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New Wave of Dating Sites Get a Market Test

When the online dating site Zoosk filed to go public on Wednesday, its competitors perked up: The IPO could validate an industry sector where there’s a lot of activity but limited investor interest.

“You see a lot of hesitation among investors, and it’s because they haven’t seen a lot of validations about how big an online dating site can grow,” says Arum Kang, founder of Zoosk competitor Coffee Meets Bagel.

Zoosk’s $100 million public offering, she says, is “a positive thing for investors, and I think it will be a positive thing for everyone in the dating space.”

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“They grew on top of Facebook but they’re not utilizing to the full potential the user social graph,” says Ms. Kang, referring to Zoosk. “That’s where the future is.”

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With consumers less willing to spend time creating profiles on their phones, mobile-focused dating applications have also been forced to explore new ways to find matches for their customers.