M&A and VC activity
Match.com, a business unit of IAC, acquired edodo in China and Netclub in France in February this year. Match operates 35 country sites in 15 languages. The deal will add 4 million subscribers to Match.com’s already existing 15 million.
MeetMoi, the mobile dating site has raised $1.5 million in funding in its first round of financing from Acadia Woods Partners.
Engage has closed a $5 million venture funding led by The Founders Fund and Revolution Ventures.
OkCupid, America’s largest free online dating site recently completed a $6 million in Series A funding from a group of angel investors. OkCupid is the fastest growing free, online dating site in the United States with more than 2 million monthly unique users and 500,000 active users.
eHarmony raised $110 million in VC funding from Sequoia Capital, Technology Crossover Ventures and other VC firms and individuals in 2004. eHarmony was founded in 2000 with $3 million of Series A funding from Fayez Sarofim & Co. and individual investors. This is a likely IPO coming up.
With more and more daters going online, dating sites are experiencing increasing traffic. People are getting more comfortable dating online and it is catching up across the world. While sites are experiencing increasing membership very few sites are making profits, which is a major concern.
With the market for online dating saturating in the US and strong growth expected in the EU and Asia, I expect to see consolidation in the industry.
Though some new age sites with interesting Web 3.0 applications have evolved they are also yet to make profits. Many entrepreneurs are focusing on niche sites and radically different business models like JDate.com, TrekPassion, Green Friends, Golfmates, Plentyof Fish, and OkCupid and I see these as interesting experiments.
The big next movement in Online Dating ought to come from the social networking plays, who can create subscription based matchmaking services. It would tackle their looming monetization questions. For more on this topic, please read my Facebook’s Monetization Strategy series.