The future of dating is online, and Facebook-driven dating site Hinge just secured a solid future through a $12 million Series A.
Hinge, which draws users’ potential match pool through mutual Facebook friends, announced Thursday it closed a Series A a round led by Shasta Ventures, a Silicon Valley firm that focuses on early-stage funding for consumer tech start ups. Early investors Lowercase, Great Oaks, Eniac and CAA Ventures also participated in the round, bringing Hinge’s total amount raised to $20 million.
Hinge, currently based in NYC, launched in Boston in August of 2013 and, in 2014, expanded their growth to bring the dating service to 24 new markets. The most recent cities introduced to Hinge include: Pittsburgh, Charlotte, Portland, Raleigh and Detroit, joining Boston, NYC, D.C. and more markets, where singles are fueling their dating lives on their phones.
This year, Hinge has grown five times its size in active users, and reports via a press release that 95 percent of its growth is happening through word of mouth. Since Hinge connects its users to potential love interests based on mutual friend groups, a lot of the app’s functionality rode on how many pools of Facebook friends would use the app. According to the latest data, the average Hinge user has 50 Facebook friends using the app, or about 10 percent of their total network.
It’s the social media spin on online dating that sets Hinge apart; while Tinder searches for singles in your area, Hinge makes connections through mutual friends (or acquaintances) – which is why the company believes it’s bringing “dating back to reality.”
In an official statement, Hinge CEO and founder Justin McLeod said “I was never interested in joining a traditional dating website. The whole thing felt forced and unnatural to me. We’ve created a smarter, simpler way to connect with the people you might have eventually met through friends.”
“We’re excited to have the support of Shasta and our other investors as we expand to a broader market and continue to focus on delivering a stand-out user experience,” he continued.
With the recent funding, the company announced it has plans to grow the development team, improve the app and launch in even more cities. Hinge also hired a VP of Engineering, Eric Bogs, who previously served as the director of engineering for Spotify’s social division.
The app has previously shown the ability to accept user feedback and adapt: After many users claimed receiving their potential matches for the day all at once was “overwhelming,” Hinge launched a new version that allowed matches to be released throughout the day, and also added more total matches per day. Once users receive their daily matches, they tap the checkmark or X options, accepting or rejecting the fellow user as a match. And if the feeling is mutual, users will receive an email telling them they have a mutual connection.
Here in Boston, the city’s singles have taken kindly to Hinge (which definitely has nothing to do with how difficult it is to meet new people). The company reported that the app grew twice as fast (116 percent faster) in Boston than it did in D.C., and that the number of users relative to market size is one-third higher (34 percent) than it was in New York over the same period of time.