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Cupid has gone digital in a huge way and with Valentine’s Day just around the corner, you can bet that singles everywhere will be flexing their fingers a whole lot more using the burgeoning array of dating apps.
One dating app that’s been on playing on everybody’s lips is Singapore-based Paktor. The location-based dating and networking app connects mutually interested users and allows them to chat individually or as a group.
Deriving its name, “Paktor”, from the Chinese Cantonese dialect word for “dating” (拍拖), the app was launched in 2013 by founder Joseph Phua and has grown to 7 million users in just three years!
The platform continues to grow from strength-to-strength and has been making headlines for its recent acquisitions. Just last week, it acquired three companies which manage 4 social dating apps – DOWN, Sweet, Goodnight, and Kickoff. These 3 companies will now be parked under a new division called Paktor Labs.
How Paktor Became The Dating App To Rule Them All
People get the impression that the path for dating apps to focus on is love and romance. But for most parts, it was careful research and strategic planning that contributed to Paktor’s explosive growth.
Here, we take a look at how Paktor rose from relative anonymity to become the dating app that has conquered Asia and beyond!
When it comes to mobile dating apps, Tinder defines the market. However, Tinder has not done any sustained marketing in Asia. And if it were too, Phua believes they would likely start with China, Korea and Japan as these three markets have robust mobile app ecosystems, he told Techcrunch.
While Southeast Asia has a population of 600 million, the fragmented nature of the region makes it tougher and less appealing for international companies to move in, he added.
Seeing this gap, Paktor seized the opportunity to become the leader in the online dating space in the region, beginning with Singapore. “We were the first in Singapore to capture this market, and that is a big advantage. You have to move very quickly, especially in technology,” said Phua.
Today, the industry of bringing new people together socially represents a fast-growing US$1 billion-revenue-a-year market in Asia.
While regularly compared to its rival, Tinder, Paktor has a greater following in Southeast Asia. This is due to its greater understanding of the Asian culture with its height, job and education filters.
“Paktor app is the most used dating app in SEA because our product is tailored for locals – we can do so because we understand what works for our users in each Southeast Asian market,” Phua told Global Dating Insights.
- Focus On Monetisation:
Paktor users can spend on in-app purchases on a few things: to unlock profiles that has indicated interest in them and to send virtual gifts to other popular users on Paktor.
This focus on monetisation has paid off handsomely, as the team reported a 100X revenue growth from 2014 to 2015.
Occasions like Valentine’s Day typically result in a higher number of in-app purchases among users. According to Phua, Singapore male users on Paktor actually spent 2.2Xs more on in app purchases 5 days leading up to Valentine’s Day in 2016. He told the Vulcan Post that the number of gifts sent per guy in Singapore also rose to 4Xs on Valentine’s Day, and usage of the words “when” and “what time” increased by 60% on the day before Valentine’s Day. This indicates that guys are more active in asking girls out on dates.
- The Right Team
As many venture capital firms would advise, a core element to look when deciding which start-up to back is a combination of team members and the product that they have.
Phua acknowledges that having a strong team has been crucial for Paktor’s growth: “It’s about the team. We have a solid team that can move quickly in tandem and react to changes in the market. It’s about how can you respond to 500,000 requests a minute, the efficiency of your infrastructure, speed, how good your product is. It’s about the whole system, and how it best serves your users. You need a very strong team to be able to do that,” he was quoted saying.
The Only Way Is Up:
With these acquisitions, Paktor has grown into a huge social group. Only a handful of dating groups globally have the ability to acquire them now.
Who knows, Paktor might even become the first unicorn to emerge out of Southeast Asia. We’re keeping our fingers crossed.