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article imageMeet 'Coffee Meets Bagel' — A new approach to online dating Special

By Yukio Strachan     Apr 22, 2012 in Technology
New York - Too often, online dating can feel like taking on a second job –– without the pay. Not any more. Meet Coffee Meets Bagel, the first online dating service where members are privately paired to a potential match each day at noon.
① Prospective members sign on through Facebook, for authentication. Once accepted, members are privately matched with a friend-of-a-friend through their social network whom they likely haven’t met.
② Matches are emailed to members every day at noon.
③ Members have 24 hours to LIKE or PASS their match. If the 24 hours expire without making a choice, they may never have another chance with that person again.
④ If a both “LIKE” each other, they are connected immediately through text message via a private company phone line. You receive complimentary gifts from one of New York’s finest date spots such as Billy’s Bakery, Café Grumpy, and Pierre Loti on the first date.
⑤ If one member chooses LIKE and the other member chooses PASS, you play again the next day, with a new match.
Q&A with Coffee Meets Bagel Co-Founder & CEO Arum Kang
As a fresh graduate with a MBA from Harvard Business School, Co-Founder & CEO Arum Kang brewed up Coffee Meets Bagel with her sister Soo, who found herself frustrated by the New York dating scene. She felt that online dating was too time-consuming and slow, "It’s almost like having a second job," Soo said, according to the company press release.
Coffee Meets Bagel s Co-founder and CEO Arum Kang
Coffee Meets Bagel's Co-founder and CEO Arum Kang
Permission granted by Arum Kang
To find out more about CMB, I reached out to Co-Founder & CEO Arum Kang who answered my questions below over email regarding how the site works, what kinds of fees members can expect, and what sets CMB apart from other online dating sites.
I love the personal touch that you give CMB. Have any of your members commented about that aspect? Does it help them feel more comfortable with joining CMB?
Coffee Meets Bagel’s Arum Kang: Yes, definitely. One of the first things we heard back from members when we ran the pilot was that they liked the personal touch. It's personal also because we use user's own network to determine the daily match (or daily Bagels as we call it!)
This feedback says it all:
I like the individualized touch to the program. i think its better than okcupid and other mass dating sites because you dont feel like you're one of 10000 other options waiting to be picked off the shelf.
What costs are involved with joining CMB? Are there any strings attached later that my readers should know about?
AK:Nope, no hidden cost. Our core service is free and we plan to stay that way. I hate that online dating services tie you down with expensive monthly subscription fees--when you don't even know if you are ever going to get anything out of it! Our site has a virtual currency called Coffee Beans that you can collect by inviting friends or filling out details in your profile etc. Collecting enough coffee beans allows you to purchase fun items that can help you connect with others.
For example, let's say you missed the 24 hour window because you were traveling or you forgot. Our "rematch" card allows you to request a rematch with that person. Or now we introduced special gift items you can send to your matches ahead of time, if you want to impress them. These are additional things you can do with coffee beans. Members will eventually be able to purchase coffee beans in bulk.
On CMB's Facebook page I saw a quote that said: "Got picked up by Glamour! (New Dating Site "Coffee Meets Bagel" is Kind of Adorable) We hope they really try it out and see we're not just "adorable" but really useful :)" I was wondering why the word adorable stuck out to you?
AK:Actually we love being adorable! But what we meant is that we are more than that. The article also talks about discretion which is a big part of our product--respecting member's privacy. What often people don't immediately get, however, is the power of 1-to-1 matching and the 24 hour time component, and the impact they have on member's dynamics.
Coffee Meets Bagel screenshots from video
Coffee Meets Bagel screenshots from video
Screenshot/ Coffee Meets Bagel via vimeo
In most dating services, including some that launched on Facebook recently, you browse/search for people and initiate the contact. But you are never sure when that person will even see your message. By putting two people face to face (virtually) for 24 hours, we create somewhat of a special connection between the two. There's somewhat serendipitous element to knowing that this connection only lasts 24 hours. And because of this our user engagement is really high. Finding out the match's response every 24 hours is another plus. No more waiting game.
Along those lines, what shouldn't singles expect from your dating platform? For instance, an infographic from CMB's blog said that people often plunge in sometimes expecting the perfect match, which I can image would dash hopes.
AK: I sadly see a lot of members get PASSED because they don't put much information about themselves on their profile. Our profile is somewhat unique too in that we don't ask members to write long prose about their favorite books or philosophy. We ask them to use a few key words to answer 4 different aspects about oneself. It's surprising how much you can find out about a person through the choice of these key words. But not everyone fills them out, as they are optional.
I guess the lesson is--don't expect the "one" to recognize you as the "one" if you don't reveal anything about yourself!
Can potential members reach out to you if they any lingering questions?
AK: Sure, of course! Any time. We would love to engage with potential members on twitter @coffeeMbagel.
What else would you like people to know about CMB in terms of the experience they will find?
AK: Well, there's a big Launch Giveaway taking place right now so they should join now to try it! We've partnered with some awesome brands like Rent The Runway and Bonobos to giveaway gorgeous outfits and other awesome rewards, including weekend getaways.
As for the experience, I am weary of a lot of things online and that's why we tried hard to make this experience unintrusive. The experience is kind of amazing to me when you think about it---it's an easy task to check once a day and get on with your life but something that can potentially change your life!
That's why our members look forward to the noon time!! (We took "noon" to a whole different level!") My take is, it's so easy, why not just do it?
If you are single and ready to "just do it" or know someone who is, head on over to and sign up today.
More about Online dating, coffeemeetsbagel, Facebook applications, arum kang
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