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Tinder co-founder says company is aiming to monetize and wants to be a “meeting app”

It’s no secret that geolocation-based dating app Tinder has become the buzziest in what is estimated to be the $2 billion-plus “local mobile personals” industry, but how does it turn that momentum into tangible revenue? Onstage at Street Fight Summit West 2014 in San Francisco Tuesday, Tinder co-founder and VP of Product Jonathan Badeen (self-identified as the guy who invented the “swipe right” action in the app) discussed how the company is viewing its options for monetization and experimenting with expansion beyond helping singles find a love connection.

It’s no coincidence that Badeen shared the stage with Steve Levin, Head of Global Sales at gay dating app Grindr — the latter has already implemented a successful advertising platform, including banner ads, for the company’s 12 million users. While Tinder remains ad-free and is still in its user acquisition stage, Badeen said that the company is considering many advertising possibilities — from Grindr-like ads to freemium features and even an avenue for small businesses to advertise to newly matched couples.

“Right now, third-party integrations are not on the immediate timeline, but they would be at some point,” Badeen explained. “You’ve got local businesses all trying to get the attention of people who are looking to spend money in the local area. It would only make sense to tie them together.”

In addition to monetizing, Badeen said that the company’s team of 27 is also exploring ways to expand the service beyond hooking up singles. One of those avenues is providing services and incentives for couples who have met through Tinder — extending the app’s usefulness and curbing the desire to delete it once a relationship has been found. Badeen also said that he would like to see Tinder open up beyond its dating roots and become a more general platform that helps facilitate meeting new people for all sorts of intentions — not just for a hookup.

“We have the momentum and the name that once we do enter that market, we’ll be able to gain a lot of ground,” Badeen added. “I know I’d like to use it for events myself.”

I’ve said before that in order for Tinder to become the next banner company for mobile trends, it needs to solve the problems that come once the app’s novelty fades. While it’s no surprise that the company is thinking about the ways it can monetize, it will be interesting to see if it can expand beyond the dating industry and become a more general social network.

4 Responses to “Tinder co-founder says company is aiming to monetize and wants to be a “meeting app””

  1. Alexander S

    There is an App called Bleenka, which already has covered these ideas, clearly it does not have the same user traction as tinder

  2. Alex Broderick-Forster

    As someone who’s experienced success on Tinder, I really hope it’s not diluted by being transformed into a more general meet-up app. The beauty is in the simplicity and the intention behind every “swipe-to-the-right.”

    I’ve noticed some creative guerrilla marketing from a mobile food cart here in PDX. In place of a potential suitor I was greeted with a hand raising a burrito into the air and the cart’s namesake below it. By swiping right on everyone, they were able to take advantage of Tinder’s algorithm favoring matches on the top of the stack when refreshing the app. This means that they penetrated the male audience much higher than the female audience… wording is tricky there…

    Also, with a blind-ish date, it’s really nice to have something in common to talk about to ease into the experience. Tinder’s already great about posting little one-liners to bolster confidence in sending a message to someone you’ve matched with. Maybe they extend it further with monetized, location-based suggestions for meet-ups. They also have the benefit of matching strangers who typically favor meeting somewhere neutral over someone’s house.

    I smell a partnership with Yelp.

  3. They could charge for every time there is a physical meeting of their clients. Then they could charge again if the meeting was successful.(The two parties want to take it a step further)