Ali al Sayed, local Muslim, and his wife Mina Liccione.
(photo credit: AHMED JADALLAH / REUTERS)
In the Jewish world, single people are used to JDate, JSwipe and JCrush - all popular Jewish dating apps. But what if you are Muslim?
The BBC’s weekly “The Boss” series recently profiled Shahzad Younas, 34, founder and chief executive of Muslim dating website and app Muzmatch.
Younas founded his company in 2014 to reach the estimated 400 million single people among the 1.8 billion Muslims around the world who he said, “clearly no one was serving them.” He told the BBC that mainstream dating apps don’t work for more religious Muslims.
“Muslims don’t date, we marry,” he said, noting that “in the Muslim community a lot of us did, and still do, rely on matchmakers [to find a wife or husband]. These are 'aunties' in the community who know families, and who would match up a son with another family's daughter."
His idea for Muzmatch was that it would be a digital matchmaker app for Muslims who wanted to find someone to marry.
When he got started, Younas marketed it by handing out cards at Friday prayers and going to family Muslim events.
In 2016, his business partner - a non-Muslim - Ryan Brodie came on board. Then, in 2017, the partners won $1.5 million in a Y Combinator competition, which gave him the backing to move forward. Today, according to the BBC, Muzmatch has more than one million registered users across the UK and some 90 other countries.
The app asks profile questions, such as how religious someone is and how often they pray. Participants can choose to have a picture or not. They can also allow transcriptions of in-app chats to be sent to a parent or guardian.
The company has two offices, one in the UK and a second one in Bangladesh.
Younas explained that Muzmatch operates a "freemium" business model. It is free to use its basic service, but you can pay from £10 a month for extra features such as unlimited viewing of profiles, and having your own profile seen by more people. He told the BBC that Muzmatch’s annual turnover is now more than $5.93 million.
"We've now had thousands of marriages and babies [thanks to Muzmatch]," he told BBC. “Thinking about them every day makes me feel like all that hard work at the beginning was worth it."
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