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Tinder’s new NY-based rival Hinge nets big new investment

Social discovery/matchmaking net­work Hinge has bagged a hand­some $4.5 mil­lion in new invest­ment, despite appar­ent­ly being a clone of Tin­der.

Struc­tured data not end­less swiping

The more dis­cern­ing social media man­agers who read this head­line will, of course, already be on the look­out for dis­tin­guish­ing fea­tures that make this New York start­up dis­tinct from its more estab­lished rival. And if those same social media man­agers exper­i­ment with both match­mak­ing apps they’ll quick­ly find it. Instead of swip­ing through seem­ing­ly lim­it­less queues of prospec­tive mates as in Tin­der, Hinge uses struc­tured data clues to cre­ate dai­ly “romance graphs.”

It’s not as blood­less and math­e­mat­i­cal as it sounds: Hinge effec­tive­ly gives its users a dai­ly set of tai­lored match­es based on para­me­ters like a user’s pro­fes­sion, inter­ests, edu­ca­tion his­to­ry and pre­vi­ous roman­tic “likes” from the past. And it’s cer­tain­ly gain­ing a good­ly amount of trac­tion, with its Android and iOS user­base up 300 per­cent this year across the nine cities it oper­ates in: NYC, Atlanta, Boston, Chica­go, Dal­las, LA and Wash­ing­ton, DC (the com­pa­ny relo­cat­ed from the lat­ter to NYC last year).

A big door opens

OK, so it’s still a lot small­er than Tin­der, which man­ages 850 mil­lion swipes and 10 mil­lion match­es every day. But social media man­agers with their radar tuned to the social grapevine will know that Tin­der is cur­rent­ly in the midst of a PR deba­cle, sus­pend­ing its CMO and co-founder Justin Mateen late last month in the wake of alle­ga­tions of sex­u­al harass­ment. Giv­en that the online dat­ing mar­ket is becom­ing glob­al, and Tin­der is expe­ri­enc­ing a sig­nif­i­cant wob­ble, a mas­sive oppor­tu­ni­ty is stand­ing right before Hinge.

The Hinge dat­ing app doesn’t just pair up friends-of-friends who sim­ply share the same job or the same col­lege back­ground. Pulling data from Face­book, it iden­ti­fies more sub­tle con­nec­tion para­me­ters, like the fact that Ivy League alums enjoy inter­min­gling, or that guys who spe­cial­ize in finance tend to have a roman­tic pref­er­ence for female lawyers! Did you know that? I cer­tain­ly didn’t.

There’s no need for those slight­ly excru­ci­at­ing eHar­mo­ny-style essays; users can just add a few extra tags about, say, their per­son­al­i­ty, their reli­gion, their eth­nic­i­ty, or their favorite dat­ing spots.

A big door has just opened for this start­up. We wish it well.

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