Triangulate Raises $750K for “Data-Driven Dating” on Facebook

7/27/10Follow @wroush

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the user’s location. In my tests, the app found only two possible matches, one of whom I rejected right away. (Since it doesn’t administer a formal questionnaire, Wings couldn’t have known that the cigarette hanging from this dude’s mouth would be a non-starter).

But Wings has many of the makings of a Facebook smash hit. There’s a viral element: users can use the app to ask friends to weigh in with descriptions that help to fill out their profiles (the name “Wings” originally came from this “wingman” concept). There’s a “gamification” element—users can earn the virtual coins that are the app’s currency by answering more questions about themselves, or by inviting friends to send input. There’s the fact that people can use the new Facebook Credits system to buy more coins—Nagaraj says Facebook selected Wings for the application dashboard in part “because of the way we incorporate Facebook’s new payment system.” And above all, there’s the simplicity of it. Why go to the trouble of teaching a dating site’s matching algorithms every last fact about you, when so much of this data is there for the taking on the Web?

In a press release today about the funding announcement, Triangulate says Wings “brings ‘one-click dating’ to Facebook by removing the burden of profile-building.” The “one-click” phrase is a little misleading, as I had to click through seven or eight screens to authorize Wings to connect to all of my lifestream data before it could generate matches. But that’s a still a heck of a lot easier than struggling through hours-long questionnaires.

“Dating just got much simpler,” Patricia Nakache, a general partner at Trinity Ventures, said in a statement. “In recent months, we’ve seen social media data become ubiquitous, and Triangulate is perfectly positioned to leverage this new data set through applications such as Wings. Their proprietary engine and algorithms do all the legwork, so consumers don’t have to.”

Nagaraj says Triangulate is working to tap more social media APIs to make Wings’ matching algorithms more accurate. And he says the startup could eventually apply the same social media profile mining and statistical analytics concepts to interactions outside of dating. Imagine how using data from people’s social media streams might streamline product recommendations, for example, or employment and recruiting.

“The question I put to myself a lot is what we could do better for you if we knew who you really are,” Nagaraj says. “One of those things is finding you a better soul mate. But there are several other very exciting and monetizable things that we could do for you if we were in a trusted relationship where you gave us the data.”

Wade Roush is a contributing editor at Xconomy. Follow @wroush

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