A brief introduction about the platform, business, founders and team.
About Hinge: Stop swiping strangers and find something real. The Hinge is where a new generation of daters find relationships. We make it easier to meet someone the old-fashioned way: through your friends.
How it Works: Unlike apps that show you any random nearby, The Hinge shows only people in your social circles. It’s a smarter way to meet the people your friends know but haven’t introduced you to yet.
Cut the Clutter: Meet people in your extended social network. No randoms.
Cut the Creeps: Profiles that show full names, work and friends in common. No, catfish.
Cut the Games: Intros to people you’ll actually feel comfortable meeting IRL. Not just swiping.
Justin McLeod is founder and CEO of Hinge, the relationship app that helps you meet through friends. He grew up in Louisville, KY and studied at Colgate University. After a few years in management consulting, Justin attended Harvard Business School and decided to follow his passion for connecting people. He founded Hinge in February 2011 and launched the current mobile app in February 2013.
Whom do we cater to?
Hinge users are 99% college educated, 90% are between 23-36. Most popular industries include banking, consulting, media and fashion. Hinge’s active user base grew 5X last year, and in major markets 10% of young professionals use the app. The Hinge is live in 38 cities total (34 domestic, 4 international – London, Toronto, Sydney and Mumbai), and 99% of downloads are coming from word-of-mouth.
What do we offer to our consumers?
The Hinge is where relationships start. We’ll help you meet someone the old-fashioned way: through your friends. Hinge cuts the clutter, the creeps and the games. So you can stop swiping strangers, and find something real.
What motivated us to start up?
Our CEO was never interested in joining a traditional dating website. The whole thing felt forced and unnatural to him. After graduating from Business School, looking to meet new people, Justin McLeod wanted an easier way to meet people through his existing network. Because in the real world, there were only so many house parties, dinners and weddings to actually meet his friends’ friends. Hinge solves that, as a smarter, simpler way to connect you with the people you might have eventually met through friends.
What’s in a name?
A hinge is what two things have in common. A joint that brings them together. When we help users match through their friends, that’s exactly what we’re doing.
How do we see Social Media?
Hinge strongly believes in the power of social, it’s extremely important to what we do. We’ve found that you only ever meet 3% of your friends’ friends. By leveraging mobile and big data, Hinge helps you meet all the people your friends know but haven’t had the chance to introduce you.
Currently we are..
The Hinge has successfully launched in 34 domestic markets and 4 international: London, Toronto, Mumbai and Sydney. The Hinge has worked to build a user base of college educated young professionals who live in major cities. So far, Hinge users are 99% college educated and 90% are between the ages 23-36. Further, the average user has roughly 50 friends on Hinge and the active user base grew 5X in 2014.
So far we’ve had over 100K conversations started on Hinge and over 8K people have gone on dates. And we continue to grow. Just last week we had 105k sessions in Mumbai.
Our biggest challenge was..
In the original version of The Hinge we failed to realize how important mobile (being able to date on your phone) was to this new generation of online daters. We had built a website, not an app. In early 2013, we only had $30k left in the bank and numbers were down. We were about to fail. Our team quickly pivoted and built an app. We threw our remaining funds into a massive launch party to introduce a user to the new product. That party got Hinge off the ground and jumpstarted growth.
We want to dominate the world by..
Our growth is a 100% organic once we’ve been in the market for two months. So, first when we enter a market we spend some money on advertising and a launch event and after two months, the growth is a 100% word-of-mouth, not just people sharing it through the app, but being out with friends in real life and telling them about it.
We’re making moolah by…
We can’t reveal that yet, but we can certainly share that we’re working on a number of new features that will lead the industry. Our expertise goes beyond our in-house bench as we have a number of investors that guide as along the way.
The Hinge has attracted over $21M in funding from investors such as Shasta Ventures, FoundersFund, Lowercase Capital, Social+ Capital, Great Oaks, Slow Ventures and Red Swan. Peter Thiel is Founding Partner of Founders Fund. Sean Parker is Partner at both Founders Fund and Slow Ventures.
Our What The **** Moment
Our craziest moment as a team was again back in early 2013 when we threw our remaining funds into a massive launch party to introduce users to the new product. That launch party was risky and bold, but it got Hinge off the ground and jumpstarted growth.
Industry as we foresee
We’ve taken a lot of time to understand the Indian market and the response to Hinge has been great. Two things were abundantly clear; one, Indians are fed up with geolocation-based matching – meeting random strangers nearby, and two, global apps do better.
People still want to meet someone through mutual friends, but you’ll only meet 3% of your friends’ friends naturally. We’re providing that opportunity to seamlessly expand your social network, and the Indian market really likes that. The reality is this – the power of social connections and personal relationships are much more about the culture in India than it is in the United States. The Hinge is tailor made to this market and it’s taking off. We’re planning on launching in Bangalore this September.
Lastly, Are you hiring?