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This week we speak to Shahzad Younas, founder and chief executive of Muslim dating website and app Muzmatch.
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When Shahzad Younas took to the stage he was very nervous. It was two years ago, and the then year-old British entrepreneur was in San Francisco pitching London-based Muzmatch to a group of high profile potential investors.
He opened his address to the room by saying: "Muslims don't date, we marry. Shahzad and his business partner Ryan Brodie were there because they had entered a global competition to win backing from prestigious Silicon Valley investment firm Y Combinator.
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This US company offers financial and practical support to a of new start-ups per year. More than 13, applied at the same time as Muzmatch, and it was one of whose founders were invited to pitch in person. As Shahzad continued his speech, the investors were soon bursting into laughter at how frank he was.
Today the fast-growing company says it currently has more than one million registered users across the UK and some 90 other countries.
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Rewind to and it wasn't a group of investors that Shahzad had to convince, it was himself. Back then he was working for a bank in the City of London. He enjoyed his job, but at the same time he increasingly realised that there was a gap in the market for a decent dating app aimed at Muslims who were looking for a partner from within their religious community.
These are 'aunties' in the community who know families, and who would match up a son with another family's daughter. His idea for Muzmatch was that it would be a digital matchmaker app for Muslims who wanted to find someone to marry. InShahzad decided that he had to make a go of the app and quit his job. I had to learn how to build an app from scratch.
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The opportunity was big enough - there are 1. Shahzad did a soft launch of the app inand his marketing methods were somewhat different to the bigger dating apps.
Watching a business grow on your own can be hard, and at the beginning Shahzad said he found it excruciating. One time he says he checked, and there were just 10 people on Muzmatch. But over time user s grew into thousands, thanks mainly to positive word of mouth. Soon people started telling Shahzad how they had met their wives or husbands.
More The Boss features:. Business partner Ryan, a seasoned app builder despite still being just 25 years old, came on board in Together they completely redeed Muzmatch, with feedback from their early customers.
They added in 22 more profile questions that people were asking for, such as how religious a person is, and how often they pray - things that really mattered to their users. Muzmatch also allows users to opt out of having a profile photo, or to blur it instead. People can also tick a box whereby transcriptions of their in-app chats are sent to one of their parents, or to another chosen guardian. Shahzad says that while Ryan is not a fellow Muslim, he really "gets what the app is about".
Eden Blackman, founder of dating website and app Would Like to Meet, says that Muzmatch has been at the forefront of more specialised dating apps. From what I have seen and heard about Muzmatch they seem to have broken the mould.
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Muzmatch, which also has a small team in Bangladesh, operates a "freemium" business model. As the app continues to grow in popularity, Shahzad says that its potential users are the estimated million single Muslims around the world. Related Topics. Related Internet Links.