Entrepreneur

Behind Paktor's Recent Acquisition Spree - User Acquisition, Monetisation And Of Course, People

As you may have read on our site, Paktor has just acquired three companies which manage 4 social dating apps – DOWN, Sweet, Goodnight, and Kickoff. These 3 companies will now be parked under a new division called Paktor Labs.

Here are some quick numbers:

  • DOWN and Sweet, will bring more than 5 million organically-acquired users to Paktor Group, with “healthy profits and strong annual revenues”.
  • Goodnight has over 500,000 users, and claims to be #1 voice dating and social app in Taiwan.
  • With these acquisitions, Paktor Group adds an additional 7 million users to its existing pool, bringing the total to 20 million users.
  • Paktor has raised over $57.5 million in venture funding. Revenues are expected to grow beyond 22 times from 2015.
  • In December, Paktor acquired a controlling stake in Taiwan live-streaming platform 17 Media. The company claims to have 15 million users.

Let’s Look At The Different Apps

Numbers aside, let’s take a look at the various apps and we may be able to see how they are able to synergise and fit with one another.

Paktor, the main dating app, allows you to find new friends and chat them up. While many may recognise it as Asia’s answer to Tinder, there are a few things the local startup does differently.

Paktor has been focusing more on monetisation where users are able to buy other users virtual gifts. There is also an “unlock” feature where you can see who has indicated their interest in your profile. The focus on monetisation had paid off for them, as the team reported a 100x revenue growth from 2014 to 2015.

Paktor App
Paktor App

Down and Sweet, the new apps now part of Paktor Group, bear a similarity to Paktor, minus the virtual gifting feature. Essentially, you can discover people around you and chat them up.

Down App
Down App
Sweet App
Sweet App

Taiwan-based Goodnight is an interesting acquisition. Unlike Down or Sweet, Goodnight is not a dating app. Instead, it lets you find someone nearby to talk to every night for up to 7 minutes daily.

As an app user, you will be able to earn money by talking to strangers about their favourite topics. There are several in-app items and features you can pay for, and these can cost anywhere between $1.48 – $249.99 each.

Goodnight App
Goodnight App

Live streaming app 17 on the other hand, features live streamers to whom you can tune in and watch share their talents. These can range from music to them ranting about work. Users can buy virtual gifts for live streamers, and live streamers can turn these gifts into actual money.

17 App
17 App

User Consolidation, Monetization, And The People

For Paktor, perhaps they have reached a stage where acquiring companies with existing users have become a faster and cheaper option to grow their number of users.

This could be the case with Down and Sweet, as the time needed by Paktor to negotiate the acquisition (which brings them 5,000,000 organic users) could have been significantly shorter than the time Paktor needed to acquire its own user base. With the two new apps now coming under the Paktor group, Paktor can introduce the monetization features from its own experience into the two new apps, thereby expanding not just the total number of users in the Paktor group, but also the total group revenue.

For Goodnight and 17, the acquisition gives insight into what CEO Joseph Phua meant when he shared that the group was venturing into “social entertainment”, which points into live streaming.

The existing users on these 2 platforms are also very valuable – these are mobile users already comfortable making in-app purchases, which fits perfectly in place with Paktor’s focus on monetisation. Their acquisition reinforces the idea that the Singapore startup is on full monetisation mode, with the Paktor group now having access to a new pool of “I-am-comfortable-to-pay” mobile users.

As 17 and Goodnight’s management joins the Paktor Group, they also bring along their experience on mobile monetisation in line of what works, and more importantly, what doesn’t.

The 17 Media Team

With them, the Paktor team now also has one foot in the Taiwan entertainment industry (17 is designed by Taiwan pop singer Jeffery Huang, known to many in my era as Machi / 黃立成).

I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see Paktor soon integrating live streaming, or live chat features into its app. Perhaps 17 might start integrating dating features into their own app as well.

What The Acquisition Means For The Ecosystem

Other than for pure monetisation and cross-app synergies, the acquisitions are definitely a good thing for the startup ecosystem not just in Singapore, but also across Southeast Asia and Taiwan.

Paktor has come a long way, and now founders may see established startups as potential exit strategies. New entrepreneurs may now have more confidence to start new companies in the social dating space, and investors would have more confidence in the industry as well.

This applies to Singapore-based Carousell as well, which has recently been on a shopping spree, snapping up Caarly as well as Duriana.

Howard Yang and Andy Huang from Good Night / Image Credit: Paktor

Beyond just that, we are also seeing a lot of consolidation as Paktor aggregates the various fragmented user bases of different apps into one big social dating group.

On top of that too, talents and entrepreneurs solving the same problem of connecting people, are now also coming together to network and exchange their experience and ideas. This is happening not just within Singapore alone, but is becoming a cross-knowledge pollination between countries.

And it seems like all the chess pieces are moving into place for CEO Joseph and his team.

So what’s the end game for Paktor?

With the consolidation, they have grown into a huge social group, and there are now only a handful of dating groups globally that can acquire them. Or maybe, we can start looking out for a homegrown Singapore company being listed on the stock exchange, and personally, I am super excited about that!

Featured Image Credit: chinese.vr-zone