C-Suite talks HR: Jeronimo Folgueira, CEO of global dating giant

by HRD22 May 2018

Imagine working for a company whose entire philosophy was based on selling dreams and fulfilling hopes. Spark Networks is a leader in the world of online dating, boasting famous sites such as JDate, ChristianMingle and EliteSingles.

We caught up with CEO Jeronimo Folgueira, who revealed how company culture is affected by an empathic brand ethos, and explained why top talent is flocking to their ranks.

“We’ve had an eventful year,” he told us. “Affintas merged with Spark Networks and took on their name. As part of that we brought in two key brands, JDate and ChristianMingle. Those are really strong US brands, with JDate being one of the oldest and most prominent dating sites in action. Spark Networks, in the past, didn’t have many resources, meaning they were in decline. However, after taking over we started to ramp up marketing, launching some new campaigns, and so far, we’ve seen great results.”

The market for more selective dating sites is booming, as working professionals are increasingly turning to algorithms to help them find their soul mate.

“There’s a demand for specific niche brands, now more than ever,” added Folgueira. “Professionals are starting to realise the benefits of joining a dating site that caters to them, that has the same types of people on there, rather than opting for a generic one.

“We cater to specific demographics. EliteSingles, for example, is aimed at the growing number of highly lucrative young professionals who find it hard to find someone who will understand their busy lifestyle.”

And it seems that this charitable and passionate brand ethos has filtered down to Spark’s frontline culture. When we asked Folgueira about his company values, he enthused with pride.

“I would actually say that one the best attributes of our company is our employee culture. At Spark Networks, we have a culture that’s highly entrepreneurial, as we have a very young workforce. Our employees are full of energy, they’re incredibly passionate about what they do. In our sector, it comes with the territory that everyone needs to adapt and learn quickly, meaning we hire incredibly smart candidates who are up to the task. It’s a lovely place to work, and we work hard to maintain the brand’s values across the board.

“Being based in Berlin really helps – it’s a competitive cosmopolitan city with a lot of fresh young candidates from all across the world. It’s easy for us to attract talent here, ones with the right mind set and portfolio of skills.”

And when you think about it, the nature of a company, their USP, is bound to affect their corporate culture. We’d like to think that a business as dedicated to helping their customers as Spark’s is, would of course foster a healthy, happy and holistic culture.

“We’re selling dreams - we make people happy,” explained Folgueira. “We want to improve people’s lives by helping them find love, and this definitely has an impact on company culture. We’re all very aware of the important job we are doing, so it really is a happy and fulfilling place to work.

“We’re only focused on long-term relationships – so we like to invest in finding our customer’s ideal match. At Spark Networks, we’re not about ‘hook-ups’; we’re in it for the long-haul, both for our customers and our employees.”

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