Today’s dating industry jaw-dropper is that Coffee Meets Bagel has managed to convince investors to give them almost $8M to continue to build and grow the straggling service. Investors just gave a niche service a huge pot of gold. Full details at TechCrunch.

Only a few weeks ago, CMB failed spectacularly on Shark Tank, flubbing their pitch and then turning down $30 million from Mark Cuban, the biggest offer ever on the show. Unbelievable.

I would have taken the money and run. Delivering singles one match a day doesn’t work. People want choice, just look at Tinder.

The Kang sisters report the site has made more than 20 million matches with 10,000 couples in relationships and about 80 couples engaged or married. As for the turning down Cuban’s offer, they say they have no regrets.

I don’t care about:

  • 20 million matches
  • 10,000 couples in relationships
  • 80 engaged/married couples
  • Mark Cuban’s television posturing

Engagement numbers are where it’s at, not visitor or number of matches, whatever that means (different definition for many sites). What I want to know is how many people have responded to communication requests. Everything else is investor spin.

Somebody call me a doctor. Speaking of spin, my head was spinning when I read about the twenty million matches. Just what does that mean? I assume it means 40 million people have been matched. That’s crazy. Or are they counting people matched multiple times? The lack of any standard metrics in the dating industry is a decade-old problem with no solution in sight. Drives me nuts.

I would have loved to sit in on the investor partner meetings when they dug into the hard-core due diligence. Those guys have balls of steel and need a place to spend their cash, and ding ding ding CMB welcome to being owned by The Money People, best of luck keeping them at bay. If there was more traction I’d be less likely to say that, but CMB has to execute perfectly, otherwise they’re toast, especially since they admitted to at linking up around 30 people a year.

Millions of dollars and 5+ years to strongly connect 160 people. Think about that.

In what other industry can a 0.05% success rate raise $8 million dollars? That’s about the same chances as getting someone to click on a banner ad.

At this point we’ll sit back for the year and watch Hinge and CMB battle it out, at least from the perspective that they have both raised significant amounts of capital and have some overlap in terms of functionality.

I think Hinge will go the way of HowAboutWe. Big buildup, funding, media darlings and then when the hype has settled, reality sets in. Friends matching friends is old hat, and strangely it’s never really worked in the digital space. Sure there are many matches being made across a couple of services, but in the grand scheme of things, barely making a ripple.

Hopefully all of this money will allow Hinge and Coffee Meets Bagel to figure things out. That’s a long runway and also a lot of time for competitors to come in with cheaper/better/faster and more effective offerings.

I worked on my first friends-matching-friends service in 2009. That was six years ago. And for all the hype, now all we have is Hinge and CMB, that’s it! Even LikeBright pivoted to anonymous chat, and they were deep into friend-matching.

Just wait until Match unveils a friend-matching app, that’s going to be fun to watch.