Dating App Hinge Making Cash by Differentiating itself from Tinder

Hinge
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We all know about dating app Tinder by now. It’s known less for its accuracy in matchmaking and more for its accessibility in meeting people anytime, anywhere – who are up for a brief fling or flirtatious chat. While Tinder is getting a lot of name recognition, another dating app called Hinge is slowly surfacing, city by city, taking the dating app world by storm and attracting a recent round of $4.5 million in venture capital money.

Why is Hinge getting so much attention (and money)? Because it is differentiating itself from Tinder in the most basic of ways. Hinge is focused on the quality of matches, which means instead of scrolling through endless photos and swiping left or right, the app finds a fixed number of matches for each user that they think suit you. Hinge is all about playing matchmaker. (It also doesn’t help Tinder that its CMO Justin Mateen was suspended recently for sexual harassment.)

Hinge matches people based on particular factors, namely profession, education history, and interests, as well who you’ve been interested in previously. What’s different about the dating app is that it’s not just pairing you with people from your circles with the same job or who went to the same college. Hinge looks for less obvious connections, like that Ivy League college alums like to intermingle, or that guys in finance like to date female lawyers. Plus, matches are all gained through your Facebook circles (friends of friends only), and you must have a Facebook friend who’s already on Hinge in order to join. It makes for a kind of exclusive club feeling.

Hinge started small in the D.C. area, but it’s iOS and Android userbase is up 300% this year in the nine cities it operates in: DC, Philadelphia, NYC, Boston, San Francisco, Chicago, Atlanta, Dallas, and L.A.

Hinge however isn’t focused solely on the dating game. They want to move in the direction of the so-called “social discovery” app, where they match people who could be friends based on interests.

The new $4.5 million round from Founders Fund and Lowercase Capital brings Hinge to $8.6 million in total funding. Right now, Hinge is free, but in order to be profitable for its investors the company is probably looking into adding premium services for a fee, or potentially licensing its technology, according to website Tech Crunch.

For now, it’s slow-growth approach and catered matchmaking are making it a big hit, especially among the more serious and discerning female daters. It will be interesting to see where it goes next.