PR WEB - July 23 - Clover, the mobile on-demand dating service, has closed $2Mn in funding. The investment was led by New York based Social Starts with participation from a group of private investors. This brings the total investment in Clover to $4M. The company will use the funds for further expansion. Clover finds users a nearby date and suggests hotspots where the two can meet.
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FORBES - July 23 - Instant Chemistry helps couples understand the science behind their attraction. The site was founded in 2013 by Ron Gonzalez, who has a PhD in neuroscience. In the early days, Instant Chemistry worked with a dating site Singledout. They ended this partnership 8 months later. Gonzales doesn't regret. He received several emails from couples asking if they could use his test to determine whether they are a good match. Instant Chemistry’s kit tests for three Human Leukocyte Antigen (HLA) immune system genes and four behavioral genetic variants. It also includes a psychological assessment. Although the market for DNA testing for love hasn’t yet been proven, Instant Chemistry’s growing customer base gives Gonzalez high hopes.
BBJ - July 23 - Dating app Happn has launched in Budapest. The app counts ~5M users around the world, in cities such as Paris, London, New York, Barcelona, Madrid, San Francisco, Buenos Aires, Santiago, Mexico and Sao Paulo.
SEEKING ALPHA - July 21 - InterActiveCorp now has complete control over the mobile dating app market in English-speaking countries. Meanwhile PlentyOfFish's mobile app is showing strong growth in Brazil, France, and Spain, strengthening IAC's position in these significant markets. Its likely POF's mobile app is generating annual revenues of ~$50 million. Badoo and LOVOO are the largest remaining worldwide competitors, and its likely POF is the #3 competitor worldwide.
SeekingAlpha estimates POF is grossing ~$40k per day, a ~30% yoy revenue growth. Annual revenue on iOS in the USA alone is ~$15 million which would make it ~15% of POF's $100,000,000 revenue. Sources suggest that IAC paid 12.8x EBITDA for POF. Mobile revenue likely comprised half POF's revenue.
ECONOMIC TIMES - July 22 - The funds will be primarily used for product enhancement. The company did not disclose the amount. IDG Ventures has invested in companies like Flipkart, Yatra, Newgen, Lenskart, Vserv, Firstcry, Manthan Software and Zivame. iCrushiFlush is a casual dating app that helps connect people around their location.
The full article was originally published at Economic Times, but is no longer available.
This post also appears on InternetDatingInvestments.
HOLLYWOOD REPORTER - July 22 - Dating in L.A. has always had a bad rap. "Particular to Hollywood are successful businessmen going home with anyone they want — and women getting paid to be pretty," says Talia Goldstein, professional matchmaker and founder of Three Day Rule. "This makes this town more superficial and brutal for the rest of us." Tinder has become part of the daily lexicon. Mark Brooks explains the app's popularity: "What's made it catch fire is that it's fun, and online dating can feel like work. It's brought new heat to the industry and is benefiting everyone," including Tinder president and co-founder Sean Rad, who met his girlfriend Alexa Dell on his own app. "What we've done," says Rad, "is take rejection out of dating." Online dating has seen the rise of the "virtual affair," a romance that ends the minute meeting becomes a reality. Brooks admits digital dating could improve: "We've taught people a new way to meet people. Now we have to teach them how to keep people. People need to reveal themselves more. The future is in combining digital dating with wearable tech, which will allow the sharing of certain personal data: what music you download, where you eat, where you travel." Video also will add authenticity, says dating coach Eric Resnick.
BIV.COM - July 22 - Markus Frind is staying quiet about what he'll do with the money, but Boris Wertz, founder of Version One Ventures, expects the local tech community to benefit. Frind, however, said he prefers to invest in later-stage companies over Vancouver tech startups. This year he put $21M into Burnaby-based software developer and e-commerce company Cymax. His strategy is to look at deals as they come along.
WLD - July 21 - Brands under the umbrella of the Venntro Group now include White Label Dating, Global Personals, WooWise, Jiko and more. The only visible change partners will notice is that payments will now show on their bank statement as Venntro Media Group.
MARKETWATCH / WSJ - July 20 - Avid Life Media, which owns Ashley Madison, wanted to raise $200M in an IPO. A recent data breach may hurt the site’s chances of launching a successful IPO anytime soon. "They've hinged their entire existence on privacy," says Mark Brooks, a dating-industry analyst and the editor of Online Personals Watch. "It's definitely going to affect their IPO plans. It’s going to reduce the value of this company. They're going to see their conversion rates hit, their attention rates hit, and see some people leave. People prize their privacy on online dating sites. This is compounded 1,000 times on AshleyMadison.com over a typical dating site." Other dating site companies with IPO ambitions such as The Match Group, will be doubling down on their security measures, he adds. Ashley Madison said it has now secured the site, called the hack an act of "cyberterrorism" and apologized to its users.
AshleyMadison launched in 2001. "It has helped move adulterers from traditional dating sites", Brooks says. "It's done a good job of cleaning up other sites," he says. Another thing that can affect the IPO are complaints about fake profiles on the site. Ashley Madison has little direct competition. "The entire business is built on the premise that few will follow," Brooks says. "It's simultaneously brilliant and despicable. It gets people talking, which is also good for business."
Biderman acknowledges that there are a lot of hurdles to overcome before an IPO. He says he loves being the CEO of a private company. Brooks says, the site will be working hard to restore confidence in the site among users and potential investors. "They'll also work on search engine optimization over the next six to 12 months to make sure that other more positive stories about Ashley Madison appear when you Google the site," he says. "There’s plenty that can be done. If someone is prepared to spend big money, they can have a story almost disappear by producing more interesting content."
MASHABLE - July 21 - "Geng Le," the former policeman, founded one of China’s earliest gay sites. The site, danlan.org, was repeatedly shut down by Chinese government. Every time, he'd move his server to another city and launch again. But the times have changed. Geng's site is now free to cover gay news from around the world. Three years ago, he launched a gay-dating app called Blued, which he claims is the most widely used globally, with 15M users. After receiving $30M in funding last year, Blued launched an English version of the app in Feb and set up offices in the U.S., Thailand and Taiwan. In 2013, a new gay-dating app called Zank appeared. The app has ~8M users, and received $3.2M in private funding last year. Blued and Zank have done well locally but Grindr isn't giving up. Blocked by the Chinese government until June 2011, the app’s user numbers have been steadily climbing ever since.
MASHABLE - July 21 - For many of Ashley Madison's 37M users, the site's breach could have devastating consequences on their personal lives. AM claims that it has now been able to secure its sites; at this stage, that doesn't really matter. Already, files containing emails and passwords have started to spread online. The attackers claim to have more than just login identities. Their trove purportedly includes profiles and individual messages. Being in the "discreet connection" space means security should have been AM's number one priority. Stu Sjouwerman, the CEO of security awareness platform KnowBe4, said the fact that AM's data was not encrypted "is tantamount to criminal negligence."
FINANCIAL POST - July 21 - A group of hackers gained access to Ashley Madison's data. This is the second time in two months a prominent dating site has been compromised. In May, hackers leaked info about users of Adult Friend Finder. The married people seeking affairs may be more interested in discretion than the average online dating user, but the hack exposes a vulnerability in the growing industry. Mark Brooks, principal consultant at the online dating industry advisory firm Courtland Brooks, said he would be surprised if Avid Life goes ahead with its IPO on schedule following the attack. "Their key value is privacy. They've failed at a key value," Brooks said. "Their IPO is definitely going to be affected. I can't imagine they'll proceed with it. They're not going to achieve full market valuation."
NY POST - July 21 - Fidelitydating.com is a site aimed at "infidelity survivors" seeking other singles who've also been through cheating scandals. With the slogan "Love is precious. Stay faithful," the service is hoping to provide an antidote to popular cheaters' sites like Ashley Madison.
STANDARD.CO.UK - July 21 - Dating-industry analyst, and editor of Online Personals Watch, Mark Brooks said: "They've hinged their entire existence on privacy. It's definitely going to affect their IPO plans. It's going to reduce the value of this company. People prize their privacy on online dating sites. This is compounded 1,000 times on AshleyMadison.com over a typical dating site."