February 13, 2013: Love Is in the Air

In honor of Valentine’s Day tomorrow, let’s talk about love. I’m not saying love is a trend that comes and goes, but the search for love has turned into quite a lucrative business. As we first reported nearly two years ago, IBISWorld predicts matchmaking businesses will see annual growth of 2.8 percent through 2016.

Of course the big business in matchmaking is online (it’s a $1 billion+ industry) and the latest issue of Time magazine says startups are racing to create “the next big dating app.” While acknowledging the industry is tough to crack given the domination by companies like and eHarmony, the magazine says that ever since OKCupid “parlayed a techie gimmick [a special algorithm] into 4 million users and a $90 million acquisition,” entrepreneurs are trying to duplicate their success.

Time lists some of the new players (OKCupid launched in 2004) and their “gimmicks,” like Grouper (started in 2011) which matches “two groups of three friends with some singles mixed in,” and Coffee Meets Bagel (launched last April), which sends one match to users per day at noon. Time says Coffee Meets Bagel has received $600,000 in funding and will partner with Starbucks this year.

Most of the match-matching services listed in the magazine are free, so entrepreneurs need to be creative in eking money out of those looking for love.