Match uses technology to bring people together, and with some 40 percent of U.S. relationships now starting online, safety, security, and privacy are critical for Match’s businesses.
Match uses technology to bring people together-an increasing imperative in the coronavirus pandemic. Safety, security, and privacy are crucial for Match’s businesses, especially now that an estimated 40 percent of personal relationships in the United States start online.
Recognizing there are safety concerns in matching strangers, the company, which is made up of multiple online subscription dating apps, is developing moderation and review tools to keep customers safe as they interact online for one of the most personal aspects of the human condition: romance.
Monitoring for Predators
For starters, the company bars anyone under the age of 18, registered sex offenders, and suspected sex traffickers. Match continuously scans for fraudulent behavior or messaging activity. The company also manually reviews suspicious profiles and activities and responds to user-generated concerns. In 2020, it enhanced those security measures.
At the beginning of 2020, Match announced the rollout of a profile picture verification process to participants in Tinder, one of its dating apps. Members who use this authentication feature, which is aided by artificial intelligence (Al), receive a blue check on their profile. Match says its Al tools can detect and block 96 percent of bots and fake accounts within a day.
Tinder also now includes an emergency alert service. For this, Match partnered with Noon light, which has proprietary technology that transmits accurate location data so users can call for emergency services without a 911 call or when unable to talk or text.1 This technology will be rolled out to Match’s other dating apps. To activate this option, users provide details through the dating app about upcoming dates, including the other user they are meeting and the location. If the user triggers an alarm through the app, Noonlight can check with them and, if needed contact local first responders. The company has also rolled out other safety initiatives including Date Check-In (an automated notification to friends and family when a user is on a date). These strides in improving safety help support equity between genders as women are most often the target of predators.
Better Online Dates
Match’s platforms are geared to different groups across age, gender identity/interests, and dating objectives. It owns the eponymous Match online dating platform as well as Tinder (190 countries, 40 languages), OKCupid (uses a machine-learning algorithm to link people with shared beliefs and interests), Hinge (geared to in-person connections), Plenty of Fish (available in 11 languages), Meetic (a French dating service), Pairs (Japan, Taiwan, and South Korea), and Our Time (age 50 and over in the U.S.). Match Group was spun off as of June 30, 2020, from IAC, a conglomerate that focuses on growing Internet businesses, and its second-quarter results reflect Match as a new entity.2 Its second-quarter revenue rose 12 percent year-over-year to $555 million, while average subscribers increased by 11 percent to 10.1 million. The Tinder app led with a 15 percent lift in revenue and an 18 percent rise in average subscribers to 6.2 million.
Looking To The Future
More recently, Match hired a new head of safety and social advocacy, Tracey Breeden. Breeden previously worked as the head of women’s safety and gender-based violence operations at Uber, another tech company that brings strangers together in close proximity. The appointment of Breeden, who has a background as a law enforcement officer in California and Oklahoma, came as Match is testing a facial recognition system to confirm a user’s profile picture is associated with that individual.
Sustainable Development Goals
The Sands Capital six investment criteria tend to lead us to businesses that are innovators or vital facilitators of change in industries undergoing significant transformation. Many of these businesses operate in high impact spaces such as technology and life science.
Match is one of many portfolio businesses that create impact by addressing at least one major social and environmental challenge identified by the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Match addresses U.N. SDG 3: Good Health and Well Being; U.N. SDG 5: Gender Equality; and U.N. SDG 16: Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions.
1 Noonlight is not a holding in Select Growth.
2 IAC is not a holding in Select Growth.
All data is for Fiscal Year 2019 unless otherwise noted. The business profiled was selected based on its reported alignment with one or more UN Sustainable Development Goals.
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