Hinge is a dating app which was founded in USA by Justin Mcleod. Beginning as a website in 2011 before Tinder had launched, Hinge has had a roller coaster of a journey. The company was rejuvenated in December 2014 with $12 million in funding and is now expanding across the globe aggressively. A couple of weeks ago, Hinge has launched in India and has opened up in Mumbai first.
At the core, Hinge is a more curated version of Tinder. Tinder connects people on the basis of proximity while Hinge is built on top of Facebook which means a person would only be able to see mutual friends and extensions from there. Their statement describes the app- "Hinge blends the best of meeting in the real world, with the power of social discovery. The result is an experience that feels much like meeting serendipitously through friends at a dinner party - but on your phone. A smarter, simpler way to connect with the people you might have eventually met through friends."
Using Facebook as the base to find people who are in your extended social network, Hinge uses social proximity to create matches, as opposed to geo-location. Next, Hinge takes that pool of people and curates daily potential connections - based on a person's behavioral preferences. And Hinge learns over time.
Founded by Justin, Hinge has Samir Kapadia as the International Operations head. The app claims to setup 35,500 dates a week in US only. "The application matches have helped translate into 1,500 relationships with its overall global presence in 29 markets in 2014. The application has also see a steep rise as it has grown 5 times its existing size in 2014 and have now targeted India as they look to foray into the Asia market," says Justin.
The launch in India was pretty high profile with folks like Zaheer Khan, Mandira Bedi, Ashish Shah, Riya Sen, etc. attending the event. "We have expanded globally and in India, we are launching with Mumbai after which we'd be going to Delhi, Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad, etc," says Samir.
With a growing demography of people in the 20-34 age group, India is a very big market for all the dating apps. Tinder has made its presence felt and has by far the maximum penetration but the likes of TrulyMadly (which comes from the founders of Makemytrip and Letsbuy) and Aisle are also getting good traction. There has been a flurry of activity with atleast 5 home bred dating apps that are trying to latch on to young India. Hinge comes in at this juncture and even though the market is just developing, it'll be a competitive space.
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