Icelandic Smitten raises seeds for Gen Z dating app

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Iceland is no stranger to romantic innovation. The island nation – 360,000 inhabitants – has the very first app to prevent singles from dating their cousins.

Now two Icelandic entrepreneurs are betting they can make Gen Z fall in love with a new twist in dating apps.

Smitten from Reykjavik said on Friday he raised $ 2.7 million in funding to woo Generation Zers (people born between 1997 and 2015) with a dating app that mixes games, entertainment and good old-fashioned flirtation. Most Smitten users are 25 or younger, and around 20% are 18.

In recent years, Europe has seen a proliferation of dating apps targeting specific communities or offering new versions of features of traditional dating apps such as chat or correspondence. Covid-19 also fed using the dating app. However, many applications have struggled to attract significant investment due to the difficulty of maintaining momentum and high marketing costs.

Dating as entertainment

“The pilot showed us that there are a lot of people, especially Gen Z, who are hungry for fun,” said Smitten co-founder Asgeir Visir. “After more than a year of isolation and confinement, we all deserve happiness and fun!”

About 25,000 people participated in the Icelandic pilot.

Smitten is wooing Gen Z singles with a combination of games, entertainment, and social features.

The application implements elements of gameplay, such as its game “Guessary”. The feature allows users to guess how other users answered certain yes or no questions and compete for “Top Guesser” status. Users can also share lists on their profiles ranging from favorite baby names to the weirdest places they’ve had sex – to spark conversation.

Visir says that on Tinder, only one in 10 matches converts to a conversation, while Smitten has a 50% conversion rate.

Bring romance to the Nordics

The company says it will use the investment to get into the Nordic countries by late August or early September.

“We are lucky and cursed to be Icelandic entrepreneurs living in Iceland. Iceland is a good test market, but it’s so small that you could probably call all of your target audience and tell them about your product within days, ”says Visir.

“We believe that Europe, and in particular the Nordic countries, can serve as the perfect bridgehead. The Nordic countries are a huge market, but small enough that we can quickly test theories and gain a good understanding of how the product has to adapt to achieve a good fit between the product culture and the different markets.

The Smitten cycle was led by start-up company byFounders, with participation from PROfounders, Inventures, Brunnur Ventures, Tiny.vc and several angel investors. As part of the tour, the founder of the wine app Vivino Heini Zachariassen (who is also a member of by Founders Collective) and the founders Joe Bond will join the board of directors.

Iceland is for lovers

Smitten’s founders believe his Icelandic pedigree gives him an edge in the competitive world of dating apps. Of the society CTO Magnus Olafsson joined the team when they created The One, a dating app for people looking for a long-term relationship. One of the people who created the famous app to prevent people from sleeping with relatives was part of the founding team of the first company of the founders of Smitten.

Visir jokes that Iceland’s three dating apps “probably” make it the country with the most dating apps created per capita, around one app per 100,000 people.

Time will tell if they can make the world fall in love too.

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