The cofounder of a startup that's raised $20 million met her partner on her own app by using a few 'cheesy' lines

Courtesy of Coffee Meets BagelShe wasn’t interested in being ‘cool.’ Dawoon Kang pictured.
  • Coffee Meets Bagel cofounder and co-CEO Dawoon Kang met her current partner on the app several years ago.
  • In her profile, she mentioned that she was “in pursuit of my personal legend” and was looking for someone who “aspires to be a contribution to the world.”
  • Kang said too many people are embarrassed about saying what they really want in a relationship because it’s not “cool” – but otherwise, they probably won’t find what they’re looking for.

My since-deleted OKCupid profile began with a poem.

I kid you not: I wrote a few lines of rhyming verse to explain who I was and what I was looking for in a relationship.

In retrospect, this was ridiculous – and not just because who writes a poem on a dating site? – but also because I lied. “Not looking for love,” read the penultimate line.

Why did I say this? I was 100% most definitely looking for love, and I imagine there were plenty of other people on the service looking for the same thing. (After all, a Tinder survey found that 80% of its users say they’re seeking a meaningful relationship.)

It wasn’t until I spoke with Dawoon Kang, cofounder and co-CEO of dating app Coffee Meets Bagel, over the phone in June, that I was able to do the necessary introspection.

Coffee Meets Bagel profile Dawoon kangDawoon KangKang’s recreation of her old Coffee Meets Bagel profile.

“I sense we feel a little bit embarrassed about saying what we want in a relationship or a person,” Kang told me. “There is, culturally, a trend of ‘caring too much is not cool.'”

Kang was not interested in being cool when she put together her Coffee Meets Bagel profile several years ago. And whatever she did clearly worked, because she’s still dating the person she met on the app.

Kang couldn’t remember verbatim what she wrote, but said she wrote something like this: “I am in pursuit of my personal legend, and in search of wonder, someone who strives to be her best every day.”

And she wrote that she appreciated when her date was “curious, aspires to be a contribution to the world, wants to connect and really get to know each other.”

Kang told me on the phone, “People feel like this is so cheesy.”

Still, she said, “What I really want to encourage people to be is yourself. Cool or not, if that’s what you want, say that, because otherwise how is the other person going to know? And you really want to not waste time attracting the wrong people.”

This approach is working for Coffee Meets Bagel. In May, the app raised $US12 million, meaning it has raised a total of nearly $US20 million since launching in 2012.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, none of the people I met on OKCupid fell under the “love” category. You could argue that I effectively sabotaged my own chances.

As Kang said, “Don’t be afraid to say what you want, because that will attract the right type of people.”

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