When last we heard from JSwipe, the Jewish dating company that takes a very Tinder’esque approach to matchmaking for millennial Jewish singles, it was running an Indiegogo campaign to fend off litigation from Spark Networks, the owner of Jewish dating oldhead, JDate.
Announced today, Spark Networks acquired Smooch Labs on October 14, the company that brought us JSwipe.
David Yarus, the founder of JSwipe, wrote in the merger’s press release, “In talking with the new management team at Spark it was clear that we share the same mission and our combined know-how will help us better serve the Jewish community into the future. Everyone at Smooch Labs is excited to join the Spark team, expand their capabilities, and work together to spark Jewish love across the world.” He repeated all this during a brief phone call with the Observer, saying, “We’re on the same page and we have the same goals.”
It’s a markedly different stance from his position when he wrote the Observer an email in August, saying, “The last thing I would ever want JSwipe to be compared to, associated with, or mistaken for, is JDate. We started JSwipe because millennial Jews were embarrassed to be on existing Jewish dating sites.”
The wrinkle here may be in how Mr. Yarus opens his statement, referring immediately to “the new management.” The Observer also spoke to Spark’s CEO, Michael Egan, during our previous reporting for this story. Litigation against Smooch Labs began under the prior CEO of Spark.
Mr. Egan’s statement from the release welcomed JSwipe into its suite of singles sites, which also include ChristianMingle, BlackSingles and SilverSingles, concluding, “Spark is now able to significantly build on its mission to strengthen the Jewish community through dating and marriage.”
JDate’s chief weapon against JSwipe had been a patent it controls on using computers for online dating. We did an explainer on it with lots of GIFs and a very funny video. We wrote then, that if JSwipe bent, it would likely be because it ran out of money before the case got to court, where it had a decent chance of winning.
That said, the release seems to suggest that JDate put somewhat generous terms in front of JSwipe, writing, “The purchase price will be recorded in Spark’s fourth quarter 2015 financial statements. The additional details of the transaction will be disclosed in the Form 8-K filed with the SEC.”
However well these two companies get along henceforth, the industry is making us all miserable.