Singapore: Dating app Paktor’s parent company M17 files for New York listing

Visuals of Paktor app. Credit: Paktor Group

M17 Entertainment, the parent company of Singapore-based dating and networking app Paktor, is heading to the New York Stock Exchange as it seeks to raise a total of $115 million in a proposed initial public offering (IPO).

According to a US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filing, M17 Entertainment said it will use the proceeds of the planned IPO to finance the expansion of its business in Japan and other new markets.

It will also allocate funding for content development and to finance strategic merger and acquisition opportunities, although the company has not identified any targets yet.

The IPO will be underwritten by Citigroup, Deutsche Bank Securities, Daiwa Capital Markets and Mizuho Securities.

Led by veteran media and entertainment executives, M17 Entertainment operates the largest live streaming platform by revenue in Asia, with a market share of 19.2 per cent in the first quarter of this year. It also operates Paktor, which was launched in Singapore in 2013, and Goodnight, which are its main dating applications.

Paktor, founded by Joseph Phua in May 2013, is a personal dating app often dubbed the “Tinder of Southeast Asia”. Since then, Paktor has expanded beyond the shores of Singapore and launched its own offline dating service GaiGai.

M17 said Paktor serves its Taiwan, Singapore and South Korea markets while Goodnight serves the Taiwan market. Paktor has also offered offline matchmaking services in Singapore since May 2015 and in Taiwan since May 2015.

In March 2017, under a share swap agreement, all the existing shareholders of Paktor exchanged their respective shares, including all of the ordinary and preference shares, for equivalent classes of M17’s shares, making it the holding company of Paktor.

The total number of registered users on its dating applications grew to 14.6 million as of March 31, 2018 from 13.9 million and 11.0 million as of December 31, 2017 and 2016, respectively.

“We are in the process of integrating our live streaming platform into our online dating applications, and our integrated platform had 47.9 million registered users as of March 31, 2018, and 1.7 million average monthly active users in the three months ended,” the company said.

To further grow its business, M17 Entertainment said it will pursue several strategies, including growing in Japan and expanding into new markets, expanding content offerings to increase user engagement and loyalty, and reinventing traditional media in the markets it operates.

Paktor’s last funding round was in November 2016, when it raised $32.5 million from K2 Global and existing investor PT Media Nusantara Citra Tbk.(MNC Media Group), with further participation from new and existing investors. That had brought the total amount the company had raised to $57.5  million.

Post that round of funding, Paktor acquired Down, which was formerly branded as Bang With Friends (BWF). Financial terms of that acquisition were undisclosed. Subsequently, Paktor expanded its international footprint with the acquisition of three dating companies: Down, Inc. (USA), Goodnight (Taiwan) and Kickoff (Brazil).

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Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.