Coffee Meets Bagel is a dating site based around the idea that volume isn’t necessarily a good thing when it comes to finding romance. Instead, it provides one match per day, every day at noon. We covered its NYC launch back in April, and now the startup is announcing a seed round of $600,000 in funding, led by Lightbank and including Match.com co-founder Peng T. Ong.
The new funding will be used to help Coffee Meets Bagel expand beyond its current markets of New York and Boston, to San Francisco, where the startup recently moved its offices ahead of launching in that city. Coffee Meets Bagel is rolling out slowly because it partners with local businesses to provide gifts and deals to lovers matched through its service, meaning there’s a strong place-based component.
In an interview, Coffee Meets Bagel co-founder Arum Kang explained that the service has had significant success since launch, growing 50% month-over-month, setting up over 100,000 introductions which have resulted in 6,000 actual direct connections between members. The member base is also highly engaged, with 70% of users actively checking the service for matches every day. Kang explains why she believes Coffee Meets Bagel attracts highly-engaged users.
“It works better because it’s simple, private, and fun,” she said. “It’s simple because we don’t inundate our members with low quality matches. We do the work for them, and keep the work on their part to a minute per day. The fact that it’s private – no one else except the two people matched for 24 hours see each other – also makes it more effective.”
Like competitor PlentyOfFish.com, Coffee Meets Bagel offers its service for free, but it also uses a freemium model based around virtual credits to provide users with perks liek the ability to unlock the identity of mutual friends you and a match share on Facebook. These can be earned by users through various tasks, but also purchased directly, and that represents the site’s primary revenue for the time being. With enough traction, however, it’s easy to see Coffee Meets Bagel selling promotional opportunities to the businesses it partners with for member gifts and rewards.
This new investment brings Coffee Meets Bagel access to industry veterans who can provide strategic advantages to a brand new dating startup, and the site already has a unique approach. If it can scale while also providing local appeal, it’ll be a promising new entrant in the busy space of online dating.