Dating Group, one of the largest companies in the dating industry with 73 million registered users across its portfolio, today announced the acquisition of Once, a leading app for quality dating in Western Europe. The deal values the company at around €14.9 million and is made via a combination of cash and Dating Group stock.
Founded in 2015, Swiss startup Once leverages AI algorithms to provide just one match per day to each user. Each pair has 24 hours of each other’s attention and can continue chatting if they “like” each other. The AI looks at the account’s info, dating preferences and previous history in order to find the best possible match. Users can also rate each particular profile to let the AI better understand their taste.
Once is championing a “slow” dating model focusing on quality matches over competing for the user’s attention. It is a leading app in the dating category in its core countries in Western Europe and has built a profitable business with over 10 million users. Now it becomes a part of Dating Group, one of the largest global holdings in the dating and social discovery markets.
Clémentine Lalande, co-founder and CEO of Once, will continue leading the company. Having experienced swipe-based dating apps herself she wanted to build a refreshing alternative enabling quality dating. “I am thrilled to join the Dating Group today, both because of their proven focus on post-swiping dating alternatives, and to leverage the huge synergies between Once and Dating Group. In such a concentrated and competitive market having a large partner will allow us to augment our reach and accelerate geographical expansion”.
The emotional impact of the pandemic and the lockdown encouraged people to take dating more seriously and Once’s solution has a perfect timing. By providing meaningful connections based on a thorough analysis it frees people from countless swipes and endless hours spent on their phones.
“We strongly believe in the concept of AI and making quality matches. We see a huge potential in integrating Once into our portfolio”, said Bill Alena, Chief Investment Officer at Dating Group. “We’re excited to have Clémentine join Dating Group, she and her team have built a fascinating product and with this acquisition Dating Group expands deeper into the Western European market.”