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France's hottest dating app sets sights on Tinder

Ben McPartland · 2 Oct 2015, 17:06

Published: 02 Oct 2015 17:06 GMT+02:00

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Ever bumped into someone in the street or glanced at someone in a café and wished you had the courage to approach them?

Well if that's you, the chances are you might be interested in Happn, a French dating app that gives users the chance of turning a one-off everyday encounter into a romance.

The French start up, which is now serving singles in 25 cities around the world, has just announced it has raised another €12.5 million in funding, on top of the €8 million it raised in February, meaning over €20 million in less than a year.

That counts as a record for a French start up and founder Didier Rappaport says the money will help them conquer new markets.

The innovative app which is being billed as a rival to Tinder relies on geo-localisation - and of course, people being signed up.

Happn allows complete strangers to get in touch if they like the look of each other but didn’t have the courage or the opportunity to make face to face contact.

Unlike other dating apps like world leader Tinder, Happn aims to bring back a bit of romance - or at least give daters the feeling there was some kind of fate behind their encounters rather than an algorithm.

It can hook you up with someone you met once, someone you saw in a café one time or someone you pass on the way to work everyday.

And it’s proving popular with more than 6 million users worldwide - a figure that is expected to hit 10 million by the end of the year.

“We wanted to introduce a bit more real life into the dating experience. In big cities you cross paths with hundreds of people, but at the same time it’s in big cities where we have the most trouble meeting people," communications manager Marie Cosnard, told The Local on Friday.

“It’s completely different from other apps which just use algorithms to link people based on the compatibility of their profiles. For us it’s all base on everyday encounters,” Marie said.

“We knew we could do something with the smartphone technology and use geo-localisation in real time.”

For that chance encounter to turn into a date, both would-be potential lovers have to be signed up to Happn.

They could then scroll through their virtual timeline back to the point they crossed paths and then get the relationship moving by “liking” the other person’s profiles.

Those who pay the premium package and have a real crush on the person can even send charms.

While the users of Happn are pretty similar across the 25 cities where the service is up and running, Cosnard says there are some cultural differences that they have noticed.

“In the UK women are much more pro-active than the guys and often make the first move. Whereas in France women are more likely to wait for the guy to lead the way,” she said.

Happn does have a rival in the form of Spotted, a German app that was launched back in 2013 but is failing to prove as much a success.

But Paris always did do romance better than Berlin.







Story continues below…









Ben McPartland (ben.mcpartland@thelocal.com)

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