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Peruvian startup, Mi Media Manzana, conquering the Latin American online dating market

This post is also available in: esEspañol (Spanish)

Contxto – Today is Valentine’s Day. You’re tired of binge-watching telenovelas and you’re determined to meet your soulmate. Tonight.

We got you.

Meet Mi Media Manzana, Latin America’s matchmaking app for finding real love and creating long-term relationships.

The Peruvian-born app is currently presenting at Startup Grind 2019’s global conference in Redwood City, California. It’s competing with other nine startups to be awarded as Startup of the Year.

Yes, they’re turning heads. Yes, they’re ready to meet their soulmate investor.

I spoke with César Hoshi, Mi Media Manzana’s COO, to get a solid grasp of their business model and understand their perspective on the market.

In times like Valentine’s Day, downloads and the use of apps like ours increase between 30% to 40% compared to other dates.

César Hoshi, Mi Media Manzana’s COO and co-founder

Forget 12 Corazones, MMM is the real deal

Mi Media Manzana was founded in Lima, Peru by Pedro Neira (CEO) and César Hoshi (COO) back in 2014. They now have operations across Latin America.

The startup developed an algorithm that matches people based on compatibility, thus recommending people with similar interests and personalities.

What makes this startup so interesting is that it aims to be the top matchmaking app for finding real and long-lasting relationships.

You heard that right – no casual flings, friends with benefits or one-night stands. These guys take relationships seriously.

Mi Media Manzana’s main target audience are single people over the age of 35.

Unlike Tinder, where 42% of its users are cheaters, we do not accept married or engaged people.

César Hoshi, Mi Media Manzana’s COO and co-founder

Honestly, I think that’s a very admirable purpose – hard to find in the modern internet era.

What’s the status?

Although they’re only available to Android users, the startup ranks number one in most parts of the region for Play Store’s category “Meeting People.”

As of now, they have over 2 million Play Store downloads and a 4.2 rating.

The company prides itself in being Peruvian but its market share is well diversified, particularly in four main countries. Colombia represents 40 percent of the app’s downloads while Peru, Chile and Mexico represent 30, 10 and 10 percent, respectively. The rest of their users are well spread across Argentina, Dominican Republic, Venezuela, among other places.

Online dating in Latin America

Latin America is well-known for its romantic culture, but make no mistake, the online dating game was once a highly stigmatized industry. Taboos around these products are still very noticeable among the population.

The executive mentioned that compared to the United States or Europe’s adoption of online dating over a decade ago, Latin America’s perception changed only a few years back when Tinder entered the market in 2017.

The COO considers there are very few local competitors in terms of mobile-friendly matchmakers. Most dating sites in Latam, such as Dating Chile or ZonaCitas, are mostly web-focused. It just so happens that they consider their actual competitors to be foreign companies instead, like Tinder, Happn, Badoo, etc.

Nonetheless, after doing some research, I found other players like Puerto Rican- founded MiCrush App, as well as Match.com’s Par Perfeito. Both certainly have different approaches to the game.

Subscription rates for dating apps also rose more than 12,000 percent from 2017 to 2018 in Latam, according to Liftoff’s third annual dating apps report: All You Need Is Love.

All things considered, I honestly think the market is wide enough to have a decent amount of competitors and still being profitable.

I’m intrigued to see which one comes on top, though. And I believe Mi Media Manzana is doing a pretty great job.

Startup of the Year

The dating startup will be one of the 10 companies competing at Startup Grind 2019 conference, taking place February 13th and 14th at Redwood City, California.

It’s the first time a Peruvian company gets nominated to compete in the Google-powered event. It was selected to participate in the “growth” category, granting them access to the event’s acceleration program, in addition to a network of mentors and Silicon Valley investors.

Ultimately, the founders will pitch their startup in the venue’s main stage.

Thoughts

There’s certainly a market to be exploited here. Latin America’s population is huge, and online dating has yet to reach its peak.

Mi Media Manzana shows us the company means serious business and aims to eat the whole pie.

I’ve been out of the market for some time now yet I’m interested to see how this industry develops in the upcoming years.

-VC

Victor Cortéshttps://www.contxto.com/
CEO & Co-Founder of Contxto. Passionate about tech, startups and venture capital. I eat sushi five times a week.

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