Contributed by: ElyseRomano Friday, May 12 2017 @ 04:50 pm
As we close out the first quarter of 2017, Happn has big plans to drive growth during the remainder of the year.
CEO Didier Rappaport told Business Insider that the company is working on a “new business model” that adds subscriptions to the service. Though the subscription model is still being tested, the tentative plan is to remove the ads (which currently fund the company) for users with paid accounts.
Since launching three years ago, Happn has built a user base of 25 million people. However, the company has yet to become profitable, and that’s its chief goal for 2017.
"If you're well-backed by VCs, it's easy to spend a lot on marketing, but at the end of the day you must be profitable," Rappaport told Business Insider[*1] . "We should be profitable by the end of this year. After three years of existence, this is remarkable."
Subscriptions aren’t the only big change that could be coming to the service. The company is also testing the integration of artificial intelligence to rank profiles that might be most interesting to a user.
Unlike many other dating services, which pair users based on shared interests and personality traits, Happn aims to use artificial intelligence to match based on hard data.
"We do not believe that if you like the same movie, you will fall in love," Rappaport said. "It's more based on data we have — we have every day hundreds of millions of items, like the way you surf and the places where you go. That algorithm will make the correlation without ... any declaration" of hobbies.
If testing goes well, AI ranking could officially roll out within a few months.
Growth is a major goal for Happn in 2017. The company has set its sights on 40 million users by the end of the year, which means international expansion with India as the prime target. Happn soft launched in India last year, but plans to dial up its marketing efforts (assisted by Bollywood star Hrithik Roshan) this month.
Happn may also be in for a redesign this summer. To differentiate the company in the crowded dating space, Rappaport says a new look and a new tagline are on the way, as well as “gamified features.”
Rappaport is adamant that he is dedicated to taking Happn as far as it can go, and for now, regardless of its success, acquisition is not on the table.
"I've been contacted by many companies, including Badoo," he told Business Insider. "Today my concern is not to talk with my competitors about an exit. Today my concern is to build my company."
For more on this dating app you can read our Happn review.