In an exclusive interview with Salaam Gateway, Shahzad Younas, CEO and founder of Muzz, believes despite the legal loss, the rebranding and new app will benefit the Muslim-focused tech firm.
London: UK-based Muslim dating and marriage app Muzmatch has rebranded to Muzz and unveiled a new app following last month’s loss in a trademark infringement lawsuit against US-based Match Group in the UK patent courts.
“Muzz is simple. It’s catchy; it’s memorable. More importantly, it is a powerful brand as we look beyond solely Muslim dating/marriage. It was actually fairly obvious what the new brand would be – and is something we had mentally explored over two years ago. If anything, losing the legal case merely sped up our plans,” he said.
Among the features in the new app are voice and video profiles as well as better search filters. Younas highlighted the firm has made hundreds of small improvements throughout the app, adding it had already removed the app’s swiping gesture.
Muzmatch began trading in 2011 and was officially launched in 2015. However, last month the company lost its legal battle against Nasdaq-listed Match in the UK Intellectual Property and Enterprise Court (IPEC).
Match’s portfolio includes Tinder, Hinge and OkCupid and the company filed its lawsuit against Muzmatch in late 2021. The case included a two-day court hearing in January from both parties.
Younas plans to file an application to appeal later this month and said any damages to Match regarding trademark infringement would be formalised in the post-appeal period. The UK’s IPEC lawsuit was not the first time Match had lobbied legal action against the Muslim-focused tech firm.
In March 2021 Match filed a suit in the US (Waco/Texas) alleging patent infringement against Muzmatch. Both parties settled in October 2021 and Muzmatch made subsequent changes to its app in November that year.
Younas said the rebrand and new app, launched on 5 May, had already received a warm reception.
“We’ve had record downloads/signups and activity on the new app … it marks a new chapter in our journey and I’ve been personally overwhelmed with the messages,” he said, adding it was important to defend the product against larger conglomerates.
“(Unfortunately), the bigger we get, the more successful we get, the bigger conglomerates will go after us by any means necessary,” he said. “It is a sad reality of the capitalist model. Thankfully we have built a solid business and have the resources to fight such attempts.”
Backed by a $9 million seed and series A investment from a range of Silicon Valley and global investors, Younas said the company would not change its shareholder structure nor was it “in a rush to secure new financing”.
“We will seek to raise (capital) as and when necessary. We’ve run the business in a disciplined manner and hence have the funds to get through this rebrand and implications of losing the case,” he said.
Since its 2015 launch, the company has experienced impressive growth and claims to have more than 6 million members globally. It has a presence in the UK, USA, Canada, France, Germany, Saudi Arabia, Bangladesh, Pakistan, India, Indonesia, Malaysia and Turkey and claims to have led to over 200,000 successes.
Younas said he was keen to build on this growth and help Muslims find their spouses. Looking to the next five years, he questioned how the business could help Muslims globally not only find their partners, but become the place where Muslims met.
“The app is already global (15 languages) with global users and revenue. We’ll be looking to continue the fast pace of growth.”
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