TEXAS MONTHLY - July 27 - Match Group adapted well to the pandemic. The company garnered $2.39B in 2020, up 17% YOY. It reintroduced video dates, and 40% of Tinder users plan to continue using video dates even after the pandemic eventually ends. That expectation led Match to purchase Hyperconnect, a South Korean social-media company, for $1.73B. Hyperconnect's technology, which is expected to be incorporated into all Match apps, can translate text and voice messages across 20 languages, and its live-streaming app, Hakuna, allows users to create their own video streams. It's similar to Plenty of Fish Live! which allows users to create their own communities around themselves and whatever they choose to broadcast. "Match has just won every battle, and the war..... They are the behemoth of the industry, and they've had a very good acquisition strategy," says industry analyst and former Plenty of Fish advisor Mark Brooks. Some of Match's success, Brooks says, can be attributed to the consistency of its leadership. Thombre has been at Match Group for over a decade, and Sharmistha Dubey, who was named its CEO last year, joined the company in 2006. "They come from a supply-chain background, both of them, and they're the two leaders," Brooks said. "Shar is very pragmatic . . . a smart operator." Mark Brooks says that the future for Match Group lies in expanding its reach to other countries, and not getting usurped by aggressive newer players like Bumble. "Match will only be unseated in the next major media shift, which is augmented reality," Brooks says, adding that it will be "exceedingly creepy and hugely challenging from a legal perspective, but absolutely transformational." Brooks suggests that there's also room in the industry for more of a human touch in dating, such as personalized matchmaking as a premium service. "At some stage, certain people will pay more to have help and feedback and a bit of sugarcoating on that feedback from people who know how to communicate," he says.