Cairo-based mobile matchmaking startup Harmonica has been acquired by Match Group, the American parent company of a host of dating platforms.
Founded in 2017 by Sameh Saleh, Tamer Saleh, Shaymaa Ali, and Aly Khaled, Harmonica uses technology to enhance the matchmaking process in a traditionally acceptable manner.
Having seen strong uptake, it has now been acquired by Match Group, which owns and operates several online dating sites, including OkCupid, PlentyOfFish, Tinder, and Match.com. Harmonica’s team of 12 full-time employees is joining Match Group to help it serve the Muslim demographic globally, effectively becoming Match Group’s first Middle Eastern office. Sameh Saleh will remain as chief executive officer (CEO).
“Two years ago, we founded Harmonica with our sisters, cousins, and friends in mind, with the goal of helping them find a perfect partner. It was critical that what we built was something to protect them and represent the values that our community cares deeply about. It was also important that our parents would be comfortable with them using our app,” Saleh said.
“We’ve already facilitated hundreds of marriages just in Egypt and believe that with Match Group’s vast experience, there are exciting opportunities ahead.”
Match Group’s recent strategy has been to focus more strongly on market opportunities in Asia, which includes many countries that are predominantly Muslim, with this encouraging the acquisition of Harmonica.
“As we think about international growth and expansion, there are huge populations of young singles – mostly across Asia and the Middle East – that will be looking for their life partners in the near future, and that are not properly served by Western products,” said Mandy Ginsberg, CEO of Match Group.
“The Harmonica team is not only smart and innovative, but has built a highly differentiated and technologically impressive product that, although early stage, truly understands the needs of this culture. We believe we’ve found great talent, with local expertise and insights that will help us further succeed in our international expansion strategy.”
The deal sees early Harmonica backers Flat6Labs and 500 Startups exit their investments in the startup.
“From day one we’ve had a great deal of trust in Harmonica’s talented team, and their truly innovative marriage matchmaking application; and now, we’re thrilled that Match Group is sharing the same confidence in moving ahead with this remarkable deal,” said Ramez El-Serafy, CEO of Flat6Labs. “This deal marks the first major Flat6Labs exit with significant returns on investment in just over one year.”
Harmonica, alongside fellow Egyptian startup Shezlong, took part in the 23rd batch of the US-based 500 Startups accelerator in Silicon Valley last year.