THE TEAL MANGO - Sep 13 - The Netflix show will follow millennials in North America and India on their search for the perfect life partner. This documentary is currently seeking South Asian millennials from the diaspora.
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TECH CRUNCH - Sep 11 - Earlier this summer, Tinder began testing a new feature that surfaces a curated list of users' best potential matches, called "Top Picks." The feature, which is only available to paying subscribers on Tinder Gold, is now available worldwide. The idea behind Top Picks seems a bit inspired by the dating app Coffee Meets Bagel. While Top Picks will refresh daily, users can opt to buy more Top Picks in packs of 10, 20 or 30 a la carte.
GAYSTAR NEWS - Sep 11 - Gay dating and social connection app Chappy has introduced a new design. Previously, users could say whether they were seeking 'Mr Right' or 'Mr Right Now'. 'Cute' and 'Sexy' moods now respectively replace those two options. Ollie Locke (of Made in Chelsea fame), Jack Rogers and Max Cheremkhin originally founded the app. Backing comes from dating app Badoo, with advisory backing from Whitney Wolfe Herd. Last month, Chappy announced Locke and Rogers were stepping down. Succeeding them is Sam Dumas as Global Head of Brand. Chappy says it will now have, 'zero tolerance for abuse or bullying of any kind.' Users reported for violating Chappy's terms and conditions risk a permanent ban from the app.
GQ - Sep 11 - Grindr is launching its first anti-bullying initiative this month, called Kindr. The specifics around Kindr are still opaque but Landen Zumwalt, head of communications at Grindr, promises a concerted effort to better police the app's racism and harmful behavior. How users are reported and dealt with will become stronger.
THE OUTLINE - Sep 11 - HBO aired the documentary "Swiped," written and directed by Nancy Jo Sales who published an article about the phenomenon of app-based dating with Vanity Fair in 2015. The film is largely a rehash of her article, illustrating that everyone hates Tinder. Toward the end of the film, it raises the question of the actual physical danger these apps present, pointing to cases where women who have been assaulted or murdered. On this subject, producers turned to Mandy Ginsberg, the first female CEO of IAC's Match Group as of 2018. "There's a number of safety tips that we provide for people, and I just think that people have to just take real precaution," she said. Here are Tinder's guidelines to women for not getting raped:
BUSINESS TIMES - Sep 7 - Grindr is planning an IPO overseas. Grindr owner, Beijing Kunlun Technology, did not publicize where or when the IPO will take place. The LGBT community continues to thrive in China. Rela is one of the most popular social networking platforms that cater to the LGBT community in China. During its peak, the platform had ~5M registered users. Blued, the country's second-largest social network for the LGBT community claims to have 27M registered users. Based on the latest data, the Chinese LGBT population currently stands between 70M to 90M. The Chinese LGBT community has an annual purchasing power that stands at a massive $938B in 2017 alone.
PRESS RELEASE - Sep 7 - The Meet Group is partnering with Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation (ALSF) by releasing a special edition virtual gift to users on its MeetMe, Skout and Tagged mobile apps. ALSF is a national childhood cancer foundation dedicated to helping children with cancer. Founded in 2005, ALSF was started by Jay and Liz Scott. After the passing of their daughter, the Scotts vowed to raise money to help doctors find a cure. The Meet Group plans to make a donation for every Alex's Lemonade gift sent in the apps up to $10K to ALSF. The limited edition gift will be available from September 7 through September 21.
UKTN - Sep 7 - Andrey Andreev, the man behind Badoo, Bumble and Chappy, has invested £3.5M in Lumen, a new dating app specifically for single over 50s. Launching in the UK, Lumen was co-founded by Antoine Argouges and Charly Lester. Lumen will be free, available to download on iOS and Android. All users will be required to upload a selfie and verify their identity.
PR NEWSWIRE - Sep 6 - Jenny joins Tinder from 72andSunny, where she served as Managing Director, of the Los Angeles office and worked with leading international brands, including: Adidas, Uber, Activision, Starbucks, eBay, UGG and Stubhub among others. Prior to 72andSunny, Jenny was a Global Brand Director at Nike for various areas including Nike+ Member Services, NikeFuelband and Nike+ Running.
