Love can be hard to find in the mad-dash world of today – everyone’s either too busy or too stressed or too tired to go out and meet people, yet everyone still wants to find that special someone.
Enter Jeronimo Folgueira, CEO of Affinitas – the parent company of major dating players such as EliteSingles, eDarling and Attractive World. A man committed to helping professionals find love, Folgueira explained to Business Grapevine the in’s and out’s of working in an amorous sector.
What sets the dating industry apart from other sectors?
“I work in the greatest industry in the world – I get to help people fall in love, which is as humbling as it is rewarding. Before this, I worked in the gambling industry. Now I get to change people’s lives, which in turn changes mine.
“Dating is obviously complicated – people assume that signing up with our website will mean they are guaranteed to find love the very next day, which is not likely. Managing customer expectations is a huge part of my job – it’s not an industry that allows for immediate satisfaction, like gaming or retail.
"EliteSingles is a high-end, serious player in the dating industry – it’s not about hook ups or quick fixes, it’s for relationship-minded professionals looking to find love again."
You have a unique problem in that if customers fall in love then they leave your platform – how does this sit with you?
“People falling in love is actually the best thing that can happen on our site. Yes, it means that we lose two customers, but it also means that our platform has worked and that these people get to walk away happy. At the end of the day, customers will always leave – whether they find love or they get frustrated that they haven’t – so this is the best scenario.
“And this way, they are more likely to tell their friends about their happy experiences with us, which will generate more custom.”
What tips would you give to professionals looking to find love?
“We are here to connect people who want to find something serious – professionally-minded people who share similar tastes. We aim to match people who have similar education, lifestyles and hobbies. All our profiles are manually verified in order to ensure a safe and secure environment for our users. It’s more about quality over quantity – we are the most expensive in the market, but we also offer the most premium experience and the best quality profiles.
“When it comes to finding a serious relationship online, the key is really time. You don’t often find true love overnight so you have to be committed to finding the right person. Go online, write to your matches, organise dates and be proactive until you find the right person.”
So, what does the future hold for EliteSingles?
“Well, we are currently the sixth largest dating player in the world and we are the fastest growing amongst the top ten.
“At the beginning of November, we announced that EliteSingles’ parent company has reached over 40 million registered users worldwide. Its core English-speaking markets (comprising the US, UK, Australia, New Zealand and Canada) have seen an even stronger increase in registrations this year, with 92% year-to-date growth for 2016.
“We are actually growing at 20% organically and we recently acquired another premium dating company in France, Attractive World, adding a third brand to our portfolio. We went from €60m of revenue last year to €80m this year and I hope to reach €100m next year.
“We want to do this by increasing EliteSingles’ market share and through further internationalisation of Attractive World– which is already going extremely well. In short, I see EliteSingles moving up the ranks and becoming one of the top three dating players in the world within the next three years.”
Our interview with Jeronimo Folgueira took place at the GDI London Conference 2016.