a paradise for anyone who enjoys trashing former boyfriends, especially since reviews are anonymous and there's no accountability.
BUSINESSWIRE - May 15 - Code named “Malibu,” the redesign of eHarmony is comprehensive, with a particular focus on the member profile pages. The new eHarmony member profile showcases each individual in a touch-friendly, side-scrolling magazine. eHarmony also removed all third-party ads. In addition to revamping the member profile pages, eHarmony transformed the famous eHarmony relationship questionnaire from a daunting, clinical form into a welcoming, easy-to-use experience. The new sign-up process now takes half the time to complete, and the company has seen a 20% increase in the number of users who finish the questionnaire. eHarmony also revamped the Personality Profile, which will be released later this week.
HERALD SCOTLAND - May 16 - Shares of Cupid have retreated towards the 60p price they listed on the stock exchange three years ago after the Edinburgh-based group came under renewed attack from short sellers. They are now down 16.3% since the start of May. Cupid's pre-tax profit rose 31% to £9.2M in 2012.
CNN.COM - May 14 - At any given time, 110M Americans have a sexually transmitted infection, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Young people contract half of all new cases. They're also tech-savvy, and that's driving the development of new high-tech STD prevention tools geared toward them. Qpid.me users can share their verified test results for HIV, chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis. Their status comes directly from their own U.S. health care provider. It shows when they got tested and includes a disclaimer that notes the user may have had sex since then. Another STD tech tool helps people have difficult conversations with past lovers such as sotheycanknow.org. Another STD tech tool out there is an app called STD Triage. Worried you might have symptoms of an STD? This service lets you take a picture of a rash, for example, and for ~$40, you can send it in and get a response back from a doctor within a day about what it might be.
FORBES - May 15 - Back in 2011, Oliver Bremer was seeking a partner, a co-founder, with which to kick off a B2B-type software startup. He was not having much luck. Then it struck him that if people take to social internet sites to find love and find jobs, why not startup co-founders? And so Founder2be was born. “It’s like Match.com meets LinkedIn for startups,” Bremer said. “It’s online dating to find a cofounder.” People sign up for the service and create a profile that reflects what they are all about in the hope of attracting like-minded potential partners. So far there are~ 14K profiles across 100 countries.
This post also appears on SocialNetworkingWatch.
WASHINGTON POST - May 14 - For over a decade, eHarmony has been helping people find a date. Now, the company wants to help people find a job. eHarmony is developing a career service that would connect employers with job seekers. eHarmony is entering an already crowded market dominated by Dice and LinkedIn. And while critics have knocked traditional job boards such as Monster and CareerBuilder as outdated, these sites still accounted for ~18% of external hires in 2012. eHarmony product is still in development and is estimated it will launch in the Q2 2014.
TECH CRUNCH - May 13 - With a new startup called Wednesday Night, users connect their Facebook accounts and are then given three recommendations. If they’re interested in dating one of them, they then pay $50 and are set up with a date on Wednesday night at 8 p.m. They’re also connected with a dating coach who can provide advice via email or text. The website comes from the team of Jared Tame and Teng Siong Ong who are already working on two other dating services — Flock and CupidWithFriends. (They sold their previous startup, Y Combiantor-backed GraffitiGEO, to Loopt.)
VENTURE VILLAGE - May 13 - German dating site eDarling, which last week bought back its shares from US partner eHarmony, has lost its Managing Director, Christian Vollmann. Vollmann will, however, remain on as an investor in the company and also likely as an advisor. The investors in eDarling all contributed to buying back the company from eHarmony, including founders David Khailil and Lukas Brosseder along with Rocket Internet and Holtzbrinck Ventures. The exact reasons behind the buy-back remain unclear.
TMC NET - May 13 - Snap Interactive launched of AYI native Android app along with integration of the Friends of Friends feature on AYI's mobile-web and iPhone app. ~2M connections have already been made through friends with ~72K users messaging their friends directly to learn about a potential date.
NY TIMES - May 9 - “It’s almost like outsourcing your online dating to your mom,” said Kevin Leland, CEO of TheJMom.com, a Jewish matchmaking site. Mothers, fathers and even grandmothers share online profiles of their ready-to-wed children. Duo is a traditional matchmaking service based in South Korea. 80% of the members are mothers inquiring on behalf of their sons. Annual fees can range from $2K - $5K, and include 7-9 introductions and parents monitor the dating progress of their children. Posting and browsing on TheJMom.com is free, and a six-month subscription package, which provides contacts and connections, starts at $78. The $199 premium service, the Personal Profile Concierge, provides mothers with a makeover of their own profile and their child’s online profile and one-on-one attention from someone at the company. Indian families are known to begin the matchmaking process by collecting a prospect’s “bio-data,” which is a résumé of someone’s marital qualifications — from the basics like age, weight and height, to information about a prospect’s job and character. There are a number of matrimonial sites including BharatMatrimony.com, Shaadi.com, and SecondShaadi.com (for second marriages).
by Ji Huyn Lee
See full article at NY Times
BENZIGA - May 10 - 9 months ago Netflix traded for $55 a share. Over the last 7 months, Netflix quadrupled in value and is now trading at ~$217 a share. Who will be the next Netflix? It could be Spark Networks, which owns and operates JDate and Christian Mingle. It only has $170M market cap. JDate been around for over a decade and has had a 90% or higher contribution margin for the last 11 years running, but it hasn't grown. It is the very definition of a beautiful cash cow. Christian Mingle is aimed at the market of Christians in the United States, which is 30 times larger than the Jewish market. It is now substantially larger than JDate. It is not yet profitable because they take all of their cash flow and plow that back into growth. Last quarter, revenues grew 45% YOY. IAC is the most logical buyer for Spark, and it would be a tiny bite-sized acquisition.
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UX Lead (User Experience Lead/Human-Computer Interaction Lead)
Global Personals USA (Webdate,
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Director of Mobile Products
Director of Marketing - Display
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NY DAILY NEWS - May 9 - A study of bogus online dating profiles reveals that most fraudsters claim to be religious and widowed. Many are also foreign, but describe themselves as Native American, mistakenly thinking it means only that they're from America. The FBI says ~$50M is stolen every year in romance scams. One in ten profiles is fake, according to research from SeekingArrangement.com, which deletes ~200 fraudulent accounts every day. CEO Brandon Wade says: “Scammers want you to trust them, and they want sympathy.” The bogus accounts are more likely to belong to a woman (71%) than a man (29%). Many fake profiles are listed in Nigeria, the Ukraine and the Philippines.
INDEPENDENT - May 10 - ~4,000 Irish students have signed up to a SeekingArrangement.com to pay their way through college. 80% of all relationships conducted through the service involved sex. 4 of the top 10 colleges using the service are based in Dublin. Overall, membership from Ireland is the seventh-largest in the world, behind the US, the UK, Canada, Australia, France and Germany.