10 Things We Learned At GDI London 2016 & Spotlight On Startups

gdi conference

After last week’s GDI online dating conference in London & first ever Spotlight on Startups competition, we wanted to put together a list of some of the most interesting takeaways from the dating industry events.

1. Is AI the future of online dating?

For the very first talk of the day, TechCrunch’s Editor-at-Large Mike Butcher spoke about the huge impact artificial intelligence could have on the world of online dating. With AI tech making great strides over the past five years, and our personal mobile devices now containing deep neural networks like Siri, Cortana and Google Now, Butcher said that AI will completely transform online dating. The TechCrunch editor argued that AI will “be better at matching each other than we are ourselves”, quoting Montreal Institute for Learning research that was able to predict attraction on Tinder with 68% accuracy using AI.

2. Users are more important that product for dating brands

Venntro Chairman Ross Williams said dating startups won’t be acquired because of their product, unless they are protected with patents, as products and features can be copied. Instead, he said what’s valuable in a dating company is the user base and brand positioning. Williams said “your brand positioning, tone of voice and quality of members are all valuable and difficult to directly copy”.

3. Messages initiated by men result in more responses

Despite the fact that 83% of dating app contact was initiated by men, Oxford University’s Taha Yasseri revealed in his brilliant talk on the stats behind mobile dating communication that initial messages sent by women were less likely to be responded to. Yasseri’s research found that 42% of initial messages sent by women were responded to, compared to 53% of initial messages sent by men.

4. Women react to content, men to contact

In his excellent talk on user cohorts, Hub People CEO Michael O’Sullivan revealed that women registered much higher rates of engagement on the platform’s “content” than men – seeing close to 60% engagement on the platform’s blogs, and 35% on other forms of media. Men, on the other hand, were much more engaged with the site’s search features, as well as browsing & contacting profiles – showing a clear difference between the sexes in terms of interest in content vs contact.

Hub people

5. 450% increase in rape cases associated with online dating

Announcing the launch of its exciting new safety and verification-orientated product update, which integrates the ID verification system used by Airbnb and easyJet, TrueView co-founder Andrew Ibbotson collected some sobering facts about the dangers of online dating. With £27m lost to online dating fraud in the UK last year, Ibbotson highlighted that there has also been a 450% increase in rape cases associated with online dating over the past few years, and that in Norway, 40% of rape cases are now connected with online dating apps.


6. Phone numbers are exchanged after 10-20 messages

In a graph showing the distribution of when phone numbers are exchanged in conversations on mobile dating apps, Oxford University’s Taha Yasseri revealed that phone numbers are generally exchanged early, after around 10-20 messages.

7. European market leaders have maintained their positions over last decade

In the final talk of the day, EliteSingles CEO Jeronimo Folgueira gave an insight into the German company’s excellent growth over the past few years. With 60% of new users now coming from mobile, and its revenue run-rate up to €80m, Affinitas is now in its fourth consecutive year of being cash flow positive. He also gave some insight into the European market, showing that the local market leaders have maintained their positioning over the last decade and still enjoy attractive margins.

Elite Singles

8. Only 40% of messages on Tinder are answered

According to Spotlight finalist WeShake, quoting ComScore figures, only 40% of all messages sent on Tinder are actually answered. The Tel Aviv team was pitching its added keyboard product WeShake, which generates random & amusing pickup lines when shaking your phone, to try and increase users’ response rates on dating apps.

9. It takes 7,000 years to hack a password on ooOo

Using its blowfish passwords and token system, a password on gamified dating app ooOo would take around 7,000 years to hack, according to founder David Minns. The gamified product’s unique take on mobile dating, as well as its impressive security system and offline capabilities, impressed the judges and audience at the GDI Spotlight on Startups competition, with ooOo being crowned the early stage winner.


10. iGeolise generated 300% conversion increases for Zoopla

The London-based GDI Spotlight growth stage winner iGeolise revealed during their pitch that Zoopla and Property Wise had both seen a 300% increase in conversions for people searching via travel time on the property platforms. The mapping company, who won the evening’s growth stage category, found that for every 100 who searched by travel time, 15 converted, compared to the five who converted when searching by distance. The London company, which makes maps and data searchable by travel time rather than by distance, is looking to integrate with dating sites to enable online daters to quickly & easily find the best ways to meet up.

Read more about the winners of the GDI Spotlight event here, and look out on the site for photos and videos of both events this week.

Simon Edmunds

Simon is the former editor of Global Dating Insights. Born in Newcastle, he has an English degree from Queen Mary, London and after working for the NHS, trained as a journalist with the Press Association. Passionate about music, journalism and Newcastle United.

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