Hinge CEO Justin McLeod: Dating App's 'Match' Will Help it Grow

June 26, 2018
Updated 7mo ago

By: Madison Alworth

Millennial matchmaking app Hinge found itself a partner, handing over a big part of itself to digital dating conglomerate Match Group.

And for Hinge CEO Justin McLeod, it was a solid pairing.

"I think they are an excellent scaling partner for us," said McLeod in an interview with Cheddar Tuesday. "We really want to take that growth that we've seen mostly in big cities in the U.S. and really start to take that to the rest of the country and also abroad"

Hinge, founded in 2012, is available across the U.S., UK, Canada, Australia, and India. The company says it grew its active member base by around 400 percent last year.

Last week Match said it would take a 51 percent stake in the app, with an option to buy the rest of it down the road. It's the latest in a series of strategic grabs for the company, which owns more than 40 dating brands, including Tinder, OkCupid, and PlentyOfFish.

But according to McLeod, little will visibly change for Hinge users. He said what sets the app apart from the competition is the extra care Hinge takes in setting up potential couples.

"We don't view a match as the end of our responsibility, we really want to get people out on excellent first dates," he said.

And Hinge seems to be doing something right. According to McLeod, three out of four first dates arranged through the platform lead to second dates. And some matches are leading all the way to marriage. Hinge is reportedly the most mentioned, mobile-first dating app in the New York Times' Wedding section.

McLeod credits that success to a philosophy of saying no to swiping.

"We started as a swiping app back in 2013, and then in 2016 we rebooted the app and created a much more relationship-focused service," said McLeod.

By switching to a "liking" platform where users can leave comments on pictures or statements they enjoyed, Hinge is seeing more thought-out interactions and connections.

"On our platform you have to be much more thoughtful and intentioned in your actions."

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