Smartdate, which previously secured Angel investment from four international Business Angels for a total of €300,000, was founded by Fabrice Le Parc, who also launched be2.com in France and Benelux in 2006-07. This €2 million total amount of seed funding (one of the largest in France lately and one of the largest for a dating site) will be mainly used to market the service as they have an objective of one million users before the end of the year.
Smartdate basically wants to use Facebook Friends as a criteria for your dating search. Using Facebook Connect to log in to Smartdate, you search for single people among friends of your friends. The search called “Smartsearch” will be then influenced by the community (a now classical “others who liked the same profiles as you also liked the following…”). Smartdate has today launched its Alpha version, already available in 6 European languages (French, English, Spanish, German, Italian and Dutch). Smartdate wants you to “pay as you go” meaning that you’ll pay only for what you’ll use.
Smartdate is not the first trying to use Facebook to change the way people date online. Zoosk is one of them, with a slightly different approach as you need to install the Zoosk App within your Facebook account (although there is the potential Facebook may delete app notifications, this business could have some problems). If the idea of dating friends of my friends is simple and good, the question that remains is if it will be enough to create an audience, especially with a huge market leader such as Meetic which could easily integrate some features with Facebook.