If you are familiar with the likes of Tinder, PlentyOfFish, OkCupid and Match.com, you would know that they are all owned by a tech unicorn known as Match Group. The online dating giant has bought Harmonica, an Egyptian online dating startup for an unspecified sum.
Headquartered in Dallas, Match Group has a market capitalization of more than USD 20 Bn. The company it just bought was founded in early 2017 by Sameh Saleh, Shaymaa Aly, and Aly Khaled.
Using a mobile application and designed for Muslims, Harmonica helps users find potential life partners. Just like Muzmatch, the product matchmakes people with regards to their local traditions and cultures.
Harmonica serves more than 33 countries in Asia and the MENA region, most of which have a very substantial Muslim population. The team has 12 full-time employees, all of whom supposedly work in accordance with the Islamic doctrine to connect Muslims with their life partners.
The mobile application comes only in Arabic, but with the acquisition by the American internet company, there’s a chance it will incorporate more languages, especially English.
Per a Harmonica statement, the startup will retain its Cairo base, and Sameh Saleh will remain the CEO of the company. Match Group’s first office in the Middle East, this marks the quest for the American titian to take on smaller players trying to solve challenges facing Muslim online dating. It’s other company, Muzmatch (happening to be the most prominent), is backed by Y Combinator, and recently secured USD 7 Mn in Series A.
The Egyptian startup is backed by the global accelerator known as 500 Startups. In April 2018, Harmonica raised USD 150 K as part of the 23rd batch of early-stage companies backed by the Silicon Valley-based accelerator.
Interestingly, matchmaking is but one of Harmonica’s efforts, as it also has an in-house team of relationship coaches. The match-maked Muslims are counseled and assisted with advice until they are matrimony-ready.
As at the time the startup raised money from 500 startups, it said it has more than 70,000 users. There’s no telling how much it has now, considering the fact that it spent its first six months experimenting with 500 men and 500 women in order to get the perfect algorithm refinement. Crunchbase says the startup has raised USD 180 K in two funding rounds.
Sameh Saleh, co-founder, and CEO of Harmonica said, “Two years ago, we founded Harmonica with our sisters, cousins, and friends in mind, with the goal of helping them find a perfect partner.
It was critical that what we built was something to protect them and represent the values that our community cares deeply about. It was also important that our parents would be comfortable with them using our app.”
“We’ve already facilitated hundreds of marriages just in Egypt and believe that with Match Group’s vast experience, there are exciting opportunities ahead,” he added.
Mandy Ginsberg, CEO of Match Group, said, “As we think about international growth and expansion, there are huge populations of young singles — mostly across Asia and the Middle East — that will be looking for their life partners in the near future, and that are not properly served by Western products.”
“The Harmonica team is not only smart and innovative but has built a highly differentiated and technologically impressive product that, although early-stage, truly understands the needs of this culture. We believe we’ve found great talent, with local expertise and insights that will help us further succeed in our international expansion strategy,” she added.
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