OPW INTERVIEW -- Dec 20 -- You’ll be hearing more about be2. They are a rising star in Europe and are launching in the USA. The company is founded and run by Robert Wuttke, PhD. He’s a regular attendee at the internet dating conferences in the USA and Europe. - Mark Brooks
What is your background and the founding story of be2?
I have a PhD in sociology and history. I did my studies in Germany and Italy and then spent a year at MIT in Boston. I focused on sociology and have my first business experience in the media industry with Bertelsmann AG and Lycos Europe. At that time I became aware of the first internet dating products, which fascinated me because online dating can bring together people who would otherwise have had no chance to meet each other offline.
Congratulations on the round of funding you just received. What will you do with the 15 million Euro?
We are going to focus on improving our service, which has always been our priority. Then we’ll further expand our product into other countries. But in particular we want to start penetrating the markets we’re in now, serve those markets better and increasing our respective market share.
Why do you think personality profiling works well for dating sites?
There are different people with different needs on dating sites. One of the needs is to find somebody for a long term relationship. Typically people 25+ have put this focus much more up front. So for somebody, who is looking for a long term relationship, it makes more sense to find the compatible matches immediately instead of browsing through a database and finding out later whether the person is a match or not.
In general, how do you think personality profiling on dating sites can be improved?
They will get better not just by becoming more reliable in terms of psychology but also through other things like the expression of attitudes, preferences and interests with sophisticated algorithms, rather than just simple questionnaires. There are a lot of things that will be done over the next couple of years and I think we’re just seeing the beginning of what is going to happen. What makes the be2 test very strong is that the number of questions is very elegantly reduced. We don’t ask irrelevant questions and I think this is something that users appreciate. We are going to improve the test even more now.
I understand be2 has very aggressively opened up in a number of countries, over 30 countries at this stage. What are your lead countries at this stage?
We like the Spanish speaking countries, but also are intrigued in what’s going on in Europe overall and central Europe where we are less present at the moment. But this is something that will also change over the next year or so because we’re now going to use the funding to start penetrating markets better. Right now you can say be2 does not have a single location it would depend on in terms of revenues.
Are there any particular people that you would like to reach out to people in the next year or so?
I’m looking forward to continuing our dialogue with academics.