Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Coffee meets Bagel

Shakespeare waxed poetic in "A Midsummer  Night's Dream" thus, "The course of true love never did run smooth". Enter the Kang sisters and their app Coffee Meets Bagel. The beautiful  Arum, Dawoon and Soo were pursuing high powered careers  in finance, marketing and graphic design when they saw the challenges other  New York City singles met connecting with  compatible quality mates.  The team adds,"The three of us lived in New York City in our late 20s and saw that more and more of our very eligible friends were having difficulty meeting new, interesting people. I think this is a reflection of the changing lifestyle of today’s generation. In our fast paced lives, we just don’t have enough time to spend on meeting new people. When we tried online dating, we were surprised at how seedy and borderline-insulting the online dating experience was for most women. You can only take so many unwanted, “Hey baby.” messages from random men. So, we wanted to create a dating experience that is safe, private, and high quality—something that women feel excited to be part of." The  user downloads the app and sets up a profile. Everyday at noon the user is delivered one match (Bagel) cultivated from  friend of a friend connections on Facebook. The user has 24 hours to respond before the next day's romantic possibility. If  both parties LIKE a connection is made. The app is available in Android and Apple. The CMB team manifesto, "Dating is the most fun when you are meeting new, interesting people and Coffee Meets Bagel enables you to do that easily. In my opinion, online dating today has become a numbers game where users are bombarded with countless profiles to browse in one sitting. In this model, people end up making superficial decisions based solely on looks and quickly become jaded. Coffee Meets Bagel brings quality & thoughtfulness back into dating. We only give you one match a day, but it’s someone who is personalized & picked out just for you. Our algorithm considers your background, such as education and your friend network, to curate you the best match. This results in a lot of fun dates with people you genuinely find interesting."

Creative, resourceful and smart  the ladies  pooled their talents ( Harvard Business School grad Arum, Stanford Graduate School of Business Dawoon, Soo has a BA from Parsons School of Design  ) and launched the online dating service, Coffee Meets Bagel in 2012. "Each of us brought very different skill sets to the table, thanks to our prior ~10 years of work experiences. Soo did design work for luxury brands such as Marc Jacobs & Louis Vuitton, so she knew exactly how to create a brand image that feels safe, fun, and comfortable for women. Arum did a lot of e-commerce work at both Amazon and Avon and brought her tech product management & market research experience to the table. Dawoon, who worked in strategy & finance, helped shape the company’s long term vision and high level strategy needed for fundraising. It just came together perfectly.",  the sisters share.
Inspiration comes from their dad, "My dad is a lifelong entrepreneur. I think one of the most valuable lessons I learned from him is the drive to constantly challenge myself. Though he is now in his 50s, he will never stay put and never stop learning. When I was debating whether to quit my cushy banking job to start Coffee Meets Bagel, he shared with me one of his favorite Korean proverbs—“Still water rots”. If you don't want to rot, then you need to be like water in a moving stream, constantly on the move and constantly re-inventing yourself. This is true for everyone and for every company and I will always remember this."Last year the entrepreneurs   turned down Mark Cuban's  offer to buy the company  after pitching to investors on ABC's reality show Shark Tank.  Shrewd business women they knew, "Mark Cuban’s $30 million offer was great validation for the hard work that we and the rest of Coffee Meets Bagel team put in to building our business. After the show, we felt a lot more confident about what we’ve built so far and excited for the road ahead of us." According to Techcrunch CMB closed last month on 7.8 million in financing. The company has expanded internationally with the latest launch party in Hong Kong.  The ladies offer sage advice to tech start ups, "I think two things. First, even if you are non-technical or have no start-up experience, it’s still possible to make it happen. None of us had technical backgrounds or start up experience when we started Coffee Meets Bagel. It was a challenge developing the product and fundraising, but if you can find the right partners who are willing help you, it’s definitely possible. Second, remember that you are in it for the long run! In the past few years, with all the hype about amazing exits that very small tech start ups have achieved, a lot of people have come to think that startups are short term stints. Everything takes a lot longer than you’d think. Think of dedicating the next 10+ years into your startup. You really have to love what you are doing. As Mark Cuban says, “Don't start a company unless it's an obsession and something you love. If you have an exit strategy, it's not an obsession.” Shakespeare asked, “Is this the generation of love? Hot blood, hot thoughts and hot deeds? The Kang  sisters  have the hot dating app, Coffee Meets Bagel. Say yes.


I had a gift card for a makeup application in my International Emmy's Gala swag bag. So off I went to the Le Parker Méridien Hotel to ...