CEO of Coffee Meets Bagel, Dawoon Kang, joins Yahoo Finance to discuss their new ‘ready to meet’ tool to make people comfortable dating post-pandemic and how the pandemic has changed dating.
ADAM SHAPIRO: In a world where people have been locked in during a pandemic, especially single people, it is time to date. Let's bring in the CEO from Coffee Meets Bagel, the dating site. Dawoon Kang, it's good to have you here. And when I--
DAWOON KANG: Hi.
ADAM SHAPIRO: --think of Coffee Meets Bagel, I love the name. But you've got a new dating tool called Ready to Meet. I have friends who are single, so I'm going to be sending them this clip. Tell us about Ready to Meet.
DAWOON KANG: Yeah, so we're launching this feature called Ready to Meet, which makes it easy for you and your match to indicate if you're ready to meet in person. Now, we know that as people are getting more vaccinated, they're becoming more comfortable with meeting in person. We survey our Coffee Meets Bagel users every month to understand how COVID has been impacting their dating life.
And nine out of 10 Coffee Meets Bagel daters actually have told us that they're at least partially vaccinated. And that has made them really optimistic about dating as a result. And so, that's why we're actually launching this feature because we know that ahead of the hot vax summer, people are really eager to meet. And we wanted to make it easy for them to actually be able to meet in person.
SEANA SMITH: When you talk about-- I mean, COVID has changed nearly every single industry, but I'm curious for your perspective, just how-- or do you see it having any lasting impacts on the dating industry?
DAWOON KANG: Yeah, one of the main things that we found out about COVID and how it's been changing the attitude of our daters is that it's actually making daters more long term focused. You know, majority of a lot of our daters have actually told us the pandemic has made them reflect more about what they're looking for in a long-term partner, take longer to meet up to-- if they want to decide to meet up with somebody, and also made them more-- be more honest and open about what they want with their matches.
ADAM SHAPIRO: When they talk about what they want with their matches, how often does just being vaccinated come up?
DAWOON KANG: You know, it's really surprising because-- well, surprising or not surprising. When we surveyed our daters recently, 65% of them actually have told us that if they see that they're on the profile that somebody is vaccinated, their vaccination status is I'm fully vaccinated, they're more likely to actually like them. And this finding is what led to us launching a feature called Vaccination Badge actually earlier this year in March. Because we knew that COVID was something that people would take it seriously. And they told us that if somebody is fully vaccinated, they're more likely to like them because they feel more comfortable about meeting with them.
SEANA SMITH: I know a lot of millennials use your app. Are you seeing younger users or even older generations turn to Coffee Meets Bagel in order to get that date because people have been locked up in their homes for so long?
DAWOON KANG: Yeah, you know, Coffee Meets Bagel really is a dating app for anyone, you know, younger or older. For people who are looking for long term relationship, so as long as your focus is, you know, I want a long term partner, they turn to Coffee Meets Bagel for that because they know that we have community of daters who are looking for the same thing.
ADAM SHAPIRO: I got to ask you, how did you come up with the name? Because I love coffee and I love bagels. So how did you come up with it?
DAWOON KANG: Yeah, you know, the way our dating it works is that every day at noon, we deliver to you a curated selection of people that you can go through. And hopefully, it's a quality person. We don't actually give you tons of people. It's a limited number of quality people. And it happens at every day at noon. And we were thinking, hey, what is one thing that a lot of people look forward to on a daily basis for coffee break? And what goes well with coffee? We chose bagel because our company actually started in New York City, so it was an homage to New York.
SEANA SMITH: And the key here to success is getting people to spend time on your app. So how do you keep people engaged when more and more people are venturing outside right now and maybe not spending as much time in your app as they were, what, 12 months ago?
DAWOON KANG: Well, actually what we're finding is that most people when we actually surveyed, there are actually more-- they are telling us that they've been spending more time on dating apps. And I think it makes sense, even though there's, like, a vaccination status and all that. But with COVID and people taking longer to actually deciding to meet somebody, there is a little bit more risk to meeting somebody physically.
So dating app, what it allows you to do is to give you an opportunity to actually get to know somebody a little bit more before you have to physically meet up. And so, even though vaccination is here, and COVID is still here, and so we don't actually anticipate dating app usage coming down. In fact, it actually could be even more because now, people who actually have chose not to date at all because of COVID are coming out to join the dating scene.
ADAM SHAPIRO: Dawoon Kang, CEO at Coffee Meets Bagel, all the best to you. And thank you for the homage to New York City. It could be an onion bagel. It could be an everything bagel. We just love bagels.