LikeBright founder and Microsoft BizSpark member Nick Soman announced that his company had joined the Bing Fund today. In case you missed it, we interviewed Nick a while back.
LikeBright uses the Facebook social graph to help you pinpoint people you would like to meet and date. It works very simply. You pick people who are friends of friends. When that person on the other side picks you, you are introduced. The particpants are screened by their qualities that match your qualities.
I asked Nick what he thought of Graph Search, the recently launched social search mechanism in Facebook. Here's what he said:
Short answer on Graph Search is 1) It's a great move for FB since it's great for their users (and Bing is a partner!) and 2) Discovery is an important first piece of the dating puzzle. We hope to enhance our product via Graph Search and then help single folks start the conversation and date better, full stop.
Here's a slice from the press release.
“LikeBright’s mission is to eliminate loneliness using the shared social ties that connect people,” said LikeBright founder and CEO Nick Soman. “Most single people meet their partners through friends, and lots of people like to set their friends up. We give them a simple, social and safe way to do this online. People deserve to find love through the people they trust. Having Bing and Microsoft in our corner will help us make it happen faster.”
Soman, a graduate of Harvard Business School, is also bullish on the market opportunity. “There are a billion people on Facebook now and online dating is a 4 billion dollar market with less than 5% of singles participating. There’s a massive opportunity to get everyone else involved.”
As the first local Seattle investment by Bing Fund, LikeBright has the opportunity to work side-by-side with product experts within Microsoft and leverage technology assets, marketing power and expertise to spur innovation in dating.
“At the end of day, technology is about helping enrich people’s lives,” said Rahul Sood, General Manager of Bing Fund. “Using social signals we generate online, LikeBright lets your network have a say in who your potential matches could be. Because who better to vouch for you and a match than your friends and family? We’re excited at the opportunity to help LikeBright further this vision.”
LikeBright has already made powerful friends in the tech and dating world. LikeBright investor Dr. Galen Buckwalter, the scientific founder of eHarmony, believes that “LikeBright has the best method for introducing couples for romantic relationships that is available. Period.” Advisor and top dating blogger David Evans of the Online Dating Post writes that social dating is “a large addressable market ripe for startups with the right mix of vision, management, nimbleness and marketing dollars. That’s LikeBright.” NPR’s Lauren Silverman notes that “men outnumber women by a ratio of 4-to-1” on competing sites while LikeBright is “achieving the impossible . . . an even balance between men and women users.”