Tantan, China’s top dating app, raises $70M for monetization push and overseas expansion



Chinese startup Tantan, which is probably most comparable to Tinder, has raised $70 million in new capital as it looks to monetize its business for the first time and explore overseas expansion options.

Three-year-old Tantan claims 60 million ‘validated’ users — i.e. not fake accounts — of which six million are active on a daily basis. Of those active users, 75 percent are second-day return active. Impressively, it claims a 6:4 male/female ratio which is far higher than most dating apps thanks to a marketing focus on female users.

The funding — the startup’s Series D — was led by video social network YY and Genesis Capital, with participation from SAIF China and Zhongwei Capital. That’s particularly notable because YY is one of China’s more prominent live-streaming services, and already we have seen social networks like Momo (a fellow dating app) and microblogging service Weibo move into live-streaming with much financial success. While it is preparing to make money for the first time, Tantan isn’t planning a move into live-streaming at this point, however.

“There’s no promises or plan to do that, but if at some point we are interested, [YY] has the tech stack and experience,” Tantan CEO Wang Yu told TechCrunch in an interview.

“One part is because we [and YY] both believe the dating market is a huge opportunity in China right now, especially since Momo is moving away from it,” Wang — who previously founded fashion community P1 — added.

Rather than streaming, Tantan will focus on making money via membership services, which would be a set of additional features for ‘VIP’ users who pay a monthly fee. In that way it is much like Tinder Plus.

“We’re going to try services where you can spend a lot more money and get a much different user experience. We will test our VIP service in a few cities initially,” Wang said, although he declined to go into specific details.

Another expansion focus for Tantan is to move outside of China. Wang said that the company is eyeing possible expansions in Asia, primarily in India and markets in Southeast Asia, but Wang said it hasn’t put any targets down yet.

Anecdotally, Tinder seems to have good usage across Asia — excluding China — thanks to its global brand, but there are others smaller rivals in individual markets while Paktor, which has raised over $50 million from investors and expanded into streaming services, maintains a regional presence, too.

That might leave acquisition possibilities for any player wishing to expand, but Wang said Tantan isn’t looking to buy its growth and instead it will launch its own services when the time is right.

This new funding takes Tantan to $120 million raised from investors to date, according to Crunchbase. Its previous raise was a $32 million Series C round that was led by DST Global in May 2016.



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