Smartdate announced a €2 million round in February of this year so that you could stop poking and start actually dating the friends of your Facebook friends. But now the company is kicking it up a notch and announcing that it’s raised an additional €3.5 million with the fonders of PriceMinster, Pierre Kosciuscko-Morizet and Pierre Krings. Oh, and just in case you forgot, French Ebay competitor PriceMinister went to Rakuten in June for €200 million (about $250 million) so maybe that’s why the founders have a bit of cash to spare.
As with a number of French dating sites, like the likes of Adoptaguy and Meetic, Smartdate is rapidly developing and already has a 25 person team in place. The Paris-based company founded earlier this year is very similar to Zoosk in that it is basing its online dating service on Facebook, although there’s no Zoosk-like application for users to install directly on Facebook. Smartdate has users connecting via Facebook Connect and requires that you be at least 18 in order to access the Smartdater community. In addition, you have to be willing to share your height.
Smartdate’s site – currently available in 6 languages (English, French, Italian, Spanish, Dutch and German) – also physically looks like Facebook in many ways with a central newsfeed on the user’s homepage, status updates and a recommendation tool called “Smartmatch” (photo). In the same way that Pandora radio gets smarter the more you use it, Smartmatch also tries to understand your taste – you pretty much just have to say yes or no to the profiles you see. And along the same lines as the Facebook poke, users can send winks to each other.
The site counted some 300K members back in July and should be making the 650K mark by the end of this month. According to Alexa, Smartdate also counts more monthly unique visitors than French online dating giant, Meetic, but definitely still has a way to go to reach the number of registered users.
There are no surprises in terms of Smartdate’s Freemium business model; starting at €9.99 per month for 12 months, users can buy additional personalization options, unlimited communications features and access confidentiality parameters to control who sees what on their profiles.
Having raised €5.5 million since the beginning of the year, Smartdate is definitely one of the few newer French startups to have raised so much capital in such a short period of time from France-based investors. Apparently, Kosciusko-Morizet and Kring’s Kernal Holdings is planning to make further later-stage investments over the next 3 years.