The gamer dating app Bixin (比心) has closed a Series A of tens of millions of US dollars led by IDG Capital. The capital raised in this round will be mainly used for recruiting talent, team building and expanding its share in the gamer dating space. The app was valued at over $100 million by the time this funding round was closed.
Bixin, formerly known as Yupaopao (鱼泡泡), was founded in 2014, and launched in 2015. About a year afterwards or so, Yupaopao secured a ¥50 million angel round from the Chinese internet cafe operator Wywk (网鱼网咖). Therefore, the recent financing round was the company’s second equity financing activity since its inception.
Bixin is technically a C2C platform that is specifically designed for efficiently hooking up video game lovers. However, the app also offers dating services for other activities including online/offline entertainment, voice acting, psychological consultation, culture & lifestyle and language learning.
Among all these options, game dating, the company’s main engine of revenue growth, currently garners the most popularity.
“Our team grabbed 100 seed users from the internet cafes of Wywk to verify our business model as soon as Bixin had launched in 2015. And the business model proved effective and feasible. In the first month following its launch, Bixin registered ¥1 million in cash flow. The app was later refined by our team and recorded revenue of ¥10 million in 2015,” LIN Song, CEO of Bixin, told Chinese biztech media 36Kr. According to the information obtained by 36Kr, Bixin tapped into the pool of users of Wywk and had managed to rake in ¥100 million and ¥500 million cash flow in 2016 and 2017 respectively.
Citing LIN’s words, Bixin is blessed with two competitive advantages. First, Bixin gets to target its customer base precisely and acquire customers at lower cost by funneling traffic reciprocally between Bixin and Wywk. The members from the internet cafes of Wywk, by choosing to top up their internet service fees through the platform, are rewarded with a 20% – 30% discount. Promotional messages from Bixin will also be sent to the members of Wywk periodically. Likewise, Wywk is able to pick up more users as the users from Bixin’s platform go to enjoy their game dates.
Through this reciprocal approach, Bixin harvested nearly 3 million users. And its user pool has ballooned further following the recent surge of popularity of the video game PlayerUnkown’s Battlegrounds. Now over 50% of the 100,000 daily orders made on the platform can be attributed to the video game PlayerUnkown’s Battlegrounds.
Second, Bixin has the capability to retain its users by delivering more value to them. That is essentially why the company chose to branch out into the skills-sharing space. The users on the platform, after paying for the game dating service for the first time, will almost certainly pursue other dating experiences. By diversifying its portfolio, the platform can increase its user retention rate and elevate its ARPU value, said LIN.
The dating service, whether coming from video games or other activities, serves only as a portal for traffic, said LIN. The company will, after gaining its foothold in “To C” business, explore ways to profit from the tens of millions of players of heavy video games.