- German ‘social discovery’ dating app sees SEA as key for global expansion
- Not for booty calls but for serious relationships and ‘finding true love’
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DATING apps have become relatively widespread in Indonesia, with Germany’s Spotted merely the latest aiming to carve out a piece of the pie.
Having entered Indonesia in October 2015, Spotted is now eyeing Malaysia and Thailand as its next two South-East Asian markets, its optimistic outlook fuelled by its US$14.5-million Series A round in August 2015.
That investment round, which involved Media Ventures, Wolfman Holdings, and a Deutsche Balaton affiliate based in Heidelberg, Germany, brought Spotted’s total funding to US$15.3 million to date.
“Once we get the funds from our investors, we want to expand to Asia and other parts of the world,” its business development head Andre Sierek told Digital News Asia (DNA) via email.
“However, at this moment our focus is first on South-East Asia, especially Indonesia, as well as Malaysia and Thailand in 2016,” he added.
After its founding in 2013, Spotted initially targeted German-speaking countries such as Austria, Switzerland and North Africa, describing its product not so much as a dating app but a ‘social discovery’ app.
The hyper-local app helps users meet again with others they have met before. For instance, if you met someone in a café and are interested in them, Spotted will help you meet up with them again.
According to Sierek, Spotted currently has one million users across the world, with its app being downloaded 10,000 times daily.
To increase its user base, it realised it could not depend on just the European market – which explains its South-East Asian foray, and Indonesia being established as its launchpad.
Sierek said Spotted’s internal research found that people in South-East Asia were enthusiastic users of social and dating apps.
Two months after launching in Indonesia, the app had been downloaded by 15,000 users.
“Our users in Indonesia really like our app, and they mostly like our ‘anonymous love notes’ feature,” said Sierek.
Moving from a German-only market to the diverse South-East Asian region has not been easy, Sierek admitted. It had to tweak its content to cater to the local market and local language.
“Our main challenge would be building the local user base, as well addressing the different needs of each market in the region,” he said.
Although it has not established an office in Indonesia yet, Spotted has formed a partnership with a local company, mainly to localise its content and conduct online promotions.
“We will use the same approach for the Malaysian and Thai markets – that is, cooperating with local companies,” said Sierek.
He said the company does intend to open an office in South-East Asia, as well as one in San Francisco, sometime this year, although he did not elaborate on which South-East Asian country would house this office.
Not a ‘booty call’ app
Spotted was founded by Nik Myftari, Nicolas Amann, Christian Kapp, Alexander Pelz, and Tung Nguyen, who met as students at the University of Heidelberg in Germany.
Its goal is “revolutionise” the way people connect to others, by giving them a second chance to form a relationship.
“Spotted is not a dating app that brings random people together,” said Sierek.
“The concept is more like a time machine – it brings together people who have actually met before, but did not have the time or opportunity then to follow up on a relationship.
“Our approach is unique, and focuses on establishing serious relationships and finding true love,” he declared.
The app’s main function, called ‘Deja-Vu,’ allows the user to ‘see’ people who once crossed his or path – say, at a restaurant or while travelling. The user can use the ‘Wink’ function to hail that other person, and if that person is interested, he or she can send a ‘Wink’ back in response.
From there, they can go on to private online chatting or messaging.
Users can also send anonymous love letters or notes if they are looking for potential partners – but only with people they have met before and not random partners, Sierek emphasised.
Users must turn on the location-based feature on their smartphones so that Spotted can accurately record the location and date where users might have met their potential partners.
“The more users, the more opportunities to record people who have crossed our paths,” he added.
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