FOUNDERELLA - Sep 25 - Benjamin Bak, the founder of dating app Lovoo, wants to help young companies. He is opening a startup incubator in Dresden and looking for for five startups that his team wants to support with their knowledge and their network. Interested startups can apply immediately. Benjamin Bak sold Lovoo 2 years ago to The Meet Group for ~$70M.
GAYSTAR NEWS - June 21 - Gay entrepreneur Coley Cummiskey launched men's dating app Growlr in 2010 in Columbus, Ohio. In March, it was revealed he'd sold it in a $12M deal to tech company, The Meet Group. The app says it has 10M members and ~200K daily users. Growlr is aimed very much at the 'bears' market – men who are bigger, hairer and heftier, plus their admirers. TMG is a publicly owned business headquartered in New Hope, Pennsylvania. TMG was founded in 2005 as MyYearbook, but has grown and changed its name in the intervening years. It was founded by current CEO, Geoff Cook with his siblings, Catherine and Dave Cook, and specializes in dating apps. Its other brands include MeetMe, LOVOO, Skout and Tagged. They launched live streaming on MeetMe in April 2017, and have now embedded it into LOVOO, Tagged and Skout. "What we saw with Growlr was a very active, and a pretty sizeable community sending many millions of messages every single day. We saw the potential to roll out live streaming video into that community," said Mr Cook. One thing that won't change is the app's focus. The team realize that's its strength. Growlr does have a very distinct sense of community. Its users are very loyal and very engaged.
PHILADELPHIA BUSINESS JOURNAL - Mar 21 - The Meet Group has built its portfolio of five dating apps through acquisitions, with the $11.8M deal to buy niche gay dating app Growlr being the most recent. Historically, the company has looked for apps that either expand into a segment of users it hasn't reached before or a new geographic area, like Growlr with the gay community and Lovoo with its European foothold. Integrating video has been a top priority. They like to see a lot of one-to-one chat messages and relatively high DAU. Meet's new video revenue stems from in-app purchases users make to buy and give "gifts" like a virtual race car, and when a popular livestreamer acquires the equivalent of ~$200 worth, they can redeem for cash. Apple and Google get a 30% cut of revenue stemming from in-app purchases, the livestreamer gets 35% and Meet pockets the other 35%. Cook expects video revenue to double in 2019 and double again by 2021.
OPW - Mar 21 - The Meet Group grew its live-streaming product - Live - to a $48M business in less than a year. Live, which monetizes through in-app purchases, is one of the most engaging features the company ever launched. Users spend ~25M minutes in Live each day. In her presentation, Catherine Cook Connelly talks about how they built Live, why it monetizes so well, and how it enables meaningful connections for their users on MeetMe, Skout, Tagged, and LOVOO.
MARKETING TECHNOLOGY INSIGHTS - Feb 15 - Catherine Cook Connelly, the co-Founder and VP Brand Strategy at The Meet Group spoke at the Mobile Growth Summit 2019 this week. Her session is about how they built Live, their live streaming video feature and why it works so well for their portfolio of apps. "It is the most successful product we have ever launched in the company's history, reaching a $71M annualized revenue run rate in just 15 months of being active," she said.
Q: What was behind your decision to build Live?
A: From watching MOMO and other popular Chinese dating apps, we began to see how live streaming can fill a core product gap in dating apps. We've always thought of our apps as the neighborhood bar, and video is the live entertainment meant to keep people engaged and give them something more to talk about. Our apps - LOVOO, MeetMe, Tagged, and Skout - have ~25M minutes of live video every day, and we have not experienced cannibalization of our core text-based chat. Instead, live video fills the product gaps.
Q: Did you have a monetization model in mind prior to its launch?
A: Yes, we used the monetization model popularized in Eastern live streaming apps that rely on viewers to send gifts to the broadcaster. The model has taken off with our users because streamers have an incentive to make interesting streams. We're introducing new products such as Battles, which brings an exciting competitive dynamic to Live. The feature brings together two live streamers for a live competition, whether it be for best dancer, musician or comedian. Each battle lasts just a few minutes, and the winner is the streamer who earns more diamonds from the audience. On a larger scale, we expect to bring Levels to the platform this year. Levels adds a gamification element to Live by establishing aspirational ranks for users and exclusive benefits to unlock.
Q: It seems like being a "live streamer" is now a formal occupation that can be quite lucrative… can you discuss this phenomenon as you are seeing it unfold firsthand?
A: A few of our streamers have said they plan to quit their jobs or have taken a step back from their previous job to build themselves up as streamers. 20% of our streamers consider themselves full-time live streamers.
WUV.DE - Dec 20 - The three 20-second Lovoo spots will be featured on the ProSieben, ProSieben Maxx and Sixx channels by the end of January. It will advertise the new livestreaming feature of the dating app. The campaign was developed by the creative agency Jung von Matt.
