Downtown-based Covalent Inc., the developer of gamer dating app Kippo, has raised $2 million in a seed round.
The round, announced May 28, was led by San Jose-based Primer Sazze Partners with participation from Franki Chan, founder of downtown-based creative agency IHeartComix, as well as two former Tinder executives and a consultant at Baltimore-based NextGen Venture Partners, the company said.
Launched in January 2019, Kippo translates roughly to “happiness” in Korean, according to Covalent co-founder and Chief Executive David Park.
Kippo is an “online first” dating app, Park said. Unlike other apps that are designed to help users meet up in real life, Kippo encourages users to interact in the virtual gaming world.
“Kippo is removing the pressure and insecurity of meeting people online by designing an experience around users’ digital selves,” Park said.
New users are asked to provide their date of birth and upload four photos to start their profiles, and many include a list of favorite games. The app allows users to add digital cards to their profiles that describe their in-game characters and personality types, among other elements.
Once users are matched, they can message each other via the app. Park said more than 90% of matched users have invited each other to play video games together.
The app is free, but the company charges $9.99 monthly for a premium mode that allows users to add more cards, custom skins and frames to their profiles.
Park said Kippo has 25,000 monthly active users. Total time spent on the app increased 275% during the first week of March, he said. He declined to disclose revenue.
“We’ve been trending toward online dating more and more every year,” Park said. “Every generation is becoming more tech savvy. They’re spending more time online. It’s inevitable that online dating is going to become the No. 1 source of meeting new people moving forward.”
The app is open for all users, but many of its features cater to gamers. “The reason we’re focusing on gamers is that gamers for decades have been the demographic that understands what it means to interact online the most,” Park said.
During the lockdown, Park added, users are increasingly switching their geolocation search setting to “anywhere,” as opposed to a certain radius.