Online dating portal takes aim at Latin America's 100 million singles

Latin Americans may be adapting slower to online dating, but the Peruvian entrepreneurs who started the site already have signed up half a million registered users in four countries in less than two years.

“MiMediaManzana (Spanish for 'my half apple´) [intends] to increase the use of online dating in Latin America," Pedro Neira, CEO and founder of site owner Dating Latam, recently told Latin Business Daily

After 12 months of only operating in Peru, Dating Latam made the service available in Colombia, Chile and Mexico as well. 

“We started the portal in Peru, but with the vision set in Latin America,” Neira added. 

The $5 to $15 price for a membership to the site is affordable to the estimated 100 million single people in Latin America, Neira said. 

Neira, 36, and other Peruvian entrepreneurs developed the company after selling their previous online effort,  a real estate market website, to investors. 

“We saw that the market for online dating was little exploited,” he said. Unlike other similar online services, “we focus on long-term or serious relationships."

Colombia, Chile and Mexico as well as Peru are big enough markets to concentrate on for now, so the company has no plans to add new countries in the immediate future. 

“Our results in Peru have been impressive," Neira said. "In 18 months, we have reached from 80 percent to 90 percent of all the traffic in the category of dating."

In the three other countries, the portal is between second and fourth place with 10 to 15 percent of the market, he added.

The main segment of users is 30 to 45 years old, Neira said.

The initial success has helped to raise capital. 

“In two rounds to raise capital, we have already obtained capital from funds in the U.S. in addition to Peru,” Neira said.

MiMediaManzana takes care to prevent potential misuse such as barring any married people from signing up and providing clients with easy access to the company. 

“We are one the only website (of its kind) in the world that I know that has a telephone number for customer service,” Neira said. 

The site allows users to restrict potential love interests to those who live in specific areas, and come from certain social or economic backgrounds. Neira said this is because Latin Americans can be slower to accept people from different backgrounds.

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