Zoosk

Zoosk gets $30 Million in Funding

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In late October Zoosk was celebrating 40 million members (see Story) and had already received $10.5 million in funding over the last year or so. On December 3rd they announced that they had secured an additional $30 Million in Series D Funding. This round of funding was led by the oldest venture capital firm in the United States, Bessemer Venture Partners. David Cowan, a partner at Bessemer Venture Partners will be joining Zoosk's Board of Directors as part of the deal.

Zoosk was launched 2 years ago in December of 2007 by Shayan Zadeh and Alex Mehr (who are now the co-CEOs). They plan to use the additional dollars to continue to build and expand the dating service. Money will also be spent on both online and offline marketing campaigns to increase Zoosk's exposure. Plus, there are rumors of expanding Zoosk to new platforms on the mobile front, including an iPhone App.

For more on the story you can read the press release. To find out more about this social dating community, read our review of Zoosk.

The Mobile Dating Market

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What services are included in the mobile dating market? Basically anything designed to be accessed by a cell phone for the purposes of finding and communicating with a date. This includes mobile phone applications (think iPhone Apps), mobile internet services (accessible via the phones web browser) and text based services (Twitter like).

The global mobile dating market appears to have a bright future indeed. In 2007 the industry was worth $330 million already (Juniper Research). By 2008 it had jumped over 60% to $550 million and by 2013 it is expected to double to $1.3 billion.

In part what is driving this industry are the capabilities of the phones themselves. As more people get GPS enabled smart phones and as the dating software become more sophisticated, yet easier to use for the user, more people are willing to try out these services. Still, mobile phone dating is more about instant gratification. It is considered a tech-savvy young adults tool, who is not looking for so much a long term relationship, but a casual fling or hook-up. This is why most dating profiles on a mobile dating service contains only a few questions since it is designed primarily to get the user to be able to search for matches as soon as possible.

Here is a list of a few dating applications usable on your phone:

  • DateCheck - For background checks. You can search criminal records and if they own property, etc...
  • Skout - An iPhone app that uses the iPhones GPS to offer a real-time location based service for online daters.
  • Radaroo - A Twitter app for meeting singles.
  • Zoosk - A dating site which integrates with social networking sites like Facebook and MySpace.

The free dating site OkCupid is also planning to launch a free iPhone dating app in the near future which will offer a location based service. Sam Yagan, CEO of OkCupid.com says that the main challenges is to create a big enough user base in which to work from and to try to get people to the same place and at the same time.

For more on this story, read Chicago Now. For dating sites which offer services for your phone (web based and applications), check out our Mobile Phone Dating category. Our Zoosk review can be found here.

Zoosk Now has 40 Million Members

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The social dating site Zoosk, with its widely popular Facebook application has reached a member base of over 40 million people. Last month the Zoosk dating website combined with its Facebook application had 12 million unique visitors.

Zoosk was launched back in 2007 and has grown strong recently on social networking sites like Facebook, MySpace, Friendster, Hi5 and BeBo. With Zoosk creating a dating profile is much easier than other dating sites as it will pull information from any of the social networks you are using. Zoosk's target audience is 25 to 35 year olds who are looking more for a short term casual relationships. Zoosk offers a premium subscription for $25 a month. The site also has a virtual currency called "Zoosk coins" which allows members to buy virtual gifts and other subscription upgrades.

Zoosk expects to end out the year with $18 to $20 million in revenue and it is currently experiencing a $30 million run rate.

For the full story, read TechCrunch. We also expect to have our in-depth Zoosk review up soon for both the dating site and the Facebook Application.

A Poll on the use of Virtual Gifts

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Here is the results from a poll that 1,000 Zoosk members took about Virtual Gifts. This information is probably similar for members of other dating sites.

  • Only 15 percent of members have ever sent virtual gifts.
  • 76 percent stated they were more likely to respond to a potential match who sent them a virtual gift.
  • 71 percent send virtual gifts which reflect their personality.
  • Traditional virtual digital gifts (flowers, chocolates) make up 37 percent of all gifts sent. Gifts that show off a person's wild side (martini, etc...) make up 27 percent. 23 percent of all gifts are warm and fuzzy (teddy bear, etc...). Finally, 13 percent of virtual gifts are seasonal.

To find out more information about this online dating service you can read our review of Zoosk