Dating apps have got a bad rap for pushing people to make split-second decisions based on just their profile pictures and severely limited information. And the people you meet on the basic version presented online aren’t usually great matches. It wouldn’t be entirely wrong to say that it’s hard to find someone you can build a long-term serious relationship with through these dating apps. Coffee Meets Bagel seems to provide a solution to it.
What is Coffee Meets Bagel?
Coffee Meets Bagel is a dating app built to take the fear and uncertainty out of online dating by helping you find potential partners from your social friends and mutual connections. The app collects data from users’ Facebook profiles and uses it to match them with people from their Friends and Friends of Friends based on shared interests, religious/political/social affiliations, viewpoints, and values. The goal is to help people find a romantic match based on things that matter in relationship development than just the picture and a small self-written bio. The developers believe this will help users find more quality matches – people they are more likely to connect with due to shared interests.
Developed by three Korean immigrant sisters, Soo, Dawoon, and Arum Kang, from San Francisco, California, the app was presented on Shark Tank, Episode of Season 6, on January 9, 2015, about three years after its launch. The sister trio asked for a $500,000 investment for a 5% share in the company.
As they explained, the app finds a suitable match from your social circle [Friends and Mutual Friends] every day at noon. You get 24 hours to review their profile and ‘like’ or ‘pass’ on it. A match that’s approved by both the parties – gets a ‘mutual like’ – leads to creating a private chat line for seven days. Approved matches also get a discount coupon to use on their date.
The app is free to use, but there are some premium features that users have to buy using its own virtual currency, called ‘coffee beans.’
Coffee Meets Bagel became an instant hit among the online dating community after its launch in New York City in April 2012. Within a few months, it expanded to San Francisco and Boston. But, as with most startups, the lack of cash flow became an obstacle to its further expansion. And this is what brought the Kang sisters to Shark Tank.
They had garnered outside investments worth $2.8 million, but it wasn’t enough for their intended growth plans.
Surprisingly, the Sharks didn’t show much interest in the business. Robert Herjavec was concerned about their negligible earnings, Kevin O’Leary said 5% share in the company had no value for him, and Lori Greiner was wary of the high salaries they were paying to their employees and the high chances of someone stealing the business model (as is common on the internet). Barbara also showed no interest in the Coffee Meets Bagel app due to the very high risk and too little reward. Mark Cuban was the only one to come up with a different response. However, instead of accepting the Kang sisters’ offer, he posed a question to them. He asked if they would accept $30 million for the whole company had he offered it. The girls said no and thus, left the show without striking a deal.
It was considered the largest offer to be rejected in Shark Tank’s history.
After their appearance on Shark Tank, the Kang sisters raised $23.2 million worth of investments in five different rounds. The app is still available on both iOS and Android phones and has a huge user base of about 10 million.
Our Review of Coffee Meets Bagel
Coffee Meets Bagel is undoubtedly an innovative concept in the world of digital dating platforms. But it doesn’t seem to be doing great in terms of business. Experts believe the app is failing despite its huge user base, most likely due to intense competition. The app also seems to have shifted its focus from women to young professionals. It has also lost its status in the online dating world during the past few years and doesn’t appear on the most popular or top-ranked dating site lists anymore.
Having said that, Coffee Meets Bagel is a good platform for beginners or those who find the idea of dating strangers a little scary. One of the app’s premium features, ‘Open Sesame,’ allows users to see the mutual friends they have with the proposed matches, taking away the uncertainty from the process.
It’s also easier to sign up on the app. Unlike other similar platforms, you don’t have to fill out an application. Just sign up through your Facebook, and the app will pull all the required data from the social networking site. The discount coupons that Coffee Meets Bagel offers are also a good feature and encourage matched people to take their relationship a step ahead from online chats.
Pros of Coffee Meets Bagel
- Unique concept; takes the fear of the unknown out of online dating
- Easy to sign-up
- Connects you with people who have shared interests
- Offers discount coupons for dates
Cons of Coffee Meets Bagel
- Some premium services are paid
- Seems to have lost its initial focus on women
Who is Coffee Meets Bagel for?
Coffee Meets Bagel is for any single person looking to be in a relationship. It connects you with people in your online social circle with similar demonstrated interests, thus increasing the likelihood of finding a suitable match.
Are There Any Alternatives?
There are many dating apps available out there. Zoosk and Bumble, in particular, are built on the same core ideology and are geared toward women, just like Coffee Meets Bagels initially was. These two apps are believed to have caused the shift in CMB’s focus from women to young professionals.
Our Final Thoughts
If dating strangers just on the basis of their profile pictures and a short bio is not your cup of tea, Coffee Meets Bagel is a good option for you. You will be connected to people with similar interests and mutual friends, which allows you to do a bit of background research on the person before taking things ahead or getting serious about someone. If you are into online dating, Coffee Meets Bagel is worth trying.