One-a-day dating app Once, which combines algorithms with a personal touch, has just raised $3.5m to expand the app into new markets.
The New York-based dating app sends users one “professionally handpicked” match every day.
However despite similarities to existing apps like Coffee Meets Bagel, Once’s daily matches are personally selected by the company’s matchmakers.
They decided that instead of focusing on volume, offering countless profiles for singles to swipe through, they would put “all of our efforts into one person.”
Users of Once receive their daily match at midday, and if both parties are interested, they are put in contact.
We spoke to Jean Meyer, CEO & founder of Once, and asked why they decided to pursue this quality over quantity model, he said: “Our users benefit because they not only save time, because we do all the weeding out of inappropriate matches, but the level of engagement is higher.
“With traditional dating sites, it’s common for guys to send out hundreds of messages, or swipe for hours, before getting a response or a match. For women, it can be overwhelming receiving so many messages. It’s a frustrating dynamic that doesn’t work well for anyone.
“Other issues include poor quality matches (and thus time-consuming “weeding” needed) and embarrassment about being seen on a dating site. Once solves these problems by not matching people with friends/coworkers, and by doing all the work of weeding out unsuitable matches.”
To make sure this filtering is executed correctly, Once employs experienced matchmakers who they believe recognise important factors like physical attraction and social background, that algorithms can’t properly measure.
Once uses a freemium model, with singles getting their daily matches and communication for free, but offers a few extra paid features to improve your chances of success.
The app is currently available in 32 countries and seven languages, with the US and France its biggest markets, and has over 30,000 users.
Up until now, Once has grown the app using campus ambassadors, mobile ad campaigns, guerrilla programs and revshare partnerships.
And to help expand the app’s reach, Once has just secured an impressive $3.5m in funding from Partech Ventures.
Meyer said that although everyone they pitched to wanted to buy into Once, then ended up choosing Partech “because of their past successes and their amazing brand. We are also thrilled to be funded by a couple of big European business angels.”
Partech, which has offices in San Francisco, Berlin and Paris, has previously funded companies like Made.com – recently investing $34m in the furniture retailer – FreedomPop and Menlook.
Speaking about what the money will go towards, Meyer said: “We are using the funds to build an amazing web version of our product, and to keep improving our mobile apps and our BI, to help our matchmakers make smarter decisions.
“Our development team works extremely hard to continuously improve the app – we ship one new version every two weeks with new features, bug fixes and a better UX.”
The company also plans to use the funding to launch in other countries around the world – specifically targeting the UK and Belgium.
The free app is available to download on iOS, Android and Apple Watch.
For more information about the app, click here.