How did you start the business?J: We both studied Business Informatics at university, so that’s where we met. I founded my first company, a local social network in Germany called Kwick, in 1999 and Benjamin joined in 2000. Kwick was one of the biggest local social networks in the country at that time which also doubled as a successful event agency with over 230 events in one year in the south of Germany. Kwick was acquired in 2011 and in the same year, we both decided to found Jaumo. How did you facilitate your growth? B: In the beginning, we used the profits we had generated from Kwick to fund Jaumo. We also leveraged Kwick to attract the first customers of Jaumo. The overall growth, in the beginning, was slow but increased after we hit the first 7 million users in 2014. Only two years later, we reached 10 million users and growth accelerated from there.
How did you keep your business lean?J: During the first 6 years, the company was operated by just the two of us. This lean start-up set-up was manageable at first because the business was entirely online – no bricks and mortar parts to the business were required at all. We were able to continue this way until we reached 20 million users, then we decided to expand to bring on new team members to help. With more helping hands, we had the time and capabilities to scale the business and introduce new features such as live video in 2017. Today, our business model remains very lean with only 20 employees. As a 100% remote company, we have no offices and work together with a team distributed across 10 different countries.
How did you grow the business in such a competitive market?B: We stayed lean as long as possible and resisted the need for venture capital. It took us a few years to get traction but the long wait was worth it. We also focused on getting the product right and continuing to innovate (we were the first dating app to bring live video to consumers). How do you manage the competition? J: Competition in the dating space is massive. There are a few players in the market that own almost all brands. We cope with the large players by staying lean and flexible in our business model. We have an amazingly talented team of experts who are distributed all over the world who share our vision and love what we do.
How do you deal with copycats?B: That’s daily business in dating. There’s not a lot of innovation and most of the dating apps became similar over time. If someone came up with a new idea, others tried it out too and eventually it became part of their app after a couple of months. It’s important to always be testing and innovating
Were you nervous about entering such a saturated market?J: Not really. We thought we knew something about dating because we ran a social network and events business for a very long time. But that wasn’t actually true. We had to learn a lot in the first years and even today we are always learning and trying to push forward and innovate to grow. Dating is difficult because there are so many different expectations, preferences, cultures, and the bandwidth from casual to serious dating, so those aspects were challenging too.
Is there a blueprint, or a method to follow when entering new markets as a business?B: Every business is unique and therefore cannot be blindly copied from another business. You need to have creative ideas. Always be testing and measure everything. Love what you do and everything else is hard work. Jaumo is a dating app set up with the intention to demystify and simplify the dating experience.
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