OPW INTERVIEW - Sep 3 - Meet Group has acquired Skout, Tagged and Lovoo, and has added video, in similar fashion to Momo, in the last year. Fascinating! I asked Geoff how the integrations are coming together, and monetizing.
Meet Group is ahead of schedule for enabling video, and are finding that audiences across their various geographic markets are very similar in terms of their behavior around video. Livestreaming really fits the dating context well, and actually helps solves a particular core problem with Internet dating. Many males and females are left out with Internet dating apps. They come to a dating platform to feel less lonely, and end up feeling more lonely. However, on Meet Group dating services, "livestreaming video enables them to replace feelings of loneliness with feelings of entertainment where they can actually engage with the broadcaster." But its not all about entertainment. 56% of video users report that they meet in real life.
"Video monetizes extraordinarily well." Meet Group went from zero revenue from 'gifts' to video broadcasters to a $37 million run-rate business from video gifts by July 2018. This is mainly from MeetMe and Skout. Meanwhile, Lovoo has been experimenting with bitcoin, but this is very fledgling and not a huge contributor to revenues yet.
MOBILBRANCHE - Aug 10 - Dating app LOVOO says it is possible for companies and publishers to earn up to 2K euros a month with their new live streaming feature. The example is 20-year-old wood sculptor Alexander Bartl who films himself live while working on wooden figures. He has built a fan base that rewards him with cash or virtual gifts. He has collected 2M diamonds in the last three months. This corresponds to a monetary value of ~4K euros.
by Sebastian Beintker
See full article at MobilBranche
PRESS RELEASE - July 18 - "With LOVOO Live now rolling out in Germany, we have completed the rollout of live video on all of our major apps," said Geoff Cook, CEO of The Meet Group. The Meet Group's annualized video revenue run rate now exceeds $35M based on June's results, up 20% in two months.
BUSINESSWIRE - June 13 - The Meet Group announced the release of live video on LOVOO, its leading European dating app, in Spain and Italy. "We are pleased to continue rolling out livestreaming video to the LOVOO audience, building on our previous launches in Austria, Switzerland, and France with this expansion to Spain and Italy," said Geoff Cook, CEO of The Meet Group. "We are progressing ahead of schedule, and we expect to bring Live to Germany, LOVOO's largest country, later this summer." Live lets users interact with one another by allowing them to broadcast from anywhere at any time.
BUSINESSWIRE - May 31 - Lovoo Live enables users to broadcast and view live-streaming video, invite others to join their streams, chat, and earn virtual gifts. The release of live video in France and Switzerland follows the launch of Live in Austria two weeks ago, where an average of 15% of users engaged with video on the first day. "What has been surprising is the rapid adoption of gifting on Lovoo," said Geoff Cook, CEO of The Meet Group. "On MeetMe, it took 6 months from the launch of gifts to reach 2% of viewers giving gifts. On LOVOO, we achieved that milestone in the first week."
BUSINESSWIRE - Apr 9 - "We see momentum in video building," said Geoff Cook, CEO of The Meet Group. "We have begun the rollout of Tagged livestreaming on our shared video platform, and we expect to launch enhanced video monetization on Tagged next month. Additionally, we are ahead of schedule with our plans to bring live video to Lovoo, and we now expect to begin rolling out the feature in a phased approach starting in May." The number of monetizing users continues to increase on MeetMe and Skout. The number of paid gifters increased 36% in March over February. Gifters buy virtual gifts for livestreamers.
SEEKING ALPHA - Jan 15 - Meet's operating performance is impressive, especially when compared to the competition. The recent acquisition of Lovoo has given The Meet Group more exposure to Europe and should diversify the company's holdings with expertise in subscription and in-app purchases. Lovoo has a diversified revenue stream with 48% coming from subscriptions, 24% from in-app purchases, and 28% from ads. It has 47K new global registrations per day and it employs 97 people full-time between its offices in Dresden and Berlin. Given the additional reach of the combined company, it is reasonable to project revenue to grow 25% annually for the next two years. By comparison, the dating app market's growth rate has dropped from 15% to 9% from 2015 to 2017 and is expected to continue at a growth rate of 5.31% until 2021.
GLOBAL TIMES - Jan 8 - Lovoo, Badoo, Tinder, Grindr, Her, Tantan, Momo, Blued and LesPark have proliferated both in the West and the East. They have enabled people to meet across social milieus, increased intercultural marriages and has led to more marriage stability, according to the MIT Technology Review magazine. But does it benefit everyone equally? The short answer is no. The nature of the dating apps favors those who are considered "attractive" by society's terms. "Society has been conditioned to see Caucasian people as the standard of beauty" the magazine Study Breaks wrote. Data analysis by OkCupid from 2009 to 2014 proved that people of color and Asian men are marginalized the most in the dating market. To find out more about the role that race plays in online dating in China, the Metropolitan launched a social experiment on the Chinese dating app Tantan. The platform has mainly Chinese users. Surprisingly, the results were similar to previous findings in the US. The Asian man scored lowest with a 3% match rate, while his Western counterpart reached 12% match rate. Meanwhile, the Asian woman received 15% match rate, while the Western woman received 66%.
