Get Paid to Play Matchmaker
Ponder is targeting the $80 billion market for referrals.
The company has created a “gamified” platform that enables users to connect their friends with job opportunities, business connections, and romantic interests.
Ponder has received over $1.6 million in funding from more than 40 investors, including MySpace co-founder Joe Abrams, and former CEO of JDate/Christian Mingle Michael Egan.
With its platform, Ponder is targeting three of the biggest referral-based industries: recruiting, business, and dating.
Other “matching” applications use algorithms to connect strangers. And referral-based platforms simply forward links to users.
Ponder, meanwhile, says its mission is “making referrals fun.”
The company’s first product targets the $5 billion online dating market. It’s a gaming application where users play “matchmaker” via a puzzle-type game. By dragging and dropping photos of friends over each other in the app, users can refer friends to other singles.
If the couple “likes” each other, they each pay $10 through the app to access the other’s profile. With this money, the matchmaker earns $10, while Ponder pockets the remaining $10. If the couple gets married, the matchmaker earns $1,000.
Ponder has 80,000 registered users for its dating app, with match rates 6x higher than competing platforms.
The company is developing a second product targeting the $11 billion market for job referrals. This platform is called Ponder Pro.
On this platform, users again play matchmaker, connecting LinkedIn contacts to job openings through a game-like experience. If the hiring manager and candidate “like” each other, the referrer earns $20 in special tokens and receives $1,500 if the candidate gets hired.
For each new hire, companies pay Ponder $3,000, 25% less than the $4,000 average cost to hire an employee according to Workable, a hiring software company.
Through this platform, Ponder has a partnership with Recruiter.com, a leading website serving the recruitment industry. This partnership gives Ponder access to 10 million job seekers and 15 million social media followers.
The company expects to launch Ponder Pro in July 2019.
Ponder’s third platform in development is for business referrals. With this, the company aims to become a social network for friends to help find trusted services, from baby sitters to music teachers.
A similar services platform, Angie’s List, was acquired in May 2017 by the parent company of HomeAdvisor for more than $500 million.
Ponder plans to launch this product, called “Ponder Biz,” in February 2020.
Ponder is led by a balanced team. Co-founder and CEO Manshu Agarwal is a former Wall Street investment banker, focusing on fundraising and M&A for small- and mid-cap technology companies. Co-founder and Chief Technology Officer (CTO) Chris Imani was a senior engineer at Qualcomm and served as CTO of Storybox, a social marketing platform.
Manshu has more than 20 years of experience leading corporations and startups.
He was previously Business Development Director for Synthetic Genomics, where he helped the biotech company launch two successful subsidiary businesses: a software platform for bioengineering and a water cleaning technology company.
He was a Wall Street investment banker, raising money and focusing on Mergers & Acquisitions for small- and mid-cap technology companies.
Manshu served as a strategy consultant for LEK, a global consulting firm, and Coca-Cola (NYSE: KO).
He earned a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Chemical Engineering from The University of Cambridge, and an MBA from Columbia Business School.
Chris has direct experience building and scaling social-centric platforms.
Prior to starting Ponder, he was Chief Technology Officer for Storybox, a social marketing company. While there, he built its platform and grew its daily user base to 4 million.
Before that, Chris was a software engineer for The Department of Motor Vehicles, where he restructured their websites to increase speed and security.
He formerly served as a senior software engineer for Qualcomm (NASDAQ: QCOM), and held the same position at The University of California at San Diego.
Dan previously co-founded Butter, a mobile app enabling users to make new friends outside their existing social circles. He grew the platform to more than 1.5 million downloads and 2 billion page views.
In addition, he co-founded SHEnetics, a technology company focused on improving communication between humans and artificial intelligence-based voice assistants.
For nearly three years, Dan has served as a mentor for Mucker Capital, a company investing in seed and pre-seed stage companies focused on technology.
He earned a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from UCLA.
Patrick has 16 years of design experience in the media and technology industries.
For six years, he was a UX Designer for Acumen Solutions, an IT management company. While there, he designed websites and mobile apps for multiple notable companies, including Hilton, Forbes, AP News, and the Golf Channel.
He studied Design and Applied Arts at Santa Rosa Junior College.