OPW INTERVIEW - Apr 7 - Hal Oppenheimer is a Harvard and Yale grad and an accomplished investment banker and he wasn't very impressed with his Internet dating experience. Hal is the CEO/Founder of Dating Service Network (DSN). His frustrations with Internet dating led to the creation of DSN, his dating site aggregator. What's most interesting is, unlike former dating site aggregators, the service is actually good for dating apps (Match, POF, etc) because all members must have paid memberships. Full Disclosure: DSN is a client of Courtland Brooks.
What is Dating Service Network?
We're not a dating site or swipe app. We're a 3rd party outsource service for active online daters and professional matchmakers. Basically, our customers don't want to hassle with online dating on their own so they hire us. For that reason we are building a network of what I call Online Matchmakers.
What needs do you address?
A recent Consumer Reports survey found that online dating had "the worst satisfaction scores in the history of Consumer Reports". Earlier this month, the New York Times sited a 2018 Match.com survey where 54% said it was a time-consuming hassle. It's what Lisa Clampitt (founder of the Matchmakers Institute of NYC) calls "online dating fatigue syndrome" and it's now an epidemic.
Our Online Concierge Service offers these fed up online daters a hybrid combination of the personal service of a traditional matchmaker and our proprietary online dating platform. However, our service is $800 per month, not $5,000 to $10,000.
Who are your target users exactly?
35 to 60 year old busy divorced singles. Within that group we target the busiest most active online daters. The top 13% most attractive, best educated and highest income users.
What will you do for offline matchmakers?
They can license our middleware platform to add online dating services to their existing offline business models. This give them a totally new opportunity to cash-in on the growing migration of frustrated online daters, willing to pay for convenience.
How does it work from the customer perspective?
We're part of a rapidly growing list of 3rd party services that help users construct their dating site profiles. Then, with their permission, we use those profiles to do a lot of legwork for them. Virtual Dating Assistants, and Personal Dating Assistants (PDA) are two other examples. PDA charges as much as $1,700 per week. Our business model is much different, but we're all 3rd party services using our customer's profiles.
What are you able to do for them?
Everything we do are things any user could do on their own. But, we're ~30X faster and at a labor cost well below what our customer's time is worth. To start with, our customers must have paid subscriptions to all the dating sites they want us to search for them. Once that's taken care of, what we do is pretty simple. We review female online daters everyday across all the major sites, pre-filter for our customer's basic demographic criteria, and pre-filter for the top 35% most attractive. Then we create a personalized online dating library for that customer. Finally, the customer, or their matchmaker, can then use our proprietary filtering system to pick the customer's top priorities, in seconds.
What are your plans for 2019?
We're looking for seed capital to complete a full-scale market test. After the test we'll look for later stage financing to begin our national rollout in 2020.
This post also appears on InternetDatingInvestments.com