USA TODAY - Sep 7 - Comedian Norm MacDonald just co-created a new video dating app, LOKO. The LOKO app came out of a corporate gig, where he met Canadian entrepreneur Vivek Jain, who complained about his lack of success finding dates. The two decided to combine forces and come up with an app that would eliminate the awkwardness of a first date. It's the first video-only app, in that the only way to communicate with people is with video. After downloading the app, users register and record an 8-second video intro. Once approved other users can see it and respond.
THE TELEGRAPH - Sep 7 - Dating apps can be harmful for mental health because they contribute to "smartphone addiction," according to Whitney Wolfe, the founder of Bumble. Ms Wolfe said Bumble will now add a new "Snooze" function, which freezes the app for a certain time.
CAMPAIGNLIVE.CO.UK - Sep 7 - Muslim dating site Muzmatch makes reference to well-known hits from Lionel Richie and Adele in its display campaign. With a six-figure media spend, it is running on the London Underground and on buses in London, Birmingham and Manchester.
SOUTH ASIA GLOBE - Sep 6 - During a stint in the financial sector, Violet Lim spotted a trend in the industry: successful singles with no avenue for meeting potential partners. Most of her friends had found their partners in university, after which meeting new people became increasingly difficult. "The concept of lunch dating really resonated with me because I saw my colleagues taking a midday lunch breaks." She ran the idea past her then-boyfriend-now-husband, Jamie, and in 2004, the two decided to launch their own business - Lunch Actually, a dating service that connected busy professionals with lunch partners using traditional matchmaking consultations. The membership package would start at ~$2K. Right off the bat, Violet and Jamie landed $110K investment. Fourteen years on, Lunch Actually's platforms have expanded to Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Hong Kong and Japan, and acquired four competitors. It staffs of ~120 consultants and other professionals, has arranged 125K successful dates and has become a multimillion-dollar company.
QUARTZ - Sep 6 - On Sep 6, the supreme court delivered a historic verdict, striking down the section 377 of the Indian Penal Code that criminalised homosexual activity. "Any discrimination on basis of sexual orientation amounts to a violation of fundamental rights," chief justice Dipak Misra said in his judgment. Though the verdict marks a win, the fight is still on inside and outside the courtroom as the LGBTQ community seeks acceptance in terms of marriage laws, adoption laws, and more.
TECH IN ASIA - Sep 6 - In the US, ~70% of tech startups "stall at some point" in the venture capital process and "fail to exit or raise follow-on funding," according to a 2017 report from research firm CB Insights, which followed ~1K companies. But startup activity in Southeast Asia has never been as robust as it is now, with funding for homegrown ventures hitting a record $7.86B in 2017. Tech in Asia interviewed founders of companies in different stages of growth.
Ng Jing Shen, co-founder and CEO, Paktor Together with Joseph Phua, the former Amazon software engineer launched dating app Paktor in 2013. Ng has helped it grow to ~880K monthly active users, and Paktor now claims a user base of ~15M. Its largest markets are in Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia, and South Korea.
Q: In a landscape dominated by US-based dating apps, how do we create a dating app more suitable for Asian culture? A: We were aware that dating is extremely culturally sensitive, and the app we were creating needed to have its very own DNA.
Q: How should we differentiate ourselves from other dating apps? A: We ensure high levels of localization in user experience.
BBC - Sep 6 - In Kenya, more and more young women are using sugar daddies to fund a lifestyle worth posting on social media. This year the Busara Centre for Behavioural Economics conducted a study for BBC Africa in which they questioned 252 female university students between the ages of 18 and 24. They found that ~20% of the young women who participated in the research has or has had a "sponsor." No-one really knows how many sugar relationships end in sexual abuse or physical harm. Kenyan academics and NGOs have made extensive studies of domestic violence, and of the risks faced by sex workers. But on the subject of transactional sex there is no research.