Coffee Meets Bagel Takes Flash Sales Approach to Online Dating in NY & Boston

8/1/12Follow @xconomy

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a means to create more successful matches. Users sign up on the site using Facebook Connect, and they import data from the social media site into their dating profile. Unlike traditional online dating sites, Coffee Meets Bagel isn’t interested in long, philosophical surveys to determine potential matches, but does require users to input a school they’ve attended (either high school or college), as well as answers to other light questions. .

“What we’ve found is college association is really strong,” Kang says. “People make decisions based on the schools they attended.”

So, Coffee Meets Bagel’s algorithm takes alumni status as well as the number of mutual friends a potential couple shares into account when generating each day’s matches, Kang says.

“The willingness to like someone goes up dramatically if they share mutual friends,” Kang says. “But having too many mutual friends in common actually doesn’t do as much as having four. It’s close enough but not too close that you might already know each other.”

Coffee Meets Bagel’s mix of strategies speaks to the latest generation of online matchmaking startups. New York-based Sparkology takes a similar approach to curation by only allowing men from renowned universities into their list of eligible bachelors. Sites like Acquaintable, theComplete.me, and Circl.es focus on making matches through Facebook profiles and social connections, while Grouper arranges group outings between three guys and three gals.

Coffee Meets Bagel has just closed a seed round of more than $500,000 from “very reputable VCs,” says Kang, declining to disclose more details. It will be releasing its mobile app as soon as it nabs Apple’s approval, and plans to expand to a total of five cities by the end of this year.

And what’s with the name? “We decided to have a brand where people could come in and it could feel personal, casual, and comfortable,” Kang says. “So what’s one thing people comfortably interact with? A coffee break. The bagel came because it’s very complementary to coffee. And this is all about finding someone who can complement you.”

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