JDate Owner Buys Rival JSwipe Following Legal Battle


JSwipe has buried the hatchet with the owner of JDate, who has just acquired the Jewish dating startup.

The owner of millennial dating app JSwipe, Smooch Labs, has just been bought by Spark Networks for $7m.

An SEC filing on Spark’s website says this $7m is in addition to an earnout payment of “up to a maximum of an additional $10m”, meaning Smooch receive the extra money if the business achieves a certain level of earnings.

This acquisition comes after Spark Networks sued JSwipe over the use of the letter “J”, saying JSwipe’s use was a violation of their trademark feature.

Earlier in the year, the founder of JSwipe and Smooch Labs, David Yarus, even attempted to crowdfund to fight the lawsuit, looking to raise $180,000 to help with legal fees.

Unfortunately this fell short, the campaign only raising $3,070.


But now the app, which was launched in April 2014, has been acquired by Spark Networks and the legal action has been dropped.

JSwipe has over 375,000 members from 70 countries around the world, and has seen 10m matches, 40m messages, and 800m swipes.

Speaking about the acquisition, Yarus said: “When we first started, we recognized that there was a gap in the dating market for millennial Jews and we’ve successfully built a product that really resonates with this audience.

“In talking with the new management team at Spark it was clear that we share the same mission and our combined know-how will help us better serve the Jewish community into the future.”

And with this move, the company will implement its planned premium features, which will enhance its current free platform, which Yarus promised would always remain free.

Speaking about the acquisition, Spark Networks CEO Michael S. Egan said: “In the online dating world, great products win and as we introduce a re-designed JDate in the coming weeks and bring JSwipe and the Smooch team into the company we believe we are becoming clear leaders in building and marketing products that truly help singles connect and find meaningful relationships.”

In their last subscriber report, Spark Networks said it had achieved its first subscriber increase in over two years, however with this being based on new metrics, it’s unclear whether this is really the turnaround Spark claims it is.

The founders of Smooch will also join Spark Networks, and will continue to play an active role in managing the JSwipe product.

The acquisition seems to be an attempt for struggling Spark to further control the Jewish market, by purchasing a mobile app that is popular with younger demographics.

However with the company still undergoing a turnaround, and revenue and subscribers falling, it’s a risky move considering JSwipe doesn’t monetise yet.

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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