Entrepreneur: “We have a 100% good product. You need to invest today.”
Investor: “Uha, any traction?”
Entrepreneur: “Minor, but we will grow exponentially.”
Investor: “Hmm, what’s your unique selling point?”
Entrepreneur: “Nothing; we are like Tinder but focused on serious relationships. The app is called ‘Let’s get engaged.’”
Investor: “Nobody wants that. I am out.”
Again, this conversation is a figment of my imagination. However, some elements are actual.
I was there when they pitched, and they were not impressive by any means.
But there is one person who thought otherwise. His name is Mr. Market. Now, Mr. Market controls who gets funded, acquired, and merged as well as who doesn’t.
Mr. Market has the final call and does not care about Warren Buffet’s or Elon Musk’s opinions.
Let me tell you the tale of this Match.com seller.
I was on my travels and encountered a pitch to a few investors of that person. I remember him having long hair and a non-impressive product.
He was creating a new Tinder focused on serious relationships and getting engaged.
Arranged marriages? What is this? 1750?
You’re thinking precisely like my imaginary investor at the start of this article. I do not blame you. However, I skipped a minor piece of information that holds the key to why his product was sold to the Match Group.
His market was the Arab region. The word culture and tradition rules the majority of those lands. This is a fact, no matter what you read in newspapers and social media.
Over there, culture is to be respected no matter what. The family has to approve of the husband. The husband has to provide. The wife has to be dedicated to that person, etc.
While becoming open-minded is growing in such nations, it’s still not the norm. Saudi Arabia, where women used not to have a say in who they married ten years ago, is becoming the partying center of the gulf.
You’d read about that in a Reuters article. However, you won’t read about the other 95% of the nation still following tradition.
This founder was aware of that.
Tinder — A hub of one-night stands
Having a tinder account in such nations is outrageously against the culture. However, the core of Tinder is not hooking people up. Instead, it connects them electronically seamlessly and effortlessly.
Take that from Tinder, add to it tradition, and you end up with this product — Harmonica (Now called Hawaya).
I was in talks with a friend recently, and I was pretty shocked when he told me, “*Oh, remember those guys who pitched a Tinder-Arabic alternative? Harmonica? Match Group invested and acquired a major stake in them.*”
Mr. Market does not care about your pitch deck.
What simply happened is that the market ruled their product essential and grew them. A small milestone after the other, they went from a low-key pitch to a Match group product.
What happened was that this entrepreneur went to cook his product after his pitch. No matter what investors said, their team kept working to turn their vision into a reality.
It’s not only them — MuzMatch? A Muslim Match App
Tinder is a wonderful product that went to the moon. However, people will not always be satisfied with the same product (unless it’s an iPhone… For now.)
Bumble came out of the blue due to the imperfections of Tinder. They also created a fantastic product and recently reached $765 million in revenue in 2021.
Then there is a startup named MuzMatch, which raised $10.9 million and just lost a lawsuit against Match group for using the word Match in their name. So now MuzMatch is called Muzz.
They are focused on Muslims. Here’s why this is smart.
If a person is strictly religious, Tinder does not work out. Similar to the example above of Saudi Arabia, tradition is connected to religion in such nations.
Hence, if a person is practicing religion, they’d know that in Islam, for example, women are not allowed to marry non-Muslim Men.
So, if you’re a strict Muslim woman, Tinder is not your best option. However, there is an app that does precisely this — link you with your fellow Muslim husband to chat, meet, and possibly get married. (You both know that from the first moment.)
This app has a perk in those nations — It’s not against tradition or religion.
That’s why I was not entirely surprised when the same friend told me that females approach males more frequently than the reverse on this app.
Gosh, that’s too much religious talk, even for me. Yet, the lesson here is an entrepreneurial one.
These two companies, Hawaya and Muzz, know their market more than you’ll ever do. This gives them an edge over any foreign investor.
Look around you and think
That’s mainly why you also know your environment more than anyone else. So you know whether a product like Muzz would work in your region and why it might not.
There is a single determining factor in any startup’s success. It’s not their investments or their team. The product could be as simple as a toilet seat, and your startup could become a unicorn. That factor is called Mr. Market, and you know him more than you think.