- Are background checking services useful for dating services?
- Why should you do them?
- How do dating sites offer them?
- What are the Costs and Risks?
Contact: Jeannette Weinstein, Head of partnerships at MyLife.com at email@example.com
Contact: Jeannette Weinstein, Head of partnerships at MyLife.com at firstname.lastname@example.org
OPW INTERVIEW - Feb 18 - Rumpur is billed as the first dating app for ethic gay men, a relationship focused service 'without the restraints of discrimination based on race.' Here's what the CEO/Founder Garfield Wright had to say about the app. - Mark Brooks
At Rumpur we recognize that ethnic gay men are faced with racism, discrimination and bigotry on many dating apps and websites. These men are left feeling rejected and debased as human beings. Rumpur was created to level the online dating field for ethnic gay men.
What's your USP
Rumpur is the first American based gay dating app to offer live video chat where users can authenticate each other and talk in real time.
How many daily active users do you have at this stage?
As of this writing, we have a total of 11,904 users. 7953 of such are active users and 5,340 are daily active users.
What funding have you had to date?
To date we haven't sought any funding because we wanted to gain traction before we approach any investors(s). Now we are gaining traction and growing our user base. We believe now is the right time to seek funding.
What are you plans for the app?
Our plan for the app is to make it the number one app for ethnic gay people in the LGBTQ community throughout the world. Although we started out targeting ethnic gay men we will eventually open up our app to accommodate the entire LGBTQ community such as lesbians, non binaries, etc.
We are gaining traction every day with new users entering our platform. However, we lack the necessary funding to drive growth. We are seeking a seed round in financing to take Rumpur to the next level. The funding will be used to hire a product manager, hire a marketing expert, increase our advertising budget and optimize our app store presence.
What kind of money are you looking for ideally?
We are seeking a seed round of $400,000 to $500,000 for 10% of our company. We understand our target audience and our market and are a very resilient team that can weather the ups and downs of running a startup.
This post also appears on InternetDatingInvestments.com
WIRED.CO.UK - Feb 15 - In the 1960s, a young social psychologist Arthur Aron was carrying out experimental studies using university students, and brain scans on people who were in love, falling out of love and recently divorced. He became famous for his 36 Questions which is a set of very personal questions people work through with their partner to get closer to each other (fall in love). In the original 1997 study, two of the lab technicians who did the experiment eventually got married. "People thought it couldn't be done," says Aron, who is now a researcher at Stonybrook University in New York. In the last 50 years, we've made real scientific progress towards understanding the processes in our brain that give us that giddy feeling. Helen Fisher, a biological anthropologist at Indiana University's Kinsey Institute, was one of the first to publish research into the processes behind love – how dopamine courses through your brain, which parts light up. She says that the desire to love is a survival mechanism, one which won't be trampled over so easily by new technology. Others, such as sociologists and critical theorists, also argue that young people now aren't so taken in by the traditional ideas of marriage, or even a cultural emphasis on romantic love. "It's fascinating - people who are now in their late teens, early twenties – they do take love and relationships seriously," says Michael Gratzke, a professor of literature at Hull University. "But they're more comfortable with complicated relationships and patterns of love. A lot of the research into how technology has changed relationships is really only starting to be understood," says Gratzke.
HARVARD BUSINESS REVIEW - Jan 11 - Computer matching started 1959. The biggest shift occurred in the mid-1990s, with the birth of online dating. 25% of U.S. couples now meet on the internet. Newer sites made matchmaking tech. an important value proposition. eharmony uses a "scientific approach to matching highly compatible singles" and OkCupid does "a lot of crazy math stuff to help people connect faster." But are the lovelorn better served for it? Upon finding a compatible partner, users typically terminate their subscription, hurting the firm’s revenue, therefore it's unclear whether profit-maximizing sites would strive for the most effective matchmaking technology, or deprioritize innovation. According to game theory, users have a better chance of finding a match in a larger community so as a firm reduces its matchmaking effectiveness, more consumers are left unmatched as time goes by, but their continued presence on the platform benefits the newly arrived consumers. Lesser technology can engender positive network effects for a firm. A commission-based model, in which matchmakers charge users based on successful matches, would align the interests of matchmakers and consumers. High-end matchmaking already operates this way. Where commissions are impractical, matchmakers could charge a sizeable, upfront payment to cover a longer subscription period. The key to achieve mutually beneficial outcomes is to resolve the matchmakers' strategy dilemma, making sure their revenue is not negatively affected by their technology innovations.
by Yue Wu & V. "Paddy" Padmanabhan
See full article at Harvard Business Review
Match Group - Barry Diller
Born in San Fran in 1942, 77 year-old Barry Diller is Chairman and Senior Executive of IAC and Expedia. Diller married fashion designer Diane von Fürstenberg in 2001 and is now estimated to be worth $3.3B. He also created the Fox Broadcasting Company and USA Broadcasting. On top of creating his own empire in media, Diller's influence has spread to those who he mentored - colloquially called the "Killer Dillers" - which included former Disney Chairman & CEO Michael Eisner and Dawn Leslie Steel, one of the first woman to become the head of a major movie studio.
