OPW - July 20 - After 7 years, Tim Schiffers, the incumbent CEO, is handing over the baton to Marc Schachtel and Geoff Cook. Marc Schachtel (formerly COO) and Geoff Cook (Founder/CEO, The Meet Group) are now co-CEOs of ParshipMeet Group. Henning Rönneberg is CFO.
Tim successfully completed the merger of Parship Group with The Meet Group and is moving on to new challenges outside the organization.
Marc will lead the entire matchmaking business as CEO of Parship Group: Parship, ElitePartner, eharmony, LOVOO. See Marc's Linkedin post.
Geoff will continue to be responsible for the Social Dating & Entertainment division: MeetMe, Skout, Tagged, GROWLr and the live video streaming solution vPaaS, which powers the video solution of some of the largest dating and social apps in the world. See Geoff's Linkedin post.
LOVOO.COM - Nov 26 - Anna Maria Wanninger, Darshan Sheth, and Claudio Di Vincenzo form the new management of LOVOO with immediate effect. Wanninger, as managing director, is responsible for Live Video & Community Management, the HR department, various communication areas and LOVOO's customer service. CFO Di Vincenzo heads the Legal, Analytics, Finance and Controlling divisions. As COO, Sheth manages the Product Development & Management and Advertising divisions. Co-founders Florian Braunschweig and Tobias Börner and Thomas Dumlich are leaving the company to devote themselves to new entrepreneurial tasks. LOVOO has been part of the newly founded ParshipMeet Group since September 2020.
APPPROMOTION SUMMIT - Nov 18 - App Promotion Summit has announced the finalist for the 2020 App Growth Awards, the annual awards for the global app growth. Launched in 2017, the awards recognizes the most successful companies and their apps. There are 20 categories, including App Growth Innovation, App Marketer of The Year, Best Facebook/Instagram Campaign, Fastest Growing App, and many more. Dating app Lovoo has been nominated in three categories - App Marketer of the Year, Growth Team of the Year and Snap Campaign. The winners will be announced on Dec 3rd. Lovoo is a German dating app owned by The Meet Group.
BUSINESSWIRE - Sep 4 - The Meet Group announced the completion of its acquisition by the parent company of eharmony. ParshipMeet Group was created to manage The Meet Group and Parship Group. It now operates MeetMe, LOVOO, Tagged, Skout, GROWLr, eharmony, Parship and ElitePartner.
The Meet Group focuses on community while bringing social entertainment to dating, monetizing through livestreaming video. Parship Group brands are market leaders in the matchmaking space; focused on serious relationships and monetizing through subscriptions.
The all-cash transaction represents an enterprise value of ~$500m.
"We are thrilled to combine with a globally leading matchmaking company," said Geoff Cook, CEO of The Meet Group. "We believe this deal will help define the future of dating. We will continue to focus on... building the best dating features in the world, ...investing in livestreaming..., and discovering opportunities to expand and grow – organically and through strategic relationships, including our video-platform-as-a-service offering". 195k+ dating games are played each day across The Meet Group's apps, up 104% since March.
"The Meet Group's livestreaming video platform is unique and well positioned for a post-pandemic world where video becomes a critical part of finding and screening first dates," said Tim Schiffers, CEO of ParshipMeet Group. "By combining The Meet Group's assets with Parship Group's strengths, we've created a global dating leader and one of the most diversified portfolios of dating brands in the world. ...We see significant potential to further the growth of The Meet Group's video platform-as-a-service products, as well opportunities for knowledge-sharing and cross-selling."
ParshipMeet Group is jointly owned by ProSiebenSat.1, a leading free-to-air TV broadcaster and video entertainment company in the German-speaking markets, and General Atlantic, a leading global growth equity firm providing capital and strategic support for growth companies.
Additionally, from ProSiebenSat1:
ParshipMeet Group has revenues of EUR 451 million and adjusted EBITDA of EUR 95 million as of H1 2020, for the last 12 months. Double-digit annual growth rates expected
The combined company operates as ParshipMeet Group, a newly-minted unicorn and a leading global player in the online dating market. ProSiebenSat.1 owns 53% and General Atlantic 43% in ParshipMeet Group. The remainder is held by management.
Rainer Beaujean, Chairman & CFO, ProSiebenSat.1 said, "This investment case is also another strong proof of concept of our ability to use the strengths of our Entertainment business to support the growth and development of consumer-facing digital platform and commerce businesses."
Joern Nikolay, MD, General Atlantic said, "We believe in the ability of ParshipMeet Group...to bring transformative digital innovation to the global online dating sector...and harness the power of technology."
Tim Schiffers, CEO, ParshipMeet Group said, "Online dating, and interactive live video in particular, is a global megatrend that will continue to transform all of our lives in the future. ...Our brands span the whole spectrum of the online dating market: meeting, dating and falling in love. ...We are perfectly positioned for sustained long-term growth."
ProSiebenSat.1 and General Atlantic are evaluating an IPO for ParshipMeet Group in 2022.
BBC - Sep 2 - On dating app MeetMe, users broadcast live from their phones and then interact with people who tune in. This live vlogging format includes a series of live dating game shows. Livestreamers are paired up to see if there is any chemistry between them. Viewers comment on a "stream" underneath, in real time. MeetMe is part of a suite of dating apps run by The Meet Group. Others include Skout, Tagged (for African-American audience) and Lovoo (an app developed in Germany, which MeetMe bought). Between them they have ~15M users, and on average 180K dating games are played each day, with ~1M people watching the live dates unfold. CEO Geoff Cook describes the platforms as "a public version of speed dating". Plenty of Fish is also currently offering live dating experiences. Badoo has recently experimented with the idea as well.
Mark Brooks: Geoff Cook, CEO of The Meet Group, made a couple of impactful statements in the BBC video interview. Geoff said, "I certainly believe daters no longer have the risk appetite for meeting many different people in person based on something as shallow as a right swipe." This risk, of course, is heightened right now because of covid. However, there's always been additional risks when daters meet in-person for the first time. Especially the risk of disappointment when people have misrepresented themselves in their dating profile and photos. The best thing about video is, video doesn't lie, so when people meet in-person, they're less likely to be disappointed, or catfished. Geoff also stated "...Live-streaming video helps...by really emphasizing personalities" which I think is why this new video dating norm will be here to stay. It's so tough for dating apps to really help people get a sense of chemistry. But with video, users can actually get their first sense of chemistry. That's huge! (Full Disclosure: The Meet Group are a client of Courtland Brooks)
FORBES - May 11 - The Meet Group provides interactive live video solutions for its apps - MeetMe, LOVOO, Skout, Tagged and Growlr, and also Match Group's Plenty of Fish. Across that spectrum, The Meet Group works to ensure safety and security for its social media connections. Recently, the live meet-up sections of MeetMe, Skout and Plenty of Fish introduced NextDate speed dating sessions with built-in The Meet Group Technology. Running now through May 30, those sites will host Speed Dating Social Hours at 10PM and 11PM ET, every Thursday and Saturday. The Meet Group will reward those who find their match on NextDate. The first 25 couples to match will receive 8K ($50) credits redeemable on the MeetMe, Skout, and Plenty of Fish dating apps to buy and send gifts to members who are live-streaming on the apps or playing NextDate on any of the social media platforms.
by John Scott Lewinski
See full article at Forbes
OPW - Nov 26 - Lovoo, the German dating app owned by The Meet Group, is launching a German language online dating podcast with Ronja, a 29 years old single woman. She will go on Lovoo dates and share her dating experience with the listeners. You can access the podcast here.
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.