Meet Your Matchmaker | Co-Founder of Coffee Meets Bagel, Dawoon Kang

Author: Anna Maconachy

There are a lot of stigmas with online dating and dating apps, but Dawoon Kang is changing the game with Coffee Meets Bagel. The name says it all, really – it’s about finding that perfect match, and by putting us ladies in the driver’s seat, Kang is empowering millions of women to get out there and find true love. Say goodbye to unsolicited d*ck pics, cringe-worthy pick up lines, et al. Sound too good to be true? Kang herself met the man of her dreams through Coffee Meets Bagel. Read on to find out what inspired her to build the app, why she turned down a whopping $30 million USD on Shark Tank, and more…

Tell us a little bit about how Coffee Meets Bagel works and how it got started.
We created Coffee Meets Bagel with the vision of making it the best dating service for women. We empower women to take control of their dating destiny. Every day at noon, Coffee Meets Bagel only shows women the profiles of men who have “liked” them first, giving women the final say on who gets to talk to them. This model also saves ladies time, and allows them to focus on men who are genuinely interested in connecting.

Since launching in 2012, Coffee Meets Bagel has initiated more than 2.5 billion introductions for singles around the world, helped more than 50,000 couples find each other (including myself and my other half!), and boasts one of the highest ratio of female members of all dating apps.

What’s the story behind the name Coffee Meets Bagel?
Every day at noon we send quality "Bagels" (matches) to our members. We wanted “Bagel delivery” to become the one thing our members look forward to on a daily basis. Most of our members are working professionals, and what do all working professionals look forward to every day? Their coffee break! What goes well with coffee? Bagels. Which also reflect the company’s origins, as we started in NYC!

What sets Coffee Meets Bagel apart from other dating services?
Coffee Meets Bagel is the most female-focused, female-empowering dating service out there.

There is still a bit of a stigma when it comes to online dating – what would you say to those who feel negatively towards dating apps?
I think, thanks to Hollywood, there is an unhealthy focus on how we meet our significant other - the more unlikely, unexpected or “romantic,” the “better.” I think we often forget that how you meet is so unimportant compared to everything else that follows. What really matters is how you develop the relationship. If you found the love of your life, does it really matter how you met?

In my opinion, dating apps have empowered us to take control of our dating lives. If we want love, we can easily go after it. We don’t have to leave it up to chance.

What do you think are some of the biggest challenges in dating in the modern world?
Many singles are frustrated with swiping through hundreds of profiles and nothing ever coming of it. We help our users really connect, meet, and go on dates.

What are the pros and cons of working alongside your sisters?
Pros: They are my most trusted confidants. There is nothing I hesitate to share with my sisters. This is a huge asset in the start-up world, where conflict and mistrust amongst founders can often cause companies to implode.

Con: Imagine the last time you fought with your sister – we do that often at work!

Tell us about the process behind creating the Coffee Meets Bagel app…
Conduct a lot of research. Experiment. Collect Feedback. Repeat!

Do you have a favorite love story that you've seen come out of Coffee Meets Bagel?
I don’t have a favorite, because all of the love stories that we facilitate through Coffee Meets Bagel are really special to me. If you go on Instagram and search for #CMBCouple you will see so many cute, lovely photos of CMB couples. That simply melts my heart.

One particular story I can share is how I met my perfect "Bagel." He was so surprised when I told him that I started the app. It was fun!

“Conduct a lot of research. Experiment. Collect Feedback. Repeat!"

Tell us about why you turned down $30 million USD on Shark Tank…
We started the company with the goal of disrupting the dating category, and we want to continue what we started. Our entrepreneurial journey is just beginning! Plus, the largest player in the market, Match, is making $1 billion in revenue annually. There are a lot of opportunities here.

If you could give one piece of dating advice to millennials, what would it be?
Be patient. We are so used to immediate gratification that I see a lot of young members getting frustrated when they don’t find someone they really hit it off with within a few weeks, or sometimes even a few days. If finding someone special was that easy, none of us would be single! But I can promise you that if you put in the time to build your profile (3+ photos and a thoughtful description about yourself), use CMB for 5-10 min daily, and engage in chats after you connect with a Bagel, you will find someone special sooner or later!

What has developing and watching Coffee Meets Bagel grow taught you about yourself?
I’ve met so many different types of people through my work – our users, our investors, my team members, random people on the street who come up to me because they recognize me from Shark Tank. I've learned that in our hearts, we all desire the same thing – to love and be loved. To trust and to be trusted. To feel fulfilled by making a positive mark in the world. To be given a second chance. To grow. I’ve developed so much more understanding, patience, and appreciation for humanity in the last 4 years.

What does MISSBISH mean to you?
Strong, independent women who know what they want – in love and in life!

Photos by: Stanley Cheng