Swedish woman develops dating app in Vietnam
Denise Sandquist came up with the idea for the dating app “Fika” when she was looking for her birth mother in Vietnam. The app was introduced in Vietnam at the end of last year and has already been downloaded 760,000 times. Now, FIKA has received investments from the founders of VNV Global and Voi, Frederik Hjelm and Keith Richman.
It was the experience of looking for her birth mother in Vietnam that gave Denise the idea to create a dating app that would allow people who belong together to meet.
“There is a lot of pressure on women in Asia to find a partner early on, when it is not really socially acceptable to use dating apps,” says Denise Sandquist.
Denise wanted to change that with Fika. The goal is for women to feel secure when they are proactive about dating through apps. At the same time, Asian women usually don’t take the first step and write down a potential date, which is how American dating app Bumble works as an example.
Today, the application has 150,000 active users each month. The main market is in Vietnam, but it has also been acquired thousands of times in other countries.
40 percent of users are female and Fika has manual verification of all users.
“We only approved 60% of registrations and our vision is to be a safe dating platform for everyone. Boys and girls, but especially girls, do not feel safe when using a dating app “
Security is an important feature of the user experience and something that Fika wants to promote itself by. Another characteristic is authenticity.
“We currently have a campaign called ‘true is better than perfect’, in which we urge our users to be themselves to find a partner who is best for them,” said Denise.
These ideas were good and Fika received several big name investments.
The search for Denise’s mother.
When Denise was 22, she decided to go to Vietnam and look for her birth mother. She backpacked the country and went to the hospital where she was born, but they had no information about her mother.
Denise then went to China to learn Mandarin and after that she returned to the Stockholm School of Economics. It was at this school that she met her partner and co-founder of Fika, Oscar Xing Luo.
However, Denise never gave up hope of finding her mother in Vietnam. In 2016, she returned to Vietnam for an internship and during that time posted a text about how she was looking for her mother on Facebook. It quickly spread on social media and Denise has been interviewed for newspapers, television and podcasts. It took 18 days, then Denise finally heard from her mother.