Three reasons why you should be making a date with online dating this year

Monday 4th January was coined the ‘Black Friday’ of the online dating industry with a surge of singles registering to dating sites in a bid to meet someone special in 2016. But it’s not just singletons with `an increased appetite for online dating. The last twelve months has also seen a surge in the number of businesses making a date with the industry.

When Vana Koutsomitis, pitched her dating app ‘DatePlay’ to Lord Sugar and Venntro co-founder, Ross Williams, in the final of The Apprentice just a few weeks ago, it came as no surprise. But unfortunately for Vana (and a lot of online dating start-ups), her business model was too high risk and the returns weren’t sustainable enough to win the level of investment that Lord Sugar was offering.

But this shouldn’t put entrepreneurs off investing in the online dating industry in 2016, and here’s why:

There’s a strong demand for online dating services, if you can add value

Online dating is now the fourth most common way to meet someone, proving demand is high. Last year a handful of dating start-ups were successful in securing funding, with French dating app Happn raising £9.2m. But we also saw a number of new apps entering the market that, despite their best intentions, failed to deliver products that added significant value to the marketplace.

The key thing that dating start-ups need to consider is whether there is a demand for the service they’re providing – is it something people want or need? To succeed in the online dating market, start-ups should either offer something different to competitors or take what their competitors do, evolve it and do it better.

Achieving liquidity is easier when you know how

The biggest challenges with taking an online dating product to market are achieving liquidity and scaling. While it’s not impossible to do this alone, it is difficult. What’s more, assumptions about how the online dating industry works are not always legitimate – the widely popularised view that people don’t pay for online dating services is a myth. Speaking to those in the know is essential to success in this industry.

There are a number of ways that businesses can overcome this. In 2015, we launched Venntro Ventures – an incubator for online dating and lifestyle start-ups. As part of this programme, we give participants access to our member database of 50 million customers who are already invested and engaged in dating products. This will mean that the database they market to has a higher propensity to convert and will reduce the amount that the start-up needs to spend on user acquisition.

You may be in a better position to develop your own dating site than you think

Working in the online dating industry doesn’t just mean building a dating app. There are a number of off-the-shelf solutions that you can use to create your own dating site, quickly and efficiently. White Label Dating take care of the back end, product, customer care, and more, while all partners need to concentrate on is the design and marketing of the site.

Digital marketers and brand specialists are particularly well-placed to create their own online dating brands. It’s worth noting that online dating sites that tap into niche communities, that could have been developed via a blog for example, typically perform really well. is a site operated on the White Label Dating platform by a partner who also runs a digital marketing agency – the portfolio now contains 168 niche sites in seven countries, including the UK, USA and South Africa, and the the partner in question vows he’s learnt more about digital marketing in his time in the dating industry than across his whole career.

If you want to make 2016 the year to get your dating start-up off the ground, invest time in understanding your market, seek advice from the entrepreneurial community and utilise your existing skills. It’s an exciting time for the online dating industry – get in on it now and you’ll be smiling all the way to the bank.

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