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When online matchmaker et3arraf closed its second round of funding this week, CEO Cedric Maalouf was ecstatic.

The Arab “marriage-oriented” dating website attracted attention from angel investors and venture capital firms, and received term sheets from investors who weren’t even pitched.

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With a small marketing budget, the site soft-launched on Valentines Day 2013 with a goal to win 15,000 registered users. Without any advertising since April, et3arraf’s user-base has grown to 56,000.

It is most popular in Saudi Arabia and Egypt, followed by Jordan and Morocco.

Similar “logic that builds Amazon’s algorithm will be used to suggest other users,” explains Nimer.

Working with Zahi Karam, an MIT-trained electrical engineer, they expect that the new function will be finalized by mid 2014.

Nimer needs more data to prove it, but says interactions between men and women on the site often seem to mimic real life in the Middle East.

“Men will take the initiative of sending messages for many women, while a woman will be waiting for messages to answer,” says Maalouf.

“I came back to Lebanon and I had the idea that it is really important to find someone that is close to your values, your principles and what you stand for,” he explains.

“I realized that there was nothing like this for Lebanon or the region.

Inspired by e Harmony and Match.com, but frustrated by the questions those sites ask users, Maalouf and Nimer worked with a Lebanese psychologist to create a personality quiz tailored to Arab cultural concerns.

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