Coffee Meets Bagel Co-Founder Dawoon Kang Hosts Reddit AMA

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Dawoon Kang hosts Reddit AMA
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What can users do to increase their success on a dating app? What advice do you have for someone who is trying to get a startup off the ground? Is the first Sunday of the year really the busiest day for online dating? Why made you turn down $30 million from Mark Cuban on Shark Tank?

When Dawoon Kang, co-founder and co-CEO of Coffee Meets Bagel, hosts a Reddit AMA, no question is off limits. The entrepreneur went live on r/IAmA on Tuesday 22nd January to answer users’ burning queries about getting noticed on a dating app, the ongoing battle against bots, starting a business, what the name ‘Coffee Meets Bagel’ means, and more.

Dawoon launched Coffee Meets Bagel with her sisters, Soo and Arum, in 2012. Since then, CMB has made over 50 million matches with a focus on meaningful connections and an algorithm that prioritizes quality over quantity. Though turning down a multi-million dollar offer from one of the world’s biggest investors may seem mad, the Kang sisters have proved they’re a family force to be reckoned with.

So, what does seven years of success in the dating industry teach an entrepreneur? Dawoon had many nuggets of wisdom to share in her AMA:

From what you've seen, aside from being attractive, having good pictures, and not being unattractive, what easy but often forgotten things can users do on CMB to increase their match rates?

While pictures are certainly part of the equation, it’s the profile that ultimately matters most. There’s a noticeable difference in profile length between users who found a match on CMB and users who are still looking, says Dawoon. “When you answer the profile questions, speak from your heart and talk honestly about what’s important about you and what you’re looking for in a date,” she advises. If you’re struggling for ideas, try being specific. Instead of saying “I like movies,” make your profile more unique by saying “I like fantasy films and am a huge fan of Lord of the Rings.

I kept reading that the first Sunday of the year is the busiest day of online dating. Is that true?

Not only is it true, it has a name - “Dating Sunday” - and this year it was the biggest chat day in CMB history. January in general is the most popular month for online dating.

What are some of best lines or messages you’ve heard to help crack the ice?

Jokes are a great go-to, but Dawoon’s favorite icebreaker is chatting about something interesting on a person’s profile. “Commenting on a profile detail is the best,” she writes. “One time I wrote a favorite quote of mine from The Alchemist - that I’m in pursuit of my personal legend - and I loved it when someone tried to guess where it was from. It was a great convo starter.”

Who came up with the ridiculous name for the app?

Silly though it may seem, there’s a method to the madness. “Bagel” is an homage to New York City, where the Kang sisters first conceived their startup. And what goes well with a daily bagel delivery? Coffee, of course.

What are some of the tips and things you would consider most important advice for someone in the process of raising capital for their start up?

Know your audience. Too often, entrepreneurs are so wrapped up in their pitch that they don’t consider the investors they’re pitching to, says Dawoon. Do your research to make sure you’re targeting the right people in the right way.

As for why she and her sisters turned down $30 million on Shark Tank, Dawoon had this to say: “Because we were and still are just getting started! Online dating is a huge, growing industry…. I believe our model of quality matches has the potential to to carve out a large market share in the industry. As I mentioned on the show, we are just hitting the tip of an iceberg!”

What’s your philosophy on online dating in general?

It’s not about getting as many likes as possible - it’s about getting one right like. “I think it’s easy to get caught up on all the swiping and it can often lead to sense of frustration from wasted time,” Dawoon writes. “That’s why at CMB we focus on providing quality, limited number of matches. My hope is that every minute you spend on CMB contributes something potentially meaningful to your life.”

Other interesting facts that Dawoon mentioned about Coffee Meets Bagel and online dating in general includes:

  • If you don’t login for 14 days on Coffee Meets Bagel, your profile is put on HOLD automatically.
  • In 2018, CMB developed their own model to catch scammers but it did not work out as well as hoped. In 2019, their goal is to improve their current system and to implement a third party solution which specializes in safety (e.g. Sift Science which is used by other big dating companies).
  • Coffee Meets Bagel has real people checking photos, and responding to accounts that user users flag as suspicious.
  • Online dating is a growing industry. There were ~500 million singles globally online in 2017 and that number is expected to hit 670 million this year.

View Dawoon’s complete AMA here and for more on the service you can read our Coffee Meets Bagel app review.