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Sugar-daddy dating startup secures investment from mystery benefactor

Stephanie Palmer-Derrien /

Malaysia-based dating app Sugarbook, which matches prospective sugar babies with potential partners, has secured investment to fuel its next growth phase.

Perhaps aptly, however, neither the wealthy backer nor the sum of the investment has been disclosed, although Global Dating Insights has reported it’s a six-figure sum.

Sugarbook founder and chief executive Darren Chan confirmed in a LinkedIn post the startup has “secured investment from a Hong Kong investor with an investment banking background from one of HK’s largest VC firms”.

A graduate of RMIT University, Chan told Tech in Asia he started working on Sugarbook in 2017. The platform was released in 2017, but not without some controversy.

In February 2018, Today Singapore reported the police pledged to “keep a close eye” on the app and the individuals using it, looking out for any users trying to buy or sex sexual services.

But, in the recent Tech in Asia report, Chan said Sugarbook is “just a social networking platform”.

The platform allows sugar daddies (typically older wealthy people looking to date younger, good-looking partners for a fee) to match with sugar babies (the young partners looking for a little extra cash).

Both parties can state what they want out of a relationship, match with compatible partners, and message and share private photos, before agreeing whether to meet.

“I do not see the need for the authorities to be in touch  nor have they been in touch,” Chan said.

According to Chan, there are measures in place on the platform to try to ensure the safety of users. A team of 12 moderators are in place around the clock, scouting for any signs of users engaging in prostitution, or who may be exploiting others.

Users can also choose to prove their identity and undergo checks, to receive a ‘verified’ badge, meaning users can choose to only match with verified people.

According to Chan’s LinkedIn post, the funds will be used for product development and infrastructure, and to scale the platform, including expansion to three additional countries.

“Should there be other investors interested, I welcome the chance to discuss any possible fundraising arrangements,” he said.

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Stephanie Palmer-Derrien

Stephanie Palmer-Derrien is the editor at StartupSmart. You can contact her at [email protected]u.