Shahzad Younas and Ryan Brodie: Muzmatch

Unlike many of its market rivals, this Muslim dating site is designed for long-term romance, not quick-fix passion

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Shahzad Younas, 34 and Ryan Brodie, 25
Company: Muzmatch

Tinder may have created one of the most spectacular growth stories in the mobile space, but it hasn’t done much for the image of dating sites.

Ask most people what comes to mind when they think of such platforms and they’ll probably mention cheesy pick-up lines, pouty selfies and ill-advised one-night stands.

But Muzmatch isn’t about that. Not at all. It’s a site and app aimed at the Muslim population and it looks to help people find long-term partners, not just a quick hit of passion.

The founders – former Morgan Stanley trader Shahzad Younas and seasoned app-builder Ryan Brodie – explain that the Muslim community is brought up to believe in marriage and lasting relationships, yet the pressures of family, religion and ethnicity make the search difficult. That’s where Muzmatch can help.

The app allows users to filter for values that matter to them, such as Islamic sect, and they can have a ´Wali´ or paternal guardian, present in the conversation if they want. Muzmatch is proudly halal and designed to maximise users’ chances of finding long-term connections.

The app was only launched in April 2015, when ‘swiping left and right’ was still a new cultural trope. But it has already gained 500,000 users in over 190 countries, and has received $1.75m in seed funding from Silicon Valley-based Y Combinator, backer of luminaries such as Dropbox and Airbnb, and British growth investment firm Hambro Perks.

Ask Younas and Brodie to describe their audience and they’ll tell you that there are 400 million single Muslims in the world – every one of them a potential user.

Though headquartered in London, the team is now global, boasting employees in Bangladesh, home to the world’s fourth-biggest Islamic population and a first step in providing a more direct presence in the key Asia-pacific region.

Having established dominance in the English-speaking Muslim market, Younas and Brodie are now localising the app for their diverse global audience. They are now live in 13 languages, and hope this new offering will “truly serve this global audience and further boost the number of international successes through our platform.”

While seeking to sustain their rapid growth, the founders also want to develop Muzmatch into a holistic community. They even crowdsourced the task of translating the app into its new languages, inviting the global user base to help out and become stakeholders in its future.

The rest of the dating industry may be about short-term success, both for businesses and the people that use them, but Muzmatch is more than happy to buck the trend.

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