The Meet Group - Geoff Cook
Geoff isn't The Meet Group's founder. That honor goes to his younger brother and sister, Dave and Catherine Cook. Dave and Catherine created myYearbook in 2005 as a place for ex-classmates to meet up online. Geoff became the company's power player after investing $250K that he made from his EssayEdge and ResumeEdge startups he created in his Harvard dorm room.
Badoo - Andrey Andreev
Born in February 1974 in Moscow, Russia, Andreev founded Badoo, SpyLog, Begun, and Mamba. He also famously convinced ex-Tinder exec Whitney Wolfe Herd to create Bumble, of which Badoo is a 79% owner. Andreev was recently listed by Forbes as one of the world's richest people, estimated to be worth $1.5B.
Spark Networks - Jeronimo Folgueira
Before taking over Spark in 2017, Jeronimo was a Managing Director at Betfair plc (now Paddy Power plc). The Columbia Business School grad took over the reigns of all of Spark Networks SE when JDate and Christian Mingle-focused Spark merged with Affinitas GmbH.
CONTXTO - Feb 15 - Mi Media Manzana was founded in Lima, Peru by Pedro Neira (CEO) and César Hoshi (COO) back in 2014. They now have operations across Latin America. The startup developed an algorithm that matches people based on compatibility, thus recommending people with similar interests and personalities. Colombia represents 40% of the app's downloads while Peru, Chile and Mexico represent 30, 10 and 10%, respectively. The rest of their users are well spread across Argentina, Dominican Republic, Venezuela, among other places. Latin America is well-known for its romantic culture, but the online dating was once a highly stigmatized industry. Taboos around these products are still very noticeable among the population. Latin America's perception changed only a few years back when Tinder entered the market in 2017. Latin America's population is huge, and online dating has yet to reach its peak.
by Victor Cortés
See full article at Contxto
GEEKWIRE - Feb 15 - DNA Romance is a Vancouver, B.C.-based startup that launched in 2014. It generates potential matches based on a DNA analysis of genes involved with immune system response that research has connected to human attraction. People can use a kit purchased from DNA Romance to sample and create their genetic blueprint, or share their results from one of the other DNA sequencing companies. The startup has raised $120K from friends and family and has customers in 93 countries. Their business model was initially subscription based, but in the fall they shifted to selling home DNA testing kits and online advertising to generate revenue. The kits cost $74.75. DNA Romance is available online, with plans to develop mobile apps. Competitors in the DNA-assisted dating space include Pheramor, GenePartner and Instant Chemistry.
MARKETING TECHNOLOGY INSIGHTS - Feb 15 - Catherine Cook Connelly, the co-Founder and VP Brand Strategy at The Meet Group spoke at the Mobile Growth Summit 2019 this week. Her session is about how they built Live, their live streaming video feature and why it works so well for their portfolio of apps. "It is the most successful product we have ever launched in the company's history, reaching a $71M annualized revenue run rate in just 15 months of being active," she said.
Q: What was behind your decision to build Live?
A: From watching MOMO and other popular Chinese dating apps, we began to see how live streaming can fill a core product gap in dating apps. We've always thought of our apps as the neighborhood bar, and video is the live entertainment meant to keep people engaged and give them something more to talk about. Our apps - LOVOO, MeetMe, Tagged, and Skout - have ~25M minutes of live video every day, and we have not experienced cannibalization of our core text-based chat. Instead, live video fills the product gaps.
Q: Did you have a monetization model in mind prior to its launch?
A: Yes, we used the monetization model popularized in Eastern live streaming apps that rely on viewers to send gifts to the broadcaster. The model has taken off with our users because streamers have an incentive to make interesting streams. We're introducing new products such as Battles, which brings an exciting competitive dynamic to Live. The feature brings together two live streamers for a live competition, whether it be for best dancer, musician or comedian. Each battle lasts just a few minutes, and the winner is the streamer who earns more diamonds from the audience. On a larger scale, we expect to bring Levels to the platform this year. Levels adds a gamification element to Live by establishing aspirational ranks for users and exclusive benefits to unlock.
