Online dating remains an “exhausting and disappointing” experience


Coffee meets bagel started out as a slow, steady alternative to the often shallow and cheerful world of online dating. But as the company enters its seventh year in business, it is looking for ways to attract new customers and convince existing customers to upgrade to its premium offerings.

After reorganizing its subscription services and increasing $ 12 million In its Series B, CMB doubled its user count in 2018, co-founder and co-CEO Dawoon Kang told Yahoo Finance on Wednesday. The company did not specify the exact number of subscribers, but said it is in the millions.

Kang and his co-founding sisters appeared on “Shark Tank” in 2015, epically denying Mark Cuban Offer of $ 30 million buy the business in bulk. Kang said she had absolutely no regrets.

“When my sisters and I started this business, we started with a big vision. We wanted to change the way singles experience dating. Dating is really tough, and if you ask someone, online dating, in particular, is such a draining, underwhelming, almost jaded experience. And a few years later, it still is. In fact, therefore, we did not solve the problem that we wanted to solve.

A subscription model sparked an “internal debate”

Here’s how its service works: every day at noon, users receive a limited number of “bagels” or potential matches. If you don’t like any of your bagels, you can use CMB’s in-app currency, aptly called “coffee beans,” to get new bagels. It differs from other popular dating sites which offer an endless amount of potential matches.

SHARK TANK – “Episode 611” – Three sisters from San Francisco, Calif., Hope for a perfect game with the Sharks and their dating app that introduces singles to friends of friends. (Photo by Tony Rivetti / Walt Disney Television via Getty Images via Getty Images)

Kang said they are still refining a $ 40 monthly subscription package, which gives you the ability to “like” as many people as you want in the Discover section, and a feature that encourages users to more potential matches, which the company claims to drive 2.5 times more connections.

“Our model is a limited number of quality matches, but if you’re actually someone who’s committed enough to pay, we want to give you more,” she said.

This approach seems counterintuitive to the original value proposition – to ensure that people don’t just view humans as commodities.

“There has been a lot of internal debate on this issue as well, because our core business is creating real connections that matter to our users. We think the best approach is this slow dating. Does this go against what we are really trying to achieve? We do not offer unlimited likes to every user. Then we would just become Tinder.

She explained why the company isn’t like Tinder, which is owned by Match Group (MTCH). “The subscribers [on Coffee Meets Bagel] are in fact committed enough to prioritize meetings. They will spend time carefully browsing and looking at each profile and not treating it like another shot.

Hong Kong, Hong Kong - 08 AOT: A smart phone with the icons of the dating apps of Bumble, Tinder, SKOUT, OkCupid, Coffee Meets Bagel (CMB), Tastenbuds, Match, happn and POF are visible on the screen in Hong Kong, Hong Kong, August 8, 2018 (Photo by Yu Chun Christopher Wong / S3studio / Getty Images)

A smartphone with the icons of the dating apps of Bumble, Tinder, SKOUT, OkCupid, Coffee Meets Bagel (CMB), Tastenbuds, Match, happn and POF (Photo by Yu Chun Christopher Wong / S3studio / Getty Images)

Tinder, for its part, has been the golden child of Match Group, which also owns Hinge, Match, PlentyOfFish, Meetic, OkCupid, OurTime, and Pairs. Tinder, which accounts for 55% of total Match Group subscribers, added 384,000 paying members in the last quarter, proving that singles are willing to invest in the pursuit of their future partner.

“Almost every week we see a New York Times Wedding Invitation couples who meet via Coffee Meets Bagel. We’ve kind of lost track at this point because there are so many marriages and even children – we call them bagel bites – but there are hundreds of thousands of them, ”she said. declared.

Kang herself met her two former boyfriends on the platform. While she’s still single now, she said it was fun to see how people react when they find out she’s created the platform they log on to. “Sometimes people are like ‘Oh my God, this is so exciting.’ Sometimes they just go away.

Interestingly, the Series B funding round that Kang got last year is to invest in live events – to move the online connection into the real world. While online dating isn’t so stigmatized anymore, meeting someone organically or at a bar seems like the counterculture to be done in 2019.

Melody Hahm is a senior writer at Yahoo Finance, covering entrepreneurship, technology and real estate. Follow her on Twitter @melodyhahm. she hosts Eruptions, a monthly interview series for Yahoo Finance featuring up-close and intimate conversations with today’s most innovative business leaders.

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