Case Study: Zoosk

Zoosk was founded in 2007 by life-loving entrepreneurs, Shayan Zadeh and Alex Mehr. The pair are nothing short of genius, Zadeh having graduated the University of Maryland with a master’s degree and Mehr with a PhD. Zadeh went on to work at Microsoft and Mehr with NASA, but the two left their stable jobs behind to pursue something they saw to be far more important – love.

They designed their dating website on the foundation of values, philanthropy, and diversity. They wanted to be able to pride themselves in bringing people of all sorts together, to create relationships which encompass qualities both lively and loving. Since the beginning, they have been motivated to help people find whatever relationship they may be looking for in a way which is innovative, safe, and entertaining. The pair has surely succeeded in all these things and more. The platform is now available in 25 different languages and in 80 different countries worldwide.

Their success, however, did not come without struggle. Despite making revenue of $200 million in the year of 2014, the company actually lost money. It seems while in such a hurry to expand the platform, they had let a few too many silver dollars dwindle down the drain. In order to survive, Mehr and Zadeh were forced to make some huge budget cuts, cancelling their IPO and laying off 15% of their ever-growing team. Additionally, they required that users have a paid membership to send messages to one another, a risky move which could have potentially drove business away.

Their risky moves did eventually pay off though. Fast forward to today and Zoosk is not only the number one dating app, but also amongst the top 25 apps available in the app store altogether. Their platform has grown to more than 40 million members, making Zoosk the top dating website on the market today.

The company owes their success to the fact that their platform varies substantially from the rest. For many years, the gap between dating websites and social media was unbearably large, but Zoosk set out to change this. Unlike other dating websites, Zoosk connects their members more universally through profiles they might already have set up on other websites. This allows members to get a more thorough look into each other’s lives before deciding whether or not they’re interested. Creepy as it may seem, it offers the change and innovation which those in the online dating community have been craving for years.

Along with offering members the option to engage on other platforms, Zoosk also makes an effort to simplify the dating process. They focus on the things which make online dating fun, and less on the things which tend to complicate the process. To create a profile, users simply fill out a short questionnaire, a couple personal details, and upload a few photos. Then they are free to browse through the many profiles the platform has to offer.

If their process didn’t work, the platform wouldn’t be successful. Zoosk’s “Success Story” page is filled with thousands of personal stories in which users share how Zoosk led them to their “happily ever after”. It seems Zoosk is beginning to counteract the epidemic of divorce rates with a splash of modern day love, a movement we are hoping to see more of.