HORIZONT.NET - Nov 20 - German dating app Lovoo now allows Bitcoins as one of its payment methods. Lovoo claims 70M registered users and 2M daily active users in Germany. The app was acquired by The Meet Group for $70M in September. Although digital currencies have not yet reached the mass market, that could change very soon. According to rumors, Amazon will soon allow Bitcoins. Amazon has not denied the rumors. Meanwhile, Lovoo is already thinking about enabling advertisers to pay with Bitcoins.
NOAH CONFERENCE - Nov 10 - CEOs of Parship, EliteSingles and The Meet Group were interviewed at the "Future of online dating" panel during the NOAH17 conference in London. They spoke about the past, present and future of online dating.
Parship – two brands - Parship & ElitePartner that operate in the matchmaking segment, €120M annual revenue (mobile revenue €35M), ~50% of registrations are via mobile, 100k babies
EliteSingles – renamed to Spark Networks, predicted 2018 revenue $122M, EBITDA $22M, 500K paying members
The Meet Group – 15M monthly active users, 4.5M daily active users (DAU), 190K new members every day, acquired Lovoo and Tagged; focus on live video streaming, 20% of DAU use live streaming every day.
Q: Are people on your platform looking for a relationship?
Geoff: Half of Meetme users would say dating, half would say friendship. On Lovoo, ¼ of users say they are looking for entertainment.
Tim: Serious relationship, people go through our questionnaire that takes 30-40 minutes.
Jeronimo: We have very similar product as Parship, our questionnaire also takes 30-40 minutes.
Q: What's your view on Bumble?
Geoff: It is a great success story. Tinder introduced double swipe to unlock the chat, Bumble amped it up with the female initiating the conversation after double swipe.
Tim: It helps them a lot to be part of Badoo.
Q: How much do you spend on TV ads?
Jeronimo: It is a double-digit million number. 2/3 of our marketing budget goes into offline media, 1/3 goes to online&digital.
Geoff: 70% of our revenue comes from advertising today, that was 85% before Lovoo. We believe live streaming is going to change that. People can send gifts to the streamers. The gifts could be purchased with our virtual currency.
Q: Do you see the younger demographic declining on your platforms because they don't watch TV with ads?
Tim: No, we have actually seen the biggest influx in the younger demographic (25+)
Jeronimo: We are shifting our advertising from TV to online. We are shifting to where our audience is. So I don't think shifting away from TV will impact our business.
Q: How global is your business?
Geoff: 80% is international.
Jeronimo: Half North America, half the rest of the world, mostly Europe.
Tim: We are mostly focused on the German-speaking market and we are very comfortable.
Q: What is going to happen in 5 years?
Tim: We will continue with consolidation.
Geoff: I think if you stand still, you'll die. The competition is big.
BUSINESSWIRE - Oct 20 - The Lovoo app is the most downloaded dating app in Germany, Switzerland, and Austria combined. The acquisition is expected to expand The Meet Group's global footprint, increase the company's scale and profitability. The Meet Group's financial results will be out on November 1.
This post also appears on InternetDatingInvestments.
BUSINESSWIRE - Sep 20 - The Meet Group is acquiring Lovoo, a social dating app, for $70M in cash, inclusive of a $5M contingent earn-out. Lovoo is a social and mobile technology company based in Germany, #1 dating app in German speaking countries (Germany, Switzerland and Austria) in terms of app store downloads. Lovoo has €27.2M in revenues (based on Subscriptions 48%; In-app Purchases 24%; Ads 28%); 5M monthly active users and 1.9M daily active users; 47k new global registrations per day; and 97 full-time employees spread across Dresden and Berlin. The Company expects that Lovoo will remain a separate brand and standalone mobile app following the closing of the acquisition, and that Lovoo's headquarters will remain in Dresden, Germany. The Meet Group's portfolio includes MeetMe, Skout, Tagged, and Hi5.
GRUENDERSZENE - Mar 20 - Mayze, a new Munich-based dating app, has been launched recently. Marianne Kraai, the app's founder, calls her app "Parship for the young generation". While the Tinder aims at young mobile users, who are mainly looking for casual relationships, Parship attracts older users who are looking for serious relationships. Mayze wants to position itself in the middle. The market is crowded. There is Tinder, Lovoo and Spotted but the apps don't attract any investors. Lovoo, for example, did not receive any external money. According to TechCrunch, there were only $47M for dating startups in 2016 - $32M went to a Chinese player. "Investors are often afraid of dating apps," says Romain Lavault, partner of the French VC Partech Ventures who led the investment in Once. "The apps do not hold their users, and it is very difficult to get users to pay," says Lavault. In addition, the exit market for dating startups is quite limited. Anke Hecht from VC Target Global sees a lack of innovation. "The dating market has not changed for years", she says.