Q: It seems like being a "live streamer" is now a formal occupation that can be quite lucrative… can you discuss this phenomenon as you are seeing it unfold firsthand?
A: A few of our streamers have said they plan to quit their jobs or have taken a step back from their previous job to build themselves up as streamers. 20% of our streamers consider themselves full-time live streamers.
OPW - Feb 15 - HER social and dating app will be hosting a panel at SXSW as a part of their LGBTQ+ Series. The panelists are Phillip Picardi - Editor in Chief at Out Magazine, Robyn Exton - Founder/CEO of HER, Leyna Bloom - Model, Activist, Dancer, Actress and Alok Vaid-Menon - Artist, Public Speaker, Writer. The panel will be held on Saturday, March 9th from 12:30-1:30, titled "The Future is Fluid: How Gender and Identity Have Changed".
L'EXPRESS - Feb 14 - Can an algorithm determine the success of a marriage? Can it predict the duration of a relation even before it begins? Dating apps are constantly improving, now incorporating a dose of AI. Tinder's "Elo Score" is now the subject of harsh criticism. This algorithm, inspired by the ranking of chess players, is matching people with lower score with people who also have a lower score. If someone with a higher score is interested in you, your initial score increases. Another matching technique is "Clustering" - which is based on matching you with people who are talking to people who are like you. "Dating apps don't know who your best match is so they rely on people who look like you to have a better idea. It's brilliant," says Mark Brooks, consultant and online dating expert. "Dating apps are still very young but are already delivering better results than hanging out in bars", he says.
BBB.ORG - Feb 14 - In the past 36 months, Better Business Bureau (BBB) received 636 Scam Tracker reports related to romance fraud. In addition, BBB received ~7,500 complaints against online dating services, in which some of the complainants alluded to fraudulent activities. BBB estimates there may be a million romance fraud victims in the U.S. alone. Losses reported in the U.S. and Canada over three years totaled ~$1B. Last year, BBB released a report about online romance scams. The study described the inner workings of how fraudsters target those looking for romance. This follow-up report takes a deeper look into how some victims inadvertently become "money mules." Fraudsters need a method to get funds from victims without being discovered. In many cases, money first passes to "money mules," who then transfer it to the fraudsters, often outside of the country. Money mules often are unsuspecting romance fraud victims themselves who may end up in serious legal troubles. It is estimated that 20-30% of romance victims were used as money mules. Full report here.
ETHERUMWORLDNEWS - Feb 14 - Now the dating app Tinder accepts crypto payments thanks to Bitrefill. The ad was published a few days ago on Bitrefill's website. The cryptocurrencies supported are Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), Litecoin (LTC), Dash (DASH) and Dogecoin (DOGE).
CHEDDAR - Feb 14 - In the push to attract more use, dating platforms are adding features like live video, games, and credits that can boost users' profile. Geoff Cook, CEO of The Meet Group, talks about their live streaming feature. "Live streaming fits very well into dating," he says. "I find live video so powerful because you can actually get a sense of who a person is before your date." He also added: "More than half of our users met in real life." Full video.
FORTUNE - Feb 14 - Coffee Meets Bagel sent an email to users yesterday warning that some of their personal information may have been stolen. The company said it learned on Monday about an unauthorized access to a partial list of user data, but did not specify how many people were affected by the breach. The exposed information included names and email addresses used on the app before May 2018. The company reminded users: "we never store any financial information or passwords."
by Erin Corbett
See full article at Fortune
STANDARD.CO.UK - Feb 14 - It's Valentine's Day and Bumble's VP of international marketing, Louise Troen, is discussing her plans. "We're holding the first global party we've ever done, called The Domino Effect," Troen said. The Domino Effect means two things to Bumble - the second-biggest dating app in the world in terms of global consumer spend, and it literally explains how the global party will work. Set to begin in Auckland, New Zealand at 8pm on February 14, it will then hit all Bumble's major markets, Australia, India, Europe and then finishing in the US. Campaigns like Bumble's Domino Effect for Valentine' Day are Troen's bread and butter. She joined the company two and a half years ago as director of international marketing, and was promoted to VP last year, essentially as founder Whitney Wolfe-Herd's second in command. Bumble Bizz is one of Troen's other big tasks for the year: getting people to see Bumble less as a dating app and more as its own social network. Another instance of how Bumble is moving away from dating to become all things to women, is through its new podcast. Set to launch in March, and named Bumble presents: Unsubscribe, Troen is co-presenting alongside Jada Sezer, a plus-sized model and activist.
