Founded in 2007 by Shayan Zadeh and Alex Mehr in California, Zoosk is an online dating service that serves worldwide. After being ran by the founders for about 7 years, Kelly Steckelberg was declared the CEO of the company, which later (around 2019) became a part of Spark Networks SE.
The company offers an application for both Android and iOS and has a chat client as well. It makes use of algorithms that help users find suitable partners based on the user’s data (such as messaging patterns, clicks) that is collected.
Zoosk introduced features such as- photo verification service, which was quite useful for users as it didn’t allow users to upload photos of themselves from a long time ago, where they might have looked drastically different than they currently do. To get one’s picture verified, the user must take a selfie video that allows the moderators to record their appearance from multiple angles and based on that, verify if the photos they have uploaded match their appearance.
Zoosk Valuation and Acquisition details
Around June, 2019, 100% of Zoosk’s shares were acquired by Berlin based Spark Networks, the owner of brands such as Silver Singles and Christian Mingle, for a combination of cash and its own shares. Zoosk’s outgoing CEO Mr. McArthur became a part of Spark’s board of directors. Zoosk Inc was valued at approximately $258 million based on Spark ADSs’ closing price on 28th June, 2019.
After the completion of the merger, the former Zoosk shareholders collectively owned 49.9% of the combined company and Spark ended up with around 2,601,037 ordinary shares issued and outstanding underlying 26,010,365 American Depositary Shares.
Spark, through a release, revealed that it will issue 12,980,000 ADSs to former Zoosk Shareholders along with the cash consideration of $105 million, subject to adjustment, which the merger provides .
Zoosk has always been struggling to match the numbers of the top ranking dating apps in the US such as Tinder and Bumble. In an effort to gain visibility, it now lists itself in the “Social Networking” category of the app stores, along with Bumble, Hinge and Tinder.
As a result of this deal, Spark Networks, who has also been fighting to accommodate the top ranks in the online dating market for the past couple of years, has said that the number of its global monthly paying subscribers are expected to cross 1 million and that by 2020, it expects to achieve more than $50 million of adjusted EBITDA.
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