The OPW/iDate Weekly News Summary.
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Spark Networks to Acquire Zoosk
PR NEWSWIRE - Mar 22 - Spark Networks today announced its entry into a definitive agreement to acquire Zoosk. With the addition of Zoosk, Spark will more than double in size and the combined business will be considerably more valuable than the two stand-alone entities. In 2020, Spark expects Adjusted EBITDA to exceed $50M. Approximately two-thirds of the combined company's revenue will be generated in North America. Spark will acquire 100% of Zoosk's shares with a combination of cash and stock valuing the company at ~$255M based on the closing price of Spark Networks stock on March 20, 2019. The transaction is expected to close early in Q3 2019.
Facebook Prepares Roll Out of Dating App in Europe
LETSGODIGITAL - Mar 18 - Facebook Dating was announced last year. It was launched in Colombia in November and tests were also carried out in Canada and Thailand. Today the first official screenshots with Dutch and French language surface, showing the dating app in detail. Users can access the dating section from their Facebook account. The app will become part of the regular Facebook app.
Bumble in Talks for First Round of VC Funding
AXIOS - Mar 21 - Bumble is in talks to raise what would be its first round of traditional VC funding. One potential investor is said to be Accel Growth.
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The Meet Group CEO: Livestream 'Talent' to Double Dating App 'Gift' Sales
PHILADELPHIA BUSINESS JOURNAL - Mar 21 - The Meet Group has built its portfolio of five dating apps through acquisitions, with the $11.8M deal to buy niche gay dating app Growlr being the most recent. Historically, the company has looked for apps that either expand into a segment of users it hasn't reached before or a new geographic area, like Growlr with the gay community and Lovoo with its European foothold. Integrating video has been a top priority. They like to see a lot of one-to-one chat messages and relatively high DAU. Meet's new video revenue stems from in-app purchases users make to buy and give "gifts" like a virtual race car, and when a popular livestreamer acquires the equivalent of ~$200 worth, they can redeem for cash. Apple and Google get a 30% cut of revenue stemming from in-app purchases, the livestreamer gets 35% and Meet pockets the other 35%. Cook expects video revenue to double in 2019 and double again by 2021.
Ashley Madison Reaches 60 Million Members
PR NEWSWIRE - Mar 18 - Ashley Madison has released its Report on Customer Statistics for the year of 2018, claiming ~14,500 new member accounts were added on average each day. The report has further revealed that for every active paid male account there was 1.11 active female accounts created in 2018. The site surpassed the 60M member mark in February.
A Chinese Dating App for Gay Men Is Helping Them Have Kids, Too
BLOOMBERG BUSINESSWEEK - Mar 21 - The urge to have a child hit Blued's founder Geng Le hard after age 35. Surrogacy is illegal in China. Another option was Thailand, but by 2015 that country had banned foreign surrogacy. Geng decided on California, which offered the best legal protections for "intended parents" such as himself, excellent advanced medical care for the surrogate and the newborn, and a U.S. passport for the baby. The surrogacy process was a long drumbeat of tests, contract signings, and administrative details. When the due date came around, Geng flew to LA for the birth and held his son for the first time. He returned home with his son, Xiao Shu, in March 2017. He also brought back a new idea for Blued: an overseas surrogacy service for gay men - Bluedbaby. Bluedbaby shepherds clients through such choices, connecting them with steps such as choosing an egg donor, finding a surrogate, signing contracts, and navigating American culture.
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Bumble Hires First VP of Partnerships
THE DRUM - Mar 21 - Michele Tobin joins Bumble as its first VP of partnerships, having previously served as VP of global brand partnerships and advertising at Grindr.
Dating App LoveFlutter Hits the Deadpool
OPW - Mar 20 - It looks like the end has come for LoveFlutter, the "Twitter dating" app. LoveFlutter first launched in 2013 as a dating app powered by Google's Knowledge Graph, and used Foursquare to suggest ideas for first dates. The app relaunched in 2017 and implemented Twitter feed into users' profiles. "Your tweets say a lot about your personality and therefore are good online dating fodder," said Loveflutter co-founder Daigo Smith back in May 2017. Last year, the app was found on sale on Flippa for $150K. The LoveFlutter.com website is now down and the app is no longer available in the app stores.
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