Poking around AngelList for dating site startup funding opportunities. The category features 414 companies, 20,910 investors and 73,873 followers. Over 50 new dating sites have listed on AngelList in the last few months.
Dating site investors are all over the map, it’s not a specific category like medical devices or hardware, and finding relevant investors can be a challenge. Interesting to sort by Signal and Followers. I’ve spoken to some of the VC and angels looking at dating sites and they all say the same thing. Why do I want to get into an overcrowded marketplace full of me-too competitors and little mobile differentiation? Sure there’s room for improvement, but I want a Big Exit, and the plethora of slightly-different mobile apps has me explaining minute differences between apps to slightly dumbfounded investors. “You mean the difference between this app and that is that on one you flick photos around the screen and the other one you don’t, yet they are basically the same?” Welcome to my world.
If you need money, you should have a profile on AngelList, ’nuff said.
Hinge just raised $4 million, that’s the largest raise I’ve seen in a while. And Tindr has all the hype, “You can swipe photos, oh boy!” Who wants to bet that Hinge will be cash-flow positive before Tinder? I don’t know why I’m so down on Tinder, it’s the first app of it’s kind, but I was left nonplussed at the experience. No real profile, zero usable information except for generic Likes, it’s the last app I’d use to meet people, but yet it’s taking off like a rocket, so there’s that.
Just show me how many relationships are created, I could care less about 350 million swipes a month, it’s irrelevant from a user standpoint. Cheap free apps bring cheap free people, how are they going to monetize those eyeballs? Power ups and exposure, just like much of the rest of the dating industry. I’m a better match because I’m exposed to more people on the site? That just clogs up my inbox, no thanks.
I say let the casual dating co’s battle it out for generic connections and hookups. Let’s focus on the startups that can bring real and meaningful connections between people.
Sometimes I just want to raise $10 million and go build a discovery and matching algorithm that works. Everything else is pretty much fluff at this point. Matching based on Facebook social graph doesn’t seem to be going anywhere fast and the mobile swipe-friendly voyeurism reminds me of why most of us were on Myspace back in the day.
The industry gets bigger as dating services get dumber, go figure.