OPW INTERVIEW - Mar 23 - Three years ago we interviewed Lukas Brosseder, the MD of Affinitas, which operates eDarling (see news) and Elite Singles. He co-founded the company with David Khalil in 2008. In October, 2015 they hired a CEO, Jeronimo Folgueira, away from betting company Betfair. He was Betfair's MD, International.
Update - Mar 31 - I asked Jeronimo to share the revenue figures for Affinitas. He has allowed me to divulge that in 2015 they made slightly over 60 million Euros revenue and were profitable for the second year in a row. - Mark Brooks
What is Affinitas' vision?
Our vision is to become the leading player in the premium segment of the online dating market with our EliteSingles and eDarling brands. We don't want to be the largest. We want to be the platform where you can find the best quality of people for a serious and long-term relationship.
What are your top brands now?
EliteSingles, together with its localized versions such as EliteRencontre, now represent over 75% of our business. Particularly in the English and French-speaking markets, the past two years have seen this brand thrive and deliver exceptional performance for the company.
Have you mastered mobile at this stage?
We are nearly there. Half of all our new users are currently registering via mobile and that percentage keeps growing every month. Also from a product perspective, we have shifted our focus to invest in mobile first and foremost. There are always improvements to be made on the product, but I'm confident that by next year we will be where we want to be on the mobile front. We see mobile as the future of our industry and we are embracing that future.
What have been your biggest challenges in the last 6 months?
Launching our site in the US, one of the most competitive dating markets in the world. We have dedicated a lot of resources and attention to this project, and we are extremely pleased with the results we are seeing so far. The US has become in just 6 months our largest market, and we are just starting there.
How would you describe the matchmaking philosophy and methodology of EliteSingles and eDarling?
Our matchmaking algorithm is quite complex and takes into consideration user profile and user behavior variables plus individual preferences stated by our users in order to generate the most suitable matches. We believe that, alongside personality compatibility, the level of sophistication and intellect of a user's partner is absolutely crucial for a happy and long-term relationship. We therefore are carefully considering numerous variables that describe one's sophistication and lifestyle next to our scientific personality profiling. As one specific example: the educational background is really important to us and our users. More than 70% of our users have a university degree. Ultimately, our users are looking for someone to have by their side who shares their lifestyle, beliefs and interests, and for those demanding users we provide by far the best platform to find exactly that.
What are you plans for 2016?
Our plan for this year is to focus on our existing markets and secure the leadership position within the premium segment of the online dating market. We want to be the number one choice for people looking for a serious long-term relationship with smart and interesting people.
We do not see the need to expand to new countries for now. The US is already a big challenge and we have plenty of room for growth there. Moreover, we are already present in 4 continents and 25 countries, and over 90% of our business is generated outside Germany. In that respect we feel we are international enough already. Instead of launching new countries, we want to focus this year in owning our segment in all the markets where we operate.
In 2015 we grew revenues by 22%, and we expect that growth to accelerate in 2016. In recent weeks we have seen growth rates of over 30% compared to last year and we feel we are well positioned with EliteSingles to keep this momentum going during 2016.