According to Bloomberg News, the popular dating website Zoosk is scheduled to go public. The company filed earlier this year, but the latest stock market volatility might delay their offering until 2015.
Zoosk has long touted itself as a major contender in the online dating game due to its large international user base, alongside brands such as Match.com and OkCupid. The company has more than 27 million members across 80 countries, and the online dating market is reported to be worth $1.4 billion.
The appeal to investors goes beyond the revenues to be had in the online dating market. Zoosk company executives are betting on their extensive user base and tracking technology to help leverage their value. Unlike many online dating websites that rely on lengthy questionnaires and profile descriptions, Zoosk’s technology is purely behavior-based. That is, when users of the site navigate through profiles, send messages, or set filters to view other members, Zoosk is tracking this data and responding by providing matches that have similar behavior or seem most compatible. In other words, they are honing in to what users really want by seeing what they actually do online.
The more a user interacts with other members in the Zoosk community, the more Zoosk learns about that person to give them better matches. To the company’s benefit, it also gives them a wealth of data about their users, which is a valuable asset for investors.
Zoosk is also integrated so users can log in no matter what platform they are viewing on – phone, laptop, iPad or tablet, and is the #1 grossing online dating app in the iTunes store, according to its website. But its marketing expenses might be cutting into its revenue.
Website SeekingAlpha.com has been speculating about the opening price the company will decide upon, based on current statistics. Zoosk’s options granted in April 2014 had an exercise price of $7.72, so SeekingAlpha.com assumes the pricing discussions are in the range of $8-$16, which might not be an incentive for investors looking for a deal (and also looking at how the company can bring in more revenue). Right now, the dating app is free, but members pay to use features like messaging, chatting, and connecting with viewers who have viewed their profiles.
The opening price of the company’s stock is a matter of concern, but what does it mean to go public during such a risky market?
“Nobody wishes they went public today or over the last week,” Max Wolff, the chief economist at Manhattan Venture Partners, an investment firm focusing on late-stage private technology companies, told Bloomberg. “A regular bout of intense selling, like we’re seeing now, makes people feel like it’s smart to stay private longer.”
So the next move is up to Zoosk, but the company anticipates that investors are willing to bet on it.
Please read our Zoosk review for more information on this service.