Post split from eHarmony, Germany’s eDarling announces UK and Ireland expansion


Shortly after eDarling announced it had bought back its shares from US partner eHarmony comes the news that the German company will be expanding to the UK and Ireland.


eDarling is managed by parent company Affinitas GmbH and was founded in 2008 with funding from Berlin company builder Rocket Internet. Until now, the dating service had avoided expanding to areas where eHarmony was already active – giving fire to rumours that the split between the two dating sites occurred to give eDarling an unrestricted expansion course.

In an interview with VentureVillage’s sister magazine, Gründerszene, CEO David Khalil said on the new expansion: “Earlier, neither eHarmony or eDarling expanded to territories the other was in. eHarmony has been live in England since 2007, meaning that we’re now competitors. But we are still extremely thankful for the time we had together –  we all still have the phone numbers of the eHarmony team, and it’s the same for them.”

Around the same time as the two companies parted ways, eDarling cofounder and co-CEO Christian Vollmann left the business, though remains on board as an investor and adviser.

The new UK and Irish versions of the company will be called “EliteSingles” – a name that bears an uncanny resemblance to Hamburg-based service ElitePartner. Both dating sites connect singles that have certain academic qualifications. eDarling is keen to move forward under the generic Affinitas brand, which explains the new name for the UK and Irish branches.

The two new launches brings the total number of countries that eDarling is live in up to 22, while eHarmony is most dominate in English-speaking markets including the US, UK, Canada and Australia, plus is popular in Brazil.

As for how eDarling will finance the expansion, it’s planning on funding it via its own operative cash flow – no funding round is planned for this year. Even with the costs of launching in two new territories, Khalil says Affinitas GmbH should be profitable for the first time in 2013.

The English-speaking market is tough and very crowded when it comes to online dating – along with eHarmony, eDarling will have to compete with popular services such as, Zoosk, Parship and Flirtbox (to name a few) in the UK.

Image credit:
lovers: Flickr user ClickFlashPhotos / Nicki Varkevisser

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