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Threesome app CEO: 'Swiping is dead'

JP Mangalindan
·Chief Tech Correspondent
Source: Getty Images
Source: Getty Images

Dimo Trifonov, CEO of the threesome app Feeld, is disillusioned with the current state of dating apps, many of which feature the same tried-and-true finger-swiping gesture to approve or reject potