Dating App Coffee Meets Bagel Ditches Twilio With New IM Features

When I wrote about the Coffee Meets Bagel dating service more than two years ago, I hoped (but didn’t quite believe) that it would last this long. Yet, here we are.

The company has received $2.8 million in funding and is today launching the biggest update yet to the app.

Coffee Meets Bagel takes a different approach to online dating. Instead of offering up a buffet of potential matches, CMB simply offers one person each day. You can either “like” or “ignore”, but if both parties like each other, they’re routed to a private phone line (powered by Twilio) where they can SMS for a seven-day period. If they choose to go on a date, CMB offers a discount at a local restaurant or cafe.

Today, however, Coffee Meets Bagel has implemented its own IM system within the app, meaning that users can get their chat on immediately without flipping back and forth between apps.

Just like before, the IM feature has a seven-day expiration date.

Coffee Meets Bagel puts a lot of focus into making meaningful connections between users, as opposed to just offering volume. Candidates shown to users aren’t often just random people, but rather Facebook friends of friends who you haven’t quite met yet. The company has found that those who exchange texts within the first 24 hours are more likely to exchange real phone numbers and were chatting at 2.6x the volume of those who didn’t.

By implementing messaging within the app, CMB takes far more control over this part of the experience and is able to learn from user behavior data.

IM isn’t a new breakthrough in the world of online dating. In fact, it’s pretty standard. But CMB definitely isn’t. Mixing standard and easy messaging with a somewhat innovative approach to finding a date is an interesting development in the space.

But founder Dawoon Kang says that stigma is still the greatest challenge.

“What we observe is that a lot of people hesitate because they don’t want to feel like they are ‘actively’ trying to meet someone,” said Kang. “Making people understand that a dating app is just another channel of meeting someone has been a challenge.”

If you want to learn more about Coffee Meets Bagel, head over here and check it out.