Dawoon Kang, co-founder and Chief Dating Officier of Coffee Meet Bagel first launched the dating app in 2012 with her sisters, Arum and Soo Kang. In 2015, the company was featured on Shark Tank and even turned down billionaire entrepreneur, Mark Cuban’s offer to buy them for US$30 million. Now, the company continues to grow after raising over US$19 million from investors in the past few years.
Here, Dawoon tells Tatler how the app differs from other dating apps on the market, how she went on over a hundred first dates through the app, and what her role as Chief Dating Officer actually means.
What do you think made Coffee Meets Bagel one of the most popular dating apps? How does it differ from other dating apps and sites?
Coffee Meets Bagel (CMB) is designed for singles looking for real relationships. For example, we only give you a handful of high-quality matches so you can focus on fewer people.
I imagine online dating was quite different nine years ago when you first started the company with your sisters. How has the online dating world changed now that it’s become more mainstream and accepted by the public? How has the company changed with it?
Yes! The market has become bigger and it’s still growing which is awesome. With the rise of Tinder, swipe-based apps have become the mainstream. With that backdrop, CMB has become more focused on staying true to our original mission of serving singles who are looking for real relationships and want to take a more thoughtful approach to dating.
Despite being founders of a dating app, you and your sisters have been relatively quiet about your dating lives. Is there a reason for that?
I’m not intentionally hiding but just don’t really see the need to share my private life publicly. However, I do talk about my dating history a lot on CMB’s Save the Date podcast series, where I interview dating experts to help daters find happy long term relationships. I’ve gone on over a hundred first dates (through CMB actually!) over 5-6 years and I think daters find it encouraging to know that they are not alone in this dating journey.
How is it like using your own app to find matches? Did you put it on your profile that you’re a co-founder? What are some of the responses of people when they find out?
I intentionally did not write that I’m a co-founder because I didn’t want to talk about my work. When people found out, some people got freaked out and some people found it fascinating. I generally preferred people who didn’t make a big deal out of my job.
It was great using CMB to find dates because I could kill two birds with one stone—work on my love life as well as study what it’s like to use CMB as a dater.