YOUR STORY - Feb 14 - On September 6, 2018, the Supreme Court of India ruled that Section 377 does not apply to consensual homosexual sex, decriminalising homosexuality. The archaic law from the Indian Penal Code, imposed by the British in 1861, was finally taken down after decades of battle by activists and advocates of the LGBTQIA+ community. Ishaan Sethi, the founder of India's first homegrown dating app for the LGBTQIA+ community, recalls, "It was the highlight of my life." Delta launched in April 2018. Almost 80% of its growth is organic, says the founder. At present, there are ~65K active users on the platform. It is seed-funded by Shunwei Capital, Co-founder of TrulyMadly.com Sachin Bhatia, and HNIs such as such as Keshav Suri and Ritu Dalmia. Currently, Ishaan is in talks for Series A funding round. For 2019, Delta is looking to building its tech team and addressing the needs of the non-urban queer population with localised features such as language options, since almost 50% of users are from small cities and towns. Delta is not just a dating app. It offers three main services - Connect, Network, and Community.
CRUNCHBASE - Feb 14 - In 2018, venture investors put $127M globally into 27 dating-focused startups. It's certainly tiny compared to the ~$300B in global venture investment across all sectors last year. While the US is home to the majority of funded startups in the dating category, the bulk of investment has gone to China. In 2018, ~80% of dating-related investment went to a single company - Blued, a Grindr-style hookup app for gay men. In 2017, the bulk of capital went to Chinese mobile dating app Tantan, and in 2014, Beijing-based matchmaking site Baihe raised ~$250M. Meanwhile, in the U.S, we are seeing an assortment of startups raising smaller rounds.
MASHABLE - Feb 14 - Online dating isn't going away any time soon. If anything, it's likely to become further integrated into even more people's lives. "Online daters are exhausted," said Dawoon Kang, co-founder and co-CEO of Coffee Meets Bagel. "Machine-learning and AI may be able to help. People, a lot of times, don't know what they want. Better machine-learning could tailor your matches to your actions, rather than your stated desires", Kang said. Loveflutter, a UK dating app, has AI that matches people based on personality traits it decodes from their tweets. It also plans to use AI to coach users through meeting offline after analyzing their chats. Jean Meyer, the founder and CEO of European dating app Once, doesn't think the dating industry will crack the AI code. "The optimum for a dating service is to show you profiles of people that might be good enough, but not perfection," Meyer said. Pheramor, DNA Romance, and Instant Chemistry all analyze users' DNA to make matches. Video will play a larger role in dating apps, execs said, but how, exactly, is still unclear. Virtual reality in dating apps will also take cultural change.
THE OBSERVER - Feb 14 - Observer sat down with Mandy Ginsberg to chat about her achievements and challenges over the past year.
Q: How would you describe your first year as the CEO of Match Group?
A: I've been with the company for a long time. But this past year was wonderful, because I had not been in a position where I was in charge across all these brands. We had our best performing financial year ever in our history. On the culture side, there were a couple things that were important to me. As a woman leader in the dating category, I wanted to make sure that I can help women on our platforms with issues around dating and sexual assault. I created the Match Group Advisory Council, and we brought together some of the most incredible leaders who have real expertise in the prevention of sexual assault. I also wanted to make Match Group the best technology company for women to work at. We extended our parental leave policies. We also pay for egg freezing now (80% of the total cost).
Q: What is the latest update on the sexual harassment accusations brought against your former CEO Greg Blatt?
A: I don't really have an update, because there's been no litigation. I have been very aggressive to make sure that our employees know that we do not shy away from these issues and that they are in a safe environment.
Q: Has there been any HR policy change since then?
A: Most of the challenges we faced were around Tinder. We had many employees right out of college. So they needed real clarity in terms of what's appropriate in a workplace. We did sexual harassment training, both in person and via online modules, to make sure that people were aware of what the boundaries are.
Q: Does the fact that Match is in the business of dating make it hard to set company policies around related issues, such as office romance?
A: I would feel hard pressed to tell people in the business of love that you shouldn't fall in love with someone at work, especially when I myself fell in love with my husband at work. Our policy is that you can't date people in direct reporting lines.
Q: Over your 13 years in the dating business, what are some of the interesting trends you've observed on how people use online dating services?
A: 10 years ago people felt very embarrassed to tell others that they met their spouses through a dating site. Today, its kind've a badge of honor. What has driven the big transformation in this category is the popularity of free services and smartphones, which have attracted young people into online dating.
Q: What do you think of Facebook's new dating service?
A: Facebook has launched the dating service in a couple of markets, but we haven't seen any real impact on us yet. But for Facebook, you can't underestimate them. They're a huge player and they have access to a lot of people.