Bandeka: Africa’s Professional Dating Site Gains Momentum
An online invite-only professional dating network created by Yaw Boateng and Tunde Kehinde is gaining attention even though new weekly sign-ups have slowed. During the first months of Bandeka’s launch, 80-100 users were creating profiles per week. Now, in regards to numbers, Boateng says Bandeka has reached a comfortable peak.
“There is no real rush to make revenue-generation the main driver of our activities,” he told Ventures Africa. “Bandeka is currently rethinking how we sharpen our focus and create a more compelling value proposition for our current and potential users. Once that’s done and it’s clearer what we do, we’ll more aggressively go after revenues.”
Both founders were educated at Harvard Business School. Kehinde has built a career in management consulting while Boateng ventured into investment banking — he’s co-founder of a Ghanaian payroll consumer lending business, Ventures Africa reported in a profile. So, Bandeka’s operators know a thing or two about money. Though with this site, creating the best experience in the top priority.
Bandeka is an adaptation of the Swahili word for connect,’bandika.’ The site’s goal is to create networking opportunities for young entrepreneurs and professionals across Africa and within the Diaspora looking to establish romantic and business relationships, according to Ventures Africa.
“It is difficult for well-educated Africans to meet – balancing our busy schedules with our desire to meet and date Africans we may like, usually means using traditional social platforms, offline social venues and pure chance. These limit our options to meet new folks outside our immediate circles,” Boateng said in the profile.
The differentiation of the online community is rooted in the way members meet.
“What’s even more unique is the regular, live Bandeka events we organize around the world, bringing folks who may have only met online, to chat face-to- face without the performance depressing pressure of a first date. So, in many ways, Bandeka is unlike any of the social networks out there,” he continued.
According to Ventures Africa, Boateng will be attending the wedding of Bandeka members who met an offline event in Boston. Many Bandeka users live in South Africa, Kenya, Ghana and mostly Nigeria. Popular cities in the U.S. and UK have attracted users as well.
“We have been a bit less active with new offerings over the last few months as we rethink what the value proposition should be, so we’ve started seeing less activity on the site,” Boateng said. “That bothers users and we’ve heard that feedback too – folks want new and more engaging additional offerings to keep them on the site for longer.”
The founders are now focused on creating those offerings that will take the site to the next level. Ventures Africa reported that Boateng and Kehinde are looking to revamp face-to-face meet up events which users seem to really enjoy. Other marketing and engagement strategies are in the works, but members will have to “stay tuned,” Boateng said.