OPW INTERVIEW - Sep 16 - Singapore-based dating app Paktor is like Asian Tinder. The dating app has recently raised $7.4M in series B funding, and is poised to be the biggest social dating brand in Asia. Here is our interview with Paktor's CEO & co-Founder, Joseph Phua.
What is your founding story?
When I was in the US, I became single after a long-term relationship, which lasted ~8 years. I saw a lot of people having success using dating websites so I gave it a shot. It worked for me. When I returned to Singapore, I started Paktor. Going mobile was the most compelling option due to its scalability and the increasing smartphone penetration in Southeast Asia.
How is Paktor different and better than Tinder?
International players have struggled in South East Asia for multiple reasons. Sometimes it is due to the fragmented nature of the region that has multiple languages and cultures that hinders them. At Paktor, we think global and act local. Our approach is tailored to an Asian market, because we know what works for each individual market. Paktor is also the first dating app to offer a premium offline one-on-one matchmaking service and social dating events, called GaiGai (走街).
You raised a $7.4m series B round in July. How are you spending it?
Expansion remains our top priority. The funds will be used to aggressively grow the brand in existing markets that include Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, and Taiwan. We would like to also expand into new Asian markets. The Paktor team has also grown to 50 team members, up from 15 during its Series-A round 6 months ago. Part of the investment will also be channelled to product development, adding further value for users.
How would you define 'social discovery'?
Social discovery is the serendipitous experience of developing new connections aided by algorithms on social platforms. To me, it means the facilitation of an introduction between two strangers and the ability to meet new people beyond one's existing social circles. Paktor facilitates social discovery in many different ways. For example, we have a wide database of people to meet regardless of whether they are in your immediate vicinity or further away. It also helps you by filtering who you would want to meet by interest, height, distance from you etc. These features increase the likelihood of you meeting someone with whom you may share similar interests and sets the stage for the relationship to grow further and in an organic and genuine way.
What is the future of social discovery?
I see social discovery developing in two ways. Firstly, the increased vastness of the playground to explore and discover. Secondly, the refinement of the discovery process. This means better algorithms and data to help people discover new people.
What is your goal for Paktor for 2016?
Our 2016 goal is focused on rapid growth to become the leading mobile social network beyond the Southeast Asian region.