Coffee Meets Bagel enters the crowded online dating space with an innovative approach built around simplicity and higher-quality matches
A Q&A with Coffee Meets Bagel co-founder and CEO Arum Kang. The company was founded in April of this year, and recently relocated from New York City to San Francisco. The team also raised $600K in Seed funding in late September, led by Lightbank.
SUB: Please describe Coffee Meets Bagel, and the value proposition you bring to online dating.
Kang: We deliver one match per day at noon for our members. It works better than other dating services because it’s simple, private and fun. It’s simple because we don’t inundate our members with low quality matches. We do the work for them, and keep the work on their part to a minute per day. The fact that it’s private—no one else except the two people matched for 24 hours see each other—also makes it more effective. You are not one of hundreds of people competing for the other’s attention. And most importantly, it’s fun because we give you someone to look forward to at noon each day.
SUB: Who are your target users?
Kang: Singles with a Facebook account for now who would like to meet interesting people through friends.
SUB: Who do you consider to be your competition?
Kang: There are lots of dating services in the market, but I think many play and cater to different target audiences.
SUB: When was the company founded and what were the first steps you took in establishing it?
Kang: It was founded last year but we launched in April of 2012 in New York City. The first step I took even before establishing a company was to build a minimum viable product.
SUB: What was the inspiration behind the idea for Coffee Meets Bagel? Was there an ‘aha’ moment, or was the idea more gradual in developing?
Kang: Yes, when I saw Gilt Groupe and how they were building engagement with users, I had the ‘aha’ moment. They created an exciting brand by curating a handful of selections and giving users something fresh every day. We thought we could bring that over to the world of online dating.
SUB: How did you come up with the name? What is the story behind it?
Kang: We wanted to create a comfortable image around our brand and thought, ‘what is one thing people interact with on a daily basis?’ And we wanted that thing to be something people seek out during breaks. Coffee was it. Bagel is a great complement to coffee.
SUB: What have the most significant obstacles been so far to building the company?
Kang: Building a great team.
SUB: You just raised $600K in Seed funding. What are your plans for the funds?
Kang: Building a great team!
SUB: Why was this a particularly good time to raise more outside funding?
Kang: I don’t think there’s a particularly good time. We raised when we could.
SUB: How does the company generate revenue or plan to generate revenue?
Kang: Our core service will always remain free. We plan to see additional items that could help with customer experience.
SUB: What are your goals for Coffee Meets Bagel over the next year or so?
Kang: To expand nationally.
Coffee Meets Bagel – www.coffeemeetsbagel.com