FORBES - May 24 - Online dating app Muzmatch serves ~2.5M Muslim users around the world. Its new video dating feature makes the world's first religious-themed dating app to include video calling. According to Muzmatch's own in-house surveys, 83% of its users had trouble finding a spouse because of lockdowns. According to CEO Shahzad Younas, the new function doesn't come without some controversy as video dating is rejected by many Muslims. Some followers would consider it "haram" or forbidden.
MUZMATCH - May 18 - Muslim dating app Muzmatch is big on charity. In 2018, the app raised £8K to feed school children in Sudan; and in 2019 Muzmatch raised £14K to help end forced marriages. This year, the app is partnering with Read Foundation to build a school for children in Pakistan.
SIFTED.EU - May 4 - Dating apps say that virtual features will last beyond the pandemic as video dates become the new norm. "The current normalisation of video communication is in one way irreversible," says Philip Jonzon Jarl, the cofounder of Swedish dating app Relate. "There might be a new kind of pre-date step being born." Founded in 2018 to make matches based on "values" rather than profile pics, and with $1.3M behind it, Relate has seen its active users increase 40% during lockdown. Another UK app, The Intro, was founded in London in 2019, just months before lockdown. Founder George Burgess, who previously launched several educational apps, says this has pulled in thousands of users across the capital - despite having raised just £750k. Her, a UK-based dating app geared towards lesbian, queer, bisexual and bicurious women and non-binary people, has 5.5M users around the world. Founded by Robyn Exton in the UK in 2015, it has raised $2M to date. Her moved its matchmaking mixers online to host virtual speed dating events. The founder says virtual speed dating will almost certainly continue after the pandemic. Meanwhile, Swiss dating app Once has built a live video feature in just five days. Already ~18K virtual dates have taken place on the app. The record duration of a virtual date so far is 11 hours and forty minutes (between two people in Paris). Not every dating app has been fast off the mark. Happn says it has seen an 18% increase in the lengths of in-app conversations and will launch video dating this month. Muzmatch, the worlds' biggest dating app for Muslims, is also preparing to launch video and voice calling within the coming weeks.
ALBAWABA - Feb 14 - Muzmatch brands itself as a platform for Muslims to date and get to know each other for the purpose of marriage. When muzmatch was first released, it took them four years to get to one million users. After that, they glided into two million users within just six months. Currently, almost half of matches on muzmatch are intercultural and interracial. Muzmatch is not the only Muslim-focused dating app. Minder, for example has a Tinder-like interface but is made for Muslims who want to "halal-date", and Muzproposal is similar to Bumble in that the woman alone can initiate the conversation after matching.
BUSINESSWIRE - Dec 9 - IDEA (The Internet Dating Excellence Association) is launching the Social Safety Badge and Guidelines for high quality dating apps. "The goal of this badge is to help users identify dating, matchmaking and social apps that are distinguished in their commitment to a safe and exceptional experience for users," said IDEA President Mark Brooks.
The guidelines cover:
The following dating apps are in the initial launch group and have signed on to the badge, stating that they will adhere to the guidelines:
IDEA was formed in 2007 as the Internet Dating Executive Alliance and changed to the Internet Dating Excellence Association in 2018. The group is made up of 700+ dating industry executives and dating company leaders and innovators from around the world.
TECH CRUNCH - July 26 - Muzmatch, a matchmaking app for Muslims, has just raised a $7M Series A. The app has now ~1.5M users, across 210 countries. The funding will help fuel growth in key international markets, is jointly led by US hedge fund Luxor Capital, and Silicon Valley accelerator Y Combinator - the latter having previously selected Muzmatch for its summer 2017 batch of startups. Last year the team also took in a $1.75M seed. The team has grown from four people seven months ago to 17 now. With the Series A the plan is to further expand headcount to almost 30. Muzmatch was already profitable two years ago.
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STANDARD.CO.UK - July 25 - Muslim dating app Muzmatch helped 15K couples meet and get married. Muzmatch is often dubbed the Muslim Tinder but the app's founder and CEO, Shahzad Younas, is not so happy with the comparison. "Muslims don't date, we marry," he says. Younas quit his job as an investment banker and spent six months working 18-hour days to create Muzmatch in his bedroom. Six months after launching, the app had produced its first marriage. Today, Muzmatch has 1.5M members. The start-up has achieved profitability thanks to its premium paid-for tier but the next stage is to continue to improve the app and its features, and expand the team and its reach. The start-up has today announced the close of Series A funding round for $7m. Investors included respected Silicon Valley-based accelerator Y Combinator and Luxor Capital.
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THE AGE - May 11 - Muzmatch was developed and launched by former London banker Shahzad Younas in 2015. Billed as "Where Single Muslims Meet", Muzmatch offers greater privacy and accuracy protections on photos, filters out foul language and anti-Muslim comments, and even offers a "chaperone" option - users can nominate a parent or other person to monitor conversations. The app claims ~1M members worldwide and has led to weddings in 190 different countries between 25K people.
CNET - Apr 10 - More Muslims than ever are turning to apps like Minder and Muzmatch to find romance. "We're the generation that was born with the rise of technology and social media," says Mariam Bahawdory, founder of Muslim dating app Eshq, which, similar to Bumble, allows women to make the first move. "Online dating is generally viewed by some as desperate. But as more people sign up for these apps, that notion is being challenged," says Muzmatch CEO and founder Shahzad Younas. Minder, which launched in 2015, has had ~500K sign-ups. Haroon Mokhtarzada, the CEO, says he was inspired to create the app after meeting several "well educated, highly eligible" Muslim women who struggled to find the right guy to marry. Muzmatch was founded in 2015, and it reached a million members this year.
THE NATIONAL - Apr 4 - Since the matrimonial app for Muslims, Veil, launched on March 18, co-founder Adam Ward admits he's been amazed by the response it has received. At least 100 new users sign up every day. Veil is very discreet and respectful, with images of users kept anonymous until they match with the intention of getting married. There are at least two other apps created solely for Muslims, Muzmatch, which has close to one million users, and Minder. However, while Muzmatch gives users the option to hide or display images, Veil is the first app to introduce what Ward calls a "digital veil", an opaque filter that's applied to all profile pictures to hide the identity of users until a match is mutually made. It's also the first app of its kind to be based in Dubai, with a second office in London.
BBC - Mar 25 - Shahzad Younas is the founder and CEO of Muslim dating site and app Muzmatch. Two years ago, Shahzad was in San Fran pitching Muzmatch at a global competition to win backing from prestigious Silicon Valley investment firm Y Combinator. He opened his address to the room by saying: "Muslims don't date, we marry." Y Combinator offers financial and practical support to a number of new start-ups per year. ~13K applied at the same time as Muzmatch, and it was one of 800 whose founders were invited to pitch in person. Muzmatch was given $1.5M (£1.2M), one of 100 start-ups that got backing in 2017. Today the fast-growing company says it currently has ~1M registered users across the UK and other countries. With a second office in Bangladesh, Muzmatch operates a "freemium" business model. It is free to use its basic service, but users can pay ~£10 a month for extra features such as unlimited viewing of profiles, and having their profile seen by more people. The company says its annual turnover is now~£4.5M.
BUSINESS INSIDER - Jan 14 - Dating app Muzmatch claims ~1M users. Founded by an ex-Morgan Stanley banker, the app caters to Muslims who are looking to find a partner to marry. Muzmatch is mostly popular in Britain, the US and Canada. Shahzad Younas left his job as banker in June 2014 to learn how to build apps after he had the idea for the company. In April 2015, initially using almost $200K of his own savings, he launched the first version of the app from home, and grew it to 50K users around the world in less than a year. He met iOS engineer Ryan Brodie in April 2016. The pair revamped and relaunched the company in August 2016. In summer 2017, the duo raised ~$2M in seed investment. By halfway through 2018, they had 500K registered users. Muzmatch claims to be the only one in the world with a chaperon feature, which allows a friend or relative to be present in a chat. "There's an Islamic principle where when a guy and a girl are getting to know each other there should be a third party present," Younas says. "For some users it's important – if it didn't have that feature, they wouldn't use it." In October 2018, it launched ads on the London Underground with catchy phrases such as "Halal, is it me you're looking for?" It launched a second campaign in January with similarly tongue-in-cheek taglines.
CAMPAIGNLIVE.CO.UK - Sep 7 - Muslim dating site Muzmatch makes reference to well-known hits from Lionel Richie and Adele in its display campaign. With a six-figure media spend, it is running on the London Underground and on buses in London, Birmingham and Manchester.