Thursday, November 16, 2006
Interview with Yoni Avital, MatchActivity
We ran into Yoni Avital, founder and CEO of MatchActivity (www.matchactivity.com), earlier this week, and we were intrigued by his new firm, which is developing an online dating/activity web site focused on connecting people through activities. The firm's site allows anyone to select an activity and invite anyone to meet, and is a new angle to online dating.
Ben Kuo: Tell us a bit about your site and what it does?
Yoni Avital: MatchActivity is a new approach where people can get together based on activities and shared interests. For example, if you want to see a specific movie, you can just post online and get people to join you. They send you an email and you can connect.
Ben Kuo: Where did you get the idea to start MatchActivity?
Yoni Avital: So this is a real story. What happened is two years ago my boss gave me two tickets to the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Then, I was introduced to someone but had never met her, but I went ahead and picked up the phone and said "I've never met you", but "do you want to go the Red Hot Chili peppers?" and she said "Sure, I'd love that!". Now, we're together, and we're getting married on June 14th. It's a true story.
Ben Kuo: Wow, congrats. So, how's MatchActivity funded and where are you in terms of launch?
Yoni Avital: Guy Kawasaki calls it bootstrapping, and it's exactly that. It's getting people involved, having them do things for almost free, and also friends and family who have helped me financially with about $200K of funding to bring the technology and create the company.
Ben Kuo: What's the background on the founders?
Yoni Avital: I have seven years of experience in creating online communities, specifically in creating online niche communities--specifically the Jewish community. I have been an inventor since I was sixteen, when I came up with my first invention. I'm a person that likes to improve things, and change things so that it is easier for people to relate to. That's all about MatchActivity, which is to change how people connect and meet online.
Ben Kuo: Where did people hear about your company?
Yoni Avital: Right now we have people migrating from other sites, who heard about us from friends, or from our events in Los Angeles. When funding comes, we'll be spreading our word nationally.
Ben Kuo: How is MatchActivity different than all of the other social networking and dating sites out there?
Yoni Avital: We are saving time for people, and believe we need to be more in the real world, rather than in the virtual world. Just go, post whatever you want to do, and meet people in real life. We make that first connection that much easier, that much more efficient.
Ben Kuo: Thanks!