Microsoft today announced that it has selected matchmaking startup LikeBright to its growing list of Bing Fund startups. LikeBright is based in Seattle and it uses an innovative approach to online dating by using the power of social instead of endless questionnaires and interactions. By enlisting the help of your trusted network(using social data), friends and family can now help people meet their friends’ friends and match friends up.
SEATTLE, Washington (January 16, 2013) – LikeBright, the Seattle matchmaking startup, has been selected to join the Bing Fund, a Microsoft angel fund and incubator program sponsored by Bing. LikeBright skips the questionnaires and strangers that characterize online dating and uses data from social networks to help people meet their friends’ friends and match their friends up.
“LikeBright’s mission is to eliminate loneliness using the shared social ties that connect people,” said LikeBright founder and CEO Nick Soman. “Most single people meet their partners through friends, and lots of people like to set their friends up. We give them a simple, social and safe way to do this online. People deserve to find love through the people they trust. Having Bing and Microsoft in our corner will help us make it happen faster.”
Soman, a graduate of Harvard Business School, is also bullish on the market opportunity. “There are a billion people on Facebook now and online dating is a 4 billion dollar market with less than 5% of singles participating. There’s a massive opportunity to get everyone else involved.”
As the first local Seattle investment by Bing Fund, LikeBright has the opportunity to work side-by-side with product experts within Microsoft and leverage technology assets, marketing power and expertise to spur innovation in dating.
“At the end of day, technology is about helping enrich people’s lives,” said Rahul Sood, General Manager of Bing Fund. “Using social signals we generate online, LikeBright lets your network have a say in who your potential matches could be. Because who better to vouch for you and a match than your friends and family? We’re excited at the opportunity to help LikeBright further this vision.”
LikeBright has already made powerful friends in the tech and dating world. LikeBright investor Dr. Galen Buckwalter, the scientific founder of eHarmony, believes that “LikeBright has the best method for introducing couples for romantic relationships that is available. Period.” Advisor and top dating blogger David Evans of the Online Dating Post writes that social dating is “a large addressable market ripe for startups with the right mix of vision, management, nimbleness and marketing dollars. That’s LikeBright.” NPR’s Lauren Silverman notes that “men outnumber women by a ratio of 4-to-1” on competing sites while LikeBright is “achieving the impossible . . . an even balance between men and women users.”
LikeBright is celebrating the Bing Fund investment by kicking off a contest to find the World’s Best Matchmaker, with partners Theo Chocolate, Uber, Yelp and Fandango. Prizes include a year’s supply of chocolate, free town car rides and movie tickets. Contest details are at www.likebright.com.
For more information on LikeBright, please visit www.likebright.com. For more information on the Bing Fund please visit www.bingfund.com.