Startups Venture

Spark Networks Swipes Right For SF Dating Company Zoosk

Coming off of acquisitions like Christian Mingle, JSwipe and Jdate, Berlin-based Spark Networks SE swiped right yesterday for a new dating company: Zoosk.

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Spark Networks is planning to acquire San Francisco’s Zoosk, making it the “second largest online dating platform in North America.” The acquisition, once completed, will double Spark’s total monthly paying subscriber base to 1 million people, the company said.

At the time of the announcement, Spark Networks valued the transaction with Zoosk at approximately $255 million, inclusive of shares and cash.

Zoosk, which has quite the Twitter account, is currently available in 80 countries and 25 languages. The company, which touts its behavioral matchmaking technology, acquired WooMe, another San Francisco dating startup, in 2011 (TechCrunch covered the deal here).

Unlike Spark Networks’ previous “niche-focused” acquisitions, this acquisition will mark it’s first company that has mass market appeal, it said on a Friday morning conference call. Spark Networks hopes that Zoost will help them scale up in America.

As part of the acquisition Zoosk CEO Steven McArthur will be appointed to Spark’s Board of Directors.

Last month, our Joanna Glasner wrote about how dating startups across the world are struggling to attract venture capital. In 2018, venture investors put $127 million globally into 27 startups that Crunchbase tags as “dating-focused.” That is small compared to $300 billion in global venture investment across all sectors, last year.

In that same report, Zoosk stood out because of its significant capital base. The company raised $61.1 million in funding, according to its Crunchbase profile. Compared to the venture capital funding of other U.S dating startups like Coffee Meets Bagel ($31 million) or The League ($2.3 million), that’s impressive. Naturally we wondered why Zoosk hadn’t generated an exit yet. A little more than a month later, we’re back, and Zoosk is cuffed.

Illustration: Li-Anne Dias.

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