Despite Tinder’s popularity, VC investors aren’t in love with the dating category.
Although Tinder could be worth nearly as much as parent company IAC Corp, VC investors put just under $65M into online and mobile dating startups last year. That’s nothing in a market where $100 million mega-deals to individual companies have become commonplace. It’s also significantly less than other markets that have also been driven by mobile adoption such as food delivery and messaging.
As the chart below highlights, the funding trend to dating startups has been up and down but has not topped $100M in any of the past five years. The space has also not seen a notable venture-backed exit in recent years. Canaan Partners-backed Zoosk, which filed for its IPO in early 2014, has since seen its founders depart and has delayed its offering indefinitely. HowAboutWe, backed by Khosla and ff Venture Capital among others, sold its dating and media business lines to IAC in August 2014 but again, this was not a notable exit event for the space.
Those startups that have been able to garner recent funding have been mobile-first and/or leverage existing social graphs such as Facebook friends and LinkedIn connections. Among the companies that have raised follow-on rounds in the last year are Cleod9 (dba Hinge), which raised a $12M Series A round led by Shasta Ventures and Chinese gay dating app Blued, which raised a $30M Series B from Doll Capital Management in November 2014.
Below are five select mobile dating apps that have raised VC funding in the past 12 months.
|Select Dating Startup Funding Deals 2014-2015|
|The League||Seed VC||$2.1M||IDG Ventures, Sherpa Ventures, Structure.vc|
|Hinge||Series A||$12M||Shasta Ventures, Lowercase Capital, CAA Ventures, Eniac Ventures|
|Happn||Series A||$8M||Alven Capital, DN Capital|
|Coffee Meets Bagel||Series A||$7.8M||Doll Capital Management, Azure Capital, Quest Ventures|
|Tantan||Series A||$5M||Bertelsmann Asia Investments|
Photo Credit: Wonderlane
All of the data in this research brief comes from the CB Insights Venture Capital Database. Sign up free below.