Daewoon attained her MBA from Stanford and held a senior executive role as Vice President of JP Morgan in Hong Kong. There, she focused on investment banking. Daewoon eventually quits her job to start Coffee Meets Bagel with her two sisters, Soo Kang and Arum Kang.
The three sisters grew up in an entrepreneurial family. Their dad founded a recycling company with his brother. That inspired the sisters to dream about forming their own business later on in life. Their dream was conceived in 2012, when the three resigned from the positions of their respective companies and founded Coffee Meets Bagel. In this unicorn startup, Daewoon is the COO, with a focus on brand and marketing.
“We started Coffee Meets Bagel about 4 years ago with the vision of making it the best dating service for women”
Daewoon mentions that for some people it is difficult to leave the comforts of their daily work routine to form a high risk startup, but it was easy for her.
The gender ratio in the online dating industry is 60% men and 40% women, while men are twice as active on dating sites. This unbalance results in a mediocre experience for both men and women. Men don’t receive replies to their inquiries and get frustrated. Women are inundated with requests they are unable to answer. Coffee Meets Bagel has found the remedy to this public discontent with online dating.
“I’m sure everybody is familiar with the fact that the Dating space is very competitive, there is no shortage of dating apps or services out there, but what we really saw white space is in the lack of services that really understood the way women wanted to date”
Coffee Meets Bagel is disrupting the competition as the only dating service that provides differentiated service for men and women. Men receive 21 bagels, or daily matches. Women’s daily curations are more filtered, and they are only presented with men who have already expressed interest. Women have more control over their dating experience and their engagement with hopeful prospects.
The goal of having the service tailored by gender is to accommodate for the unique dating habits between men and women. Men love having a wide selection and many photos. On average, men want to be presented with 17 bagels, while women only want 4. The goal is to provide men with a wider selection and women with more selectivity.
To measure the success of the product, the team looks at the number of meaningful relationships formed through Coffee Meets Bagel. Coffee Meets Bagel boasts 2.5 billion introductions globally, 50,000 people dating, and 7,000 actual dates happening.
In January 2015, the three sisters presented their business to notable investors in Shark Tank, where they turned down a $30 million offer from Mark Cuban. It is noted as the highest offer ever turned down in the show’s history. Previously, the three sisters debated whether or not to go on the show. Coffee Meets Bagel already raised a few million dollars before their feature. Nonetheless, being on Shark Tank drew public attention and drove traffic to their app. It is said that being on shark tank is the equivalent of spending $3 to $4 million on marketing. There was 9 million viewers watching the show and they had great PR coverage.
Her Minority is a blog that brings insight on influential women of Asian ethnic background. Some are iconic innovators and lead impactful careers. Others are simply astounding for their past actions or their unorthodox ways seem quite inquisitive.