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I am not sure whether I should make a parallel with Tagged.com, but Ukrainian Wishdates, a social network for dating and social discovery believes that there is more to it. I tend to “discover” people through startup conferences than online networks, so for me this subject is purely theoretical.
The reason why I wanted to write about WishDates is this. Within less than a year it has allegedly attracted 1.2 million users without much marketing efforts (and it only launched in September 2011).
Wishdates blends ideas from international online dating websites such as Zoosk, HereWeDate, Badoo, Firtomatic, Path, OkCupid and others with a good doze of Foursquare.
The idea behind Wishdates is to make meeting new people more transparent and simple. Facebook likes, places and shares are analyzed and people’s profiles are compared based on similarities displayed.
HowAboutWe style date invitations are also part of the offering. Smart groups, people discovery when on the move is in the works, as is their mobile app (think Highlight meets Badoo meets Foursquare). For example, users will be offered suggestions such as “enjoy a coffee and meet likeminded people in a café nearby”.
The users have to agree to be discovered via a mobile app. According to the company, 63 percent of women and 37 percent of men want to be discovered.
The website is available in English and Russian, especially popular in the CIS countries (Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan) according to the company.
The team in Ukraine, led by a co-founder and CEO Denis Buryakovskyy (previously co-founded epayment business EasyPay) raised $470,000 of angel investment.
Wishdates is about dating and social discovery, although the company was advised by London-based venture capitalists to separate dating and social discovery. So the startup is working on another brand called HumanCloud.me which will retain social discovery functionality. Wishdates will remain focused on dating.
The company plans to monetize the network through freemium accounts and micropayments, geo-contextual advertisement, as well as ads within social network app (currently Russian VK.com, Odnoklassniki app is being developed) as well as mobile and web-based ads. Out of 1.2 million users 15 percent come back every day, go through an average of 20 pages and spend 12 minutes on the website.
The next step for Wishdates is to develop the UK market, where the startup reached agreements with a number of media outlets to drive traffic to the website.
Unfortunately global and local Alexa ratings are very low (global is at around 880,000) and it does not show on Google Trends. Estonian Flirtic has 120,000 active monthly users and Alexa ranking 3552 in Russia according to Andres Susi (he and MTVP Ventures are a co-founders, Almaz Capital is an investor). Susi says that he believes that Alexa does not accurately measure the traffic especially since Flirtic is available in three domains.
The problem for Wishdates traffic figures that most of the interaction happens within the social network app, and the website sees much less of the traffic. See, this is a problem for us tech bloggers: other than relying on investors’ judgement we have few instruments and little time to do a due diligence on a story. For those with a due diligence process firmly in place, here is an alert: Wishdates is currently fundraising.
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vita at goaleurope dot com