Want To Meet Someone New? How Tinder Is Catching Fire, With Justin Mateen

Story by Benjamin F. Kuo


What's one of the hottest, fastest growing mobile apps out there out of a Southern California startup? No, not Snapchat--it's Tinder--a mobile app and service which lets users rate people nearby them, and if the feeling is mutual, connect them. The app has been extremely popular for dating, but co-founder and CMO Justin Mateen says it's more than dating, it's about meeting all sorts of new people. We caught up with Justin to learn more on why Tinder is taking off so quickly, and the company's goals.

For those who haven't used your app, describe Tinder?

Justin Mateen: Tinder brings to life the moment when you lock eyes with someone, and you know you need to know them. If the feeling is mutual, we tell you the good news, and introduce you.

How did Tinder come about?

Justin Mateen: The vision for Tinder, is about social discovery. We launched in the context of dating, but it's much more than that. There are plenty of other social networks out there, who do a good job of connecting you with your existing network of friends. But, there wasn't a platform out there dedicated and effective to meeting new people. That's what Tinder really is.

Your service seems to have become very popular, very quickly--why is that?

Justin Mateen: I think that we've found a way to reach a human emotion, and really touch on the fact that people have an innate desire to go out and meet new people. It's also been a couple of other things., We seeded it, obviously, with the right audience, and it's grown from the top down. We reached out to social influencers and other key people, and it's grown as a result of that. We've also kept it extremely simple, and it really reflects human interaction.

You mention it's more than dating--what do you mean by that?

Justin Mateen: Every day, humans interact, and it's more than dating. Sure, there are lots of people looking for that someone special to share their life with, but on the way to that, you are also creating lots of other relationships. You are making business relationships and new friendships constantly. That's why Tinder is much more than dating. You might interact with many other people, and you make new friends and relationships.

Is there any feature of the product which has made it so viral?

Justin Mateen: There's nothing inherently viral about the product. But, what is viral, is the positive experience within the platform. People are finding value in Tinder, and their Tinder experience, so they're sharing that news with friends. That's why we've been growing the way we have.

Do you have any idea how many people are actually going beyond the app and actually meeting in person?

Justin Mateen: We know that we've made over 150 million matches so far, and that there have been 7.5 billion profile ratings. In terms of meeting in person, we believe it's very high. We already know of more than fifty marriage proposals off tinder, and we're hearing stories constantly of people meeting and having very positive experiences.

There are a lot of mobile dating apps out there, and lots of competition. How do you differentiate?

Justin Mateen: It goes back to the roots and premise. It's not a dating application. It's a real life experience, and ultimately, whenever you can bulid that real life experience into something, it grows in a way you can't explain. We've taken measures to make it feel more like real life. Those key things are restricting conversations between two parties, until they have taken a mutual liking in each other. The second thing, we we've tied each Tinder account to each Facebook account for authentication. That keeps things honest, and keeps the content within Tinder clean. Finally, the third thing we do differently is onboarding. In order to make this easier, we connect into Facebook, extract your data, and do all the work for you and make recommendations, based on the information we have on you. There's no opportunity to lie, and represent yourself in a false manner.

You recently launched on Android. How has that gone?

Justin Mateen: We're very happy with our launch. We anticipated large numbers of downloads, and so far, we've seen a huge number of downloads in less than 48 hours. At one point yesterday we were getting so many downloads we started having problems with the signup process, and had to increase our bandwidth to fix it. That's all under control.

What's the business model behind Tinder?

Justin Mateen: Right now, we're focused on user growth and the user experience. We know, that as long as our product continues to resonate with our users, there will be plenty of ways to monetize down the line. The first way we'll monetize will likely be with in-app purchases. But, anything we do will only enhance the user experience. We are not looking at traditional advertising or subscription models at this point.

What's your big goal with Tinder?

Justin Mateen: I want Tinder to be the go-to place for that moment when you want to meet someone new. Whenever you have an urge to meet a new person, for any purposes--whether that is for a friendship, for business, for a relationship, or even for an activity partner, we want you to turn to Tinder to help you find that person, in a really short period.