How two founders from Göppingen built an app with a million downloads all alone

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For Jens Kammerer it is not easy to explain his success. Since 2011 he tinkered on a dating app with his college friend Benjamin Roth. It’s not “reinventing the wheel”, the founder says. And yet the two have had a viral miracle on their hands for several months.

Of the ten million users of Jaumo they gained nine million in the past two years. At present it’s getting even more popular: There are more than 30,000 downloads per day, says the founder. There are two million active users per month. It is an extraordinary story that begins in the small town of Göppingen – where the hidden champion TeamViewer also comes from.

Nearly 15 years ago the paths of Kammerer and Roth crossed. While studying together they lived in a shared flat. Even before the days of StudiVZ and Co. they worked together at a regional social network. Drawing on Kwik-E-Mart from the TV Show The Simpsons they called it Kwick. First, it was it was a dating platform which later became a social network. In 2011 they sold it to a US company.

The main thing is to keep costs low

That same year, the two went back to work. So came Jaumo. But instead of recruiting a large team, the two operated the dating portal alone. “A few things, such as the support, we have outsourced,” says Kammerer. They try to automate a lot, like, for example, image recognition during registration. If someone uploads a racy image, their account is automatically detected.

Otherwise Roth takes over the technology and develops the app and cofounder Kammerer does the rest. They do the work in their homes, saving on an office space. “We are Swabians after all”, says the founder.

Behind the clichéd image hides one of the success factors of Jaumo: perseverance. They only took a small sum of money once at the beginning, otherwise they were never financed. For some time now their revenues have been positive.

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The Jaumo founders Jens Kammerer and Benjamin Roth (left)

In the construction of their app Roth benefited from experience at the first startup. For example, the founders added a match-game to their app. Other than that the app has the usual features of a dating app – and thus rates relatively well in the app stores. Normally, most dating apps are rated fairly poorly in the app store.

Also, the network effect helped them, says Jaumo founder Kammerer. The larger a network is, the more members it attracts. Jaumo is an app in 50 languages. Nowadays the two also do a little bit of online marketing. As with so many dating apps the basic use is free but whoever wants to write more messages must purchase a VIP membership. This is the same business model which made Lovoo very successful.

Lovoo, a startup from Dresden, however, made headlines because it lured unsuspecting customers into paid subscriptions with fake profiles. The Jaumo founders do not want to be associated with such behavior. In the scene, the raid was a big issue, says Kammerer. But in the public it wasn’t a huge deal. “Even before the Lovoo case dating apps were watched closely,” he points out. But it does not stop them. They continue to hone their app.

This article was originally published on Gründerszene.

Images: Pixabay, Jaumo