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Online dating site SmartDate announced today that it has raised an additional $5 million in its first fundraising round today to help promote its French online dating site and compete with other giants like OKCupid and Match.com.
SmartDate bills itself as an international dating site. Most other dating sites do have operations internationally but aren’t localized, whereas SmartDate is localized for Germany, the United Kingdom, Spain, Italy and the Netherlands. The site started in France, where it has become the number-one online dating site according to some metrics.
The site is free to use, but there are advanced settings users can change if they pay for them. OKCupid, one of the largest dating sites in the world, operates using a freemium model. Other sites like eHarmony and Match.com are pay-to-play sites, but still offer users a taste of the experience for free. SmartDate caps the number of messages users can send out to potential flings and petite-amies in order to entice them into paying for the premium model.
If the company has designs on the U.S. market, it faces a lot of competition. OKCupid is one of the biggest and has already raised $6 million. Match.com is another significant competitor run under the umbrella of oft-maligned media giant Barry Diller. But there’s also plenty of catty in-fighting happening between dating sites lately, judging from lawsuits flying back and forth between Match.com and competitor Plentyoffish.com. So now may be as good a time as any to try to break into new markets like the U.S.
French angel investors Pierre Kosciusko-Morizet and Pierre Krings, both founders of the major French e-commerce site PriceMinister, led the most recent fundraising round. The company had earlier raised a seed funding round led by International Business Angels and 360 Capital. The company has around 25 employees.