After online dating's tremendous 2020 growth that culminated in last week's epic Bumble IPO, a new entrant has tossed its hat into the dating app ring.
Snack, founded by Kimberly Kaplan, looks to merge the popularity and format of TikTok with the dating world. Kaplan hails from Plenty of Fish, where she was one of the earliest employees at the dating site. She led product, marketing and revenue and was on the executive team that eventually sold PoF to Match Group for $575 million in 2015.
Kaplan said that she noticed a specific user behavior among folks using dating apps, particularly the coveted Gen Z demographic. Essentially, folks would match on Bumble or Tinder and immediately move the connection over to apps like Snap and Instagram, where they would watch each others' stories and more casually flirt, rather than carrying on in a more high-pressure DM conversation on the dating apps.
Around the same time, TikTok surged in popularity, showing a shift in the average consumer's attitude toward creating short-form video on the web.
Snack is a video-first dating app that asks users to create a video and post it to a feed. Other users can scroll through a feed (à la Instagram) rather than swipe right or left on individual profiles, and when someone likes a video, it opens up the ability to comment. Once two users have liked each others' videos, DMs are open.
The app is still in its early days, so there is no location filtering yet to ensure that everyone who joins the app has a full feed of videos to browse through. Kaplan said that Snack is also working on video editing features similar to that of TikTok to let people get super creative with their profiles.
Thus far, Snack has received $3.5 million in funding, led by Kindred Ventures and Coelius Capital, with participation by Golden Ventures, Garage Capital, Panache Ventures and N49P.
Though we're still a ways away from monetization, Kaplan says her experience in the dating space should be beneficial when looking to generate revenue at Snack, and that the startup will likely follow the same playbook as other dating apps, employing premium subscriptions and potentially ads.
There are 10 people on the Snack team, and Kaplan says that the team is 60% diverse with 40% of employees being visible minorities.
"The biggest challenge is going up against big players that have a lot of capital," said Kaplan. "Starting out is hard and getting that initial foothold is hard. I fundamentally believe in our product and I see this open opportunity in the market. I very much believe someone will come in and usurp Tinder, and it's going to be around video."