The word ‘matchmaking’ might spark a cringe. It brings to mind scenes in which two strangers sit awkwardly facing each other, closely watched by their parents and not knowing what to say. Fear not, though, because matchmaking in the 21st century is nothing like it used to be two hundred years ago.
Nowadays, it uses AI algorithms and is fully voluntary. The concept has also expanded well beyond romantic matches. You can now get matched (or connected) with employees you seek, caterers you need for your business, or people who could clean your home or fix your tech issues. Take a look at ten companies aiming to revolutionise our personal and business lives with state-of-the-art matchmaking technologies!
Co-founder and CEO: Benjamin Bak (@benjamin_bak)
Let's start with matchmaking in the more traditional sense of the word, that is matching two people in an attempt to begin a romantic relationship between them. Lovoo does just that, but it tries to go beyond the way people look. This startup encourages people to develop their profiles and stories so that it can match them with others who share their interests and lifestyles. Since its launch in 2011, Lovoo has gone from strength to strength, reaching its first million users in January 2013. Now, the company boasts an impressive 70,000,000 registered users (with 5 million active users monthly) seeking their significant other. It has recently been taken over for a handsome $70m by The Meet Group.
Co-founder and CEO: Terence Hielscher
Co-founder and CTO: Andre Zayarni
Co-founder and Head of Business Development: Mo Moubarak
Founded in 2015, "MoBerries is an exclusive network of leading rapid-growth companies sharing their to-be-urgently-placed positions." The startup's main objective is to reduce the average time it takes to hire candidates – Moberries want to slash it to the absolute minimum in order to adapt the HR market to the needs of the fast-paced 21st century economy. Jobseekers no longer need to send out dozens of CVs. They don't even need to apply for jobs! A matchmaking algorithm will connect them to companies looking precisely for the skills they have, reducing the overhead and the time investment related to recruitment processes. Who said matchmaking only applied to dating?
Co-founder and CEO: Kia Rahmani (@Kia500)
Co-founder and CTO: Javier Blasco
These days, even with all the state-of-the-art recruitment solutions, many people prefer to go freelance and enjoy the freedom of working from wherever they want. There’s one caveat, though – it’s not always easy to find a good place to work - for instance a desk at a coworking space. ShareDesk can help you with that. It can also help find more than a desk – a shared office or a whole business centre. The platform matches office space providers with prospective clients, dramatically reducing the time and effort needed to find office space tailored to specific needs. Over five years of operation, ShareDesk has managed to expand into 440 cities in 70 countries, and their venue count has hit the impressive number of 4,500.
Co-founder and CEO: Richard Setterwall (@R_Setterwall)
Co-founder and COO: Enrico Sargiacomo (@sargiace)
Dogs make wonderful and faithful friends who will always be there to cheer you up. In our hectic times, we can’t always be there for our dogs to take them for a walk or just keep them company. That’s where a dog sitter or a dog walker should come in. Finding a dedicated and trustworthy person to look after your dog is far from easy, which motivated the founders of DogBuddy, Richard Setterwall and Enrico Sargiacomo, to start a platform that matches dog owners and dog sitters. Dog owners can even enjoy real-time GPS and photo updates from walks and be sure that their pets are having a great time. Founded in 2013, DogBuddy has grown into a community of 250,000 dog owners and 20,000 approved dog sitters across Europe.
Co-founders: Benedikt Franke (@BenediktFranke) and Philip Huffmann
Helpling launched in March 2014 as a website matching customers who needed cleaning services with individuals performing such services. Their customers took to the convenience of the service that made booking reliable and competent cleaners as easy as 1-2-3, which helped the company rapidly expand beyond the German market. In 2017, the company moved beyond cleaning and now offers all kinds of home services (including wall painting and clearing out homes) in eight countries. Having recently secured investment from Unilever Ventures, Helpling is looking to include home care products in their offering and thus create a comprehensive platform enabling people to take care of their homes without any of the associated hassle.
Co-founders: Antonia and Nikolaus Albert
Careship, founded in 2015 by the married couple Antonia and Nikolaus Albert, brings matchmaking algorithms to the market of elderly care. The Berlin-based startup enables senior citizens (or their families) who would like to remain independent to easily find qualified care workers who will help them around the house and assist them in their daily lives. As in the case of Helpling, Careship takes away all the hassle from the process, providing pre-screened and vetted caregivers on demand. With the ageing of the world’s population, the market for elderly care is sure to continue growing. Being a part of a booming market makes Careship a startup worth looking out for.
Founder and CEO: Tahero Nori
Before you even get matched with any of the providers offering their services through the platforms mentioned above, you need to have a working smartphone or computer. This is not always the case, as our consumer electronic devices will often fail us at the most unexpected moments. TechBuddy was founded in 2016 with the aim of providing affordable technical support by connecting freelance tech enthusiasts (or Tech Buddies) with those in need of assistance with their devices. With the growing ubiquity and complexity of consumer electronics, TechBuddy might have tapped into a lucrative niche. The service is present only in Sweden and Spain at the moment, but we will be following their moves and hope they expand their operations quickly!
Founder and CEO: Doreen Huber
A sandwich (or sandwiches, plural), maybe some standard finger food – it's pretty much the epitome of the dull food you get at events. The goal of Lemoncat is to take the dull away from catering and make it effortless to order high-quality food for business events or meetings. Lemoncat's database and matchmaking algorithms help connect catering companies in 80 cities with their prospective clients, digitising a market that used to be quite conservative. The company's idea appears so attractive that it needed only six months after its launch to secure a second funding round of €6m led by Northzone. "Lemoncat has built an impressive product, and is perfectly positioned to lead the digitalisation of the business catering sector" said Jessica Nilsson, Partner at Northzone.
Founder and CEO: Jean-Michel Petit
Founder and COO: Camille Rumani (@Camille_rmn)
There are many different types of travellers: some seek thrills and go for adrenaline, others look for sandy beaches and sunbathing spots, and so on. One group of travellers does not care much for sights – they want to, literally, have a taste of their destinations and explore new places through their cuisines. VizEat was founded 2014 with the food-obsessed in mind. The platform helps foodies taste other cities with locals by matching those seeking a social dining experience in a new spot with potential hosts who would like to create a unique culinary event for their guests. It could be a cooking class, a dinner party, or a restaurant crawl, and the host will charge a small fee for their services. VizEat is already present in more than 130 countries and has recently acquired EatWith, their main social dining competitor in North America, to secure a strong presence on this continent.
Co-founder and CEO: Tessa Cook (@TessaLFCook)
Co-founder and COO: Saasha Celestial-One (@saashaN8)
Having hosted a dinner party, you are likely to be left with a lot of, well, leftovers. It also often happens that we can’t really eat or process all the perishable food we’ve bought at a supermarket. Many people have become aware of how big a problem food waste is, and they hate to bin perfectly good food they can’t consume. Olio wants to reduce the amount of wasted food by matching users who want to offer their spare food to those who might make a good use of it. Until the end of 2016, they have enabled their users to share about 35 tonnes of food, which translates to roughly 80,000 meals. To tackle the problem of food waste at a large scale, Olio also partners with one of the UK’s supermarket chains, Sainsbury’s. Olio’s reach is currently limited to the UK only, but we are looking forward to seeing the platform beyond Britain, and we hope they will expand quickly to help other countries waste no more.
Feel like there is a business missing from the list above? Tell us about your favourite matchmaking startups in the comments below.