Technology has changed the way we meet and fall in love. This, coupled with lockdowns brought on by the pandemic, has further shifted the paradigm on how singletons find love beyond the confines of four walls.
SG Lifestyle’s Features Editor, Angela May Tan, interviews Dawoon Kang, Co-founder and Chief Dating Officer of San Francisco based Coffee Meets Bagel, a dating and social networking service еѕtіmаtеd tо bе wоrth 150 million. The app, touted as Tinder’s toughest rival, was launched in New York City 12 years ago by South Korean born Dawoon and her sisters, Arum Kang and Soo Kang. Read on to find out more about Dawoon’s take on dating trends as well as the inspiration and circumstances behind the creation of Coffee Meets Bagel.
SGLS: Tell us the story behind Coffee Meets Bagel as well as the rationale behind the name.
Dawoon: Playing Cupid is fun and meaningful. My sisters and I started looking into the dating market and realised that even though there were a ton of dating apps out there, most were focused on quantity rather than quality. We wanted to create a platform for people who are looking for real relationships, hence the advent of Coffee Meets Bagel.
The way Coffee Meets Bagel works is that every day at noon we give daters a few quality matches that our algorithm selects. We want this moment to be a time that our daters look forward to every day.
Since the majority of our daters are working professionals who look forward to their daily coffee break at work, we chose coffee. We decided on Bagel as a homage to New York City, where we started the business.
SGLS: How does Coffee Meet Bagel differ from other dating platforms, such as Tinder?
Dawoon: Coffee Meets Bagel is designed for singles looking for real relationships. For example, we only give you a handful of high-quality matches so you can focus on fewer people (rather than endless swipes) and also limit your chat to seven days so you can get offline to meet in person. As a result of our thoughtful design, over 90% of the Coffee Meets Bagel daters stated that they chose our platform as they are looking for a committed relationship. In addition, 96% say they intend to go on real dates with matches.
SGLS: What does a Chief Dating Officer do?
Dawoon: As Chief Dating Officer I focus on the science of dating to improve Coffee Meets Bagel’s ability to help daters find long term relationships. My job is to educate and guide our Product, Marketing, and Customer Experience teams to take an evidence-based approach to our mission. For decades, social scientists have studied love to figure out what elements are critical to successful long term relationships. For example, Dr. Gottman, a renowned relationship scientist has found through a longitudinal study that 70% of a couple’s problems are permanently unsolvable. This means that being with someone thinking that they will change is a bad idea! This also means that it’s important that Coffee Meets Bagel creates a profile that reveals information that is important to the dater so they can discuss these things early on in their dating life. I believe this is one of the main reasons why we were able to attract serious relationship seekers to our platform.
SGLS: What does “the science of dating” entail? What are some of the dating trends that’s come up in recent years? Has Covid affected how people date?
Dawoon: COVID-19 has made daters more thoughtful about dating. According to a survey done among our daters in Singapore, 73% said they found themselves being more open and honest with matches and more than 60% said the pandemic has made them reflect more about what they’re looking for in a partner. Another interesting finding that we’d uncovered recently is that 96% of Singaporean couples in relationships are with someone different from their original dating criteria.
We are pleased with this finding because this is the top tip from dating experts – to have an open mind and give people a chance even if they don’t perfectly fit what you think your partner should be. Now we have the facts to back up this advice and that’s exciting.
SGLS: Who inspires you?
Dawoon: My dad has been the primary inspiration for me in my pursuit of the entrepreneur dream. He started his own scrap iron business with his brother right out of college, I grew up seeing how much love and passion he has put into his business. He has dedicated over 30 years of his life driving innovation in the scrap metal industry, constantly learning how to become a better CEO, and tirelessly taking steps towards his vision of the future.
Interview by Angela May Tan, Features Editor and Content Writer, SG Lifestyle.