Asia-focused dating app Paktor lands $32.5M to push into ‘social entertainment’

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Convergence crosses the pond

Paktor, a Tinder-like dating app from Singapore, has raised $32.5 million in new funding to expand its focus into new kinds of mobile entertainment.

Four-year-old Paktor claims over 20 million users worldwide, it has 110 staff and has raised $22 million in financing to date. CEO and co-founder Joseph Phua told TechCrunch that it recently hit net profitability and has yet to touch the $10 million round that it closed this past summer. That formed the basis for this new raise, which was led by U.S.-Asia-based K2 Global and Indonesia’s MNC Media Group, with participation from other, undisclosed investors existing and new, the company said. Paktor’s previous investors include Yahoo Japan-affiliate YJ Capital and Singapore’s Vertex Ventures.

“Previously, we raised funding to survive [but] this round will enable us to stretch our legs,” Phua explained.

The Paktor CEO said this new-found financial security has allowed him to “think through things with clear head” and take a look at upcoming trends that Paktor, which operates a Tinder-like dating app and an offline matchmaking service, can attack. He believes that the key area is “social entertainment,” a fairly nebulous term that he believes is beginning to show potential with some startup worldwide.

He cites fledging projects like House Party, the new product from the team behind once-hot live-streaming service Meerkat, and Chinese dating app Momo’s live-streaming feature, as evidence of how tradition, linear media is being disrupted by one-to-many and multi-person media experiences.

Phua isn’t saying much about what new products Paktor will actually release. Initial plans, he said, are for a new service that is “tied very closely” to the core Paktor dating app. However, that would restrict its audience to people who are single and looking to date — try explaining to your significant other that you’re using a dating app for “social entertainment purposes” — so Phua said that Paktor is still looking over the exact details.

The Paktor dating app is most established in Southeast Asia, and neighboring countries like Taiwan, Hong Kong, Japan and Korea, but there are business interests elsewhere in the world. The company works with media brands to power bespoke dating services — none of which are under the Paktor name — in Latin America, the U.S. and Europe, Phua said. He maintains that the business will continue to focus on those interests, and the dating side, but its profitability and cash on hand encouraged this new round to push the startup’s boundaries.

“We are not pivoting but we are exploring and learning more things as we go along,” he added.