OneStop Singles, Small but Profitable, Flirts for Attention in Crowded Online Dating Industry

6/2/11Follow @jpruth

Standing out in New York can be a challenge for a young company—especially one serving the singles scene. The “been there, done that” attitude is difficult to overcome in Manhattan when pushing a dating website, given the plethora of paid and free services available such as Match.com, eHarmony, OkCupid, and PlentyofFish. While many dating services draw generic masses of users, OneStop Singles offers its clients à la carte–style options based on their deal breakers when it comes to romance.

OneStop is the parent company of OnSpeedDating.com and SingleAndTheCity.com, which organize themed speed dating events and singles parties in the New York City area, respectively (two to five events per week in total). OnSpeed and SingleAndTheCity are ad-based websites with paid events. OneStop also operates the free online dating site Kissburg.com, which is not anchored to the New York market. Members of OnSpeed and SingleAndTheCity are automatically enrolled in Kissburg.com.

Co-founders Amber Soletti and Carmine Di Re created OneStop Singles in 2008 out of dissatisfaction with existing dating websites and the speed dating options in Manhattan. Soletti and Di Re make up the company’s staff, though they also collaborate with event promoters and hosts throughout New York City.

OneStop Singles is self-funded and profitable, according to Soletti, thanks in part to its low overhead. The company is growing at a time when dating sites are seeking ways to generate revenue even as the public can connect through free social networking portals such as Meetup and Facebook. There has been some consolidation too. In February, subscription-based Match.com paid $50 million in cash to acquire New York City’s OkCupid, an advertising-driven website that is primarily free to use but includes some paid services.

While its technology is no moon-landing breakthrough, OneStop Singles structured its services to appeal to daters’ preferences based on interests, background, and physical attributes. Soletti said the idea is to give singles the chance to target the niche groups they are attracted to, such as firefighters, blondes, Ivy Leaguers, and even men with accents. “If you’re a busy New Yorker who doesn’t have a lot of time, you can come out and you’ll have some kind of starting point that you are into,” she said.

Soletti, 35, a transplant from Austin, TX, serves as vice president of marketing for OneStop Singles (see left). Her role can include beating the bushes for daters to populate themed events. “If it’s my ‘Gentleman Prefer Blondes’ night and I’m short blondes, you better believe I am hitting every hair salon in New York,” Soletti said. Prior to launching OneStop, Soletti worked as global marketing director of hair care with Avon and in a similar role with Aveda. Some 18 months ago, she committed herself full-time to OneStop. Di Re, 36, a native of Brooklyn, handles Web design and technical aspects as vice president of development; he retains his job as a senior developer for a New York City media firm.

Other singles sites can inundate members with unwanted contacts, Soletti said, and traditional speed dating events tend to be grouped simply by the ages of the participants. Soletti said she wanted a better option for herself and others after enduring some of her own … Next Page »

João-Pierre S. Ruth is the editor of Xconomy New York. He can be reached at jpruth@xconomy.com and followed on Twitter @jpruth. Follow @jpruth

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