Dating sites have a bright future ahead of them, especially with lifestyles and consumption patterns that are constantly evolving, and digitalization that is increasingly present. The current trend is to promote ‘slow dating’ with one swipe a day to prevent ‘swiping burnouts’, use hyperlocalisation and GPS to meet someone you recently came across, and more!
The pandemic has greatly impacted this sector, preventing users from meeting at first and forcing them into changing their consumption habits in terms of online dating. However, people and dating apps have shown how to adapt to life with restrictions (which we hope will end soon!).
Over the last two decades, there were a bunch of really successful dating/matchmaking-related startups coming out of Europe. Here are a selection of 10 European startups you need to be aware of if you’re in the online dating game, which are were all founded in the last few years, and show promising growth signals:
Once – Founded in 2015 in Switzerland, Once relies on AI algorithms to offer each user only one date per day. Each pair has each other’s attention for 24 hours and can continue chatting if they like each other. The company’s goal is to provide a ‘slow dating’ kind of experience where the consuming, throw-away mentality is something of the past. The startup targets singles who are looking for real connections and beautiful love stories as well as people who have a ‘swiping burn-out’. Recently we interviewed CEO and founder, Clémentine Lalande, and reported on Once’s acquistion by Dating Group for €14.9 million.
So Syncd – This UK-based startup provides users with a personality test to help find the perfect match. The application uses a unique algorithm, based on the Myers-Briggs personality types, to match couples. So far, the startup claims that the Myers-Briggs test has been widely used in the business world, including by 89% of Fortune 100 companies, but not yet for dating. Despite launching during the pandemic (in Jan 2020), the company has been attracting users with more than 60 million messages already sent on the app and about 60,000 users. Just this April, the sibling founder team, Jessica Alderson and Louella Alderson, nabbed €827K in funding.
Meet 5 – Frankfurt-based startup Meet 5 (previously Go Crush) is a dating app that allows people to meet in groups, reducing the awkwardness of online dating and the first date experience. Meet 5 (founded in 2017) therefore aims to solve the existing problems of dating apps, by creating a safer and more relaxed atmosphere. This way of meeting people can suit newcomers in a city as well as singles looking for a more secure environment. This will certainly appeal to users as lockdown restrictions are slowly lifted. The startup recently switched up their name and landed seed funding in 2019.
Happn – Launched in France in 2014, happn is the first 100% mobile, geo-localized and real time dating app. What does this mean exactly? happn helps users find the people they’ve crossed paths with in real life and gives a second chance at a first impression. Having grown a team of 120+ people, their userbase is now at over 100 million people, and they are present in the world’s largest cities including Paris, London, Copenhagen, Amsterdam, New York, Montreal, Sao Paulo, Rio, Buenos Aires, Istanbul, Mumbai, New Delhi, Sydney, Tokyo, and many more.
Relate – Founded in Stockholm in 2018, this app provides support and advice for existing couples to keep them going. You can benefit from expert advice during online workshops or tune in and listen to a podcast with many experts in relationships sharing their thoughts. It also features resources for singles to help them find the right partner and know more about what they want in another person.
BARE – This London-based dating app enables you to meet open-minded people that are real and verified (government-approved ID will be required!). What’s the best thing about BARE you ask? The revealing process puts users in control of how much they want to share and how much of their match they want to be revealed, enabling them to flirt as little or as much as they want. Founded in 2019 and with 10,000+ users and downloads, the company is currently raising funds on Seedrs and is growing fast.
Breeze – Based out of Delft in the Netherlands, Breeze sets out to take online dating, offline again. Everyday users receive two profiles selected by the personalised algorithm, which enables them to go out for a drink with one of these two. Their goal is to encourage people to spend less time swiping on the phone and more time dating in real life. Launched in 2019, the company now has a solid user base with over +1000 active users nationally.
Muzmatch – Founded in London in 2015, Muzmatch connects users of the Muslim faith who are on the journey towards marriage. The free app allows users to get to know each other online first, with the possibility of having chaperones involved online & offline. Users are verified by selfie verification, and can interact without sharing their phone number. Additionally, there are a number of filters to search by “sect, ethnicity, religiousity, dress, how much they pray how much they pray and many more”. Muzmatch is a vibrant community of 4 million people across 190 countries, and so far employs 40+ people.
TubeChat – London folks spending a lot of time in the tube will be happily surprised to know there is an app for chatting while on the Tube! TubeChat was founded in 2018 with the goal of connecting people during their daily commutes on the London Underground. TubeChat uses Bluetooth on users’ iPhones to make automatic incognito connections to people with the same app up to 200 meters away.
Jigsaw – Jigsaw (founded in 2019) has developed a dating app that covers the user’s face in a jigsaw puzzle. The app’s face-shielding mechanism involves a puzzle made up of 16 pieces. The jigsaw puzzle currently unveils fully after seven messages are exchanged (14 pieces revealed in total), revealing the face underneath. Described as “anti-superficial dating”, the app positions itself as an alternative to Tinder. After nailing €3 million to expand in the US, the London-based company is currently available in New York and London, and plans on expanding further in the States.
By the way: If you’re a corporate or investor looking for exciting startups in a specific market for a potential investment or acquisition, check out our Startup Sourcing Service!