TECHCITYNEWS - Feb 14 - Online dating is a lucrative industry – recent research estimates that dating apps contribute a £1B to the UK economy every year. VCs are eyeing the sector. Matthew Bradley, an investor at early stage London-based VC fund Forward Partners, is just one of many. "It's a very competitive market, though there's a gorilla in the form of Match Group." Well-funded companies in the space include Happn ($22M), Hinge ($12M) and Once ($9.1M), but figuring out what investors really look for in a dating-tech company is not always entirely obvious. "A viable revenue model would be a good start," Bradley said. But monetising dating isn't easy. On top of that, dating apps don't always make good advertising platforms. "For most dating tech companies the only way to pay back investors seems to be to reach a critical scale of users and be acquired by the Match Group. That's a high risk game," Bradley said. "Well tested, well funded propositions run by super-clever people will always make a mark," he added. Dating apps throw off a lot of data with swipes, pictures and interactions. "There's also plenty of social data to get your teeth into. I don't doubt that adding intelligence to data-rich companies will improve products," he explained.
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