NearGroup raises USD 1.6 mn in seed funding to disrupt Tinder’s ‘body-shopping’ culture

New Delhi: A virally growing chatbot, NearGroup has recently raised USD 1.6 million in seed funding to disrupt Tinder’s ‘body-shopping’ culture with their dating chatbot. The funding round was led by OpenOcean, with participation from Neotribe and BoostVC.

The funding will be used towards scaling their technology, tightening segment domination in Asia Pacific, and expanding in the US and Europe.

Allowing users to connect to like-minded people based on proximity and interests, NearGroup has been experiencing extraordinary growth with 700k new-users joining every month and 25M messages being exchanged per day.

NearGroup chatbot allows users to read stories of individuals nearby, and reply to those they wish to start a conversation with. By showcasing hobbies and talents, like writing poems and singing songs, users can attract others with common interests – while only opening up their pictures and profiles later in the conversation.

Instead of swiping images, NearGroup makes it possible to put personality and chemistry first, aspiring to change the “body-shopping” culture of Tinder.

“At NearGroup, we are applying simple psychology to reverse the order of match-making. At NearGroup on the basis of mutual interest, users chat first and then see images later. It’s proven that people are much more forgiving to physical flaws of others when they are able to include other criteria like intelligence and humour into the picture,” said founder, NearGroup, Prashant Pitti.

“We are transforming the social and dating culture in many countries where having an open-dating profile can put you in trouble. That especially applies to girls and LGBT individuals. NearGroup solves this by making profiles hidden until users choose to selectively disclose them to those they’ve build a trusted conversation with,” added Pitti.

The chatbot is now available on FB messenger, Kik, Viber, and Android. Within a few weeks, they plan to go live on their website, Twitter, iPhone, Telegram, and Slack.

“Chatbot is a recent phenomenon, and the way NearGroup applies it in the dating space places them well ahead of competitors. Traditional apps are at risk of getting uninstalled if they fail to find a good match for the user, resulting in high churn rates. With NearGroup, it’s a chatbot so it is not eating any real-estate of your mobile phone. Hence even after 2 months, they can still notify you about your newly-found match and get you back with 40% probability, which on the app would be less than 5%,” said Managing Partner, OpenOcean, Patrik Backman.

NearGroup competes with the likes of Tinder, Happn, and other dating apps.

According to a previous-survey, looks-first approach takes 1000 swipes to get just 3 conversations going, while OkCupid reveals that an average woman looking considers 80 percent of men unattractive.

NearGroup recently completed 2 billion messages exchanged between users. It took NearGroup 8 months to achieve 1 billion messages. However, the next 1 billion came merely within 45 days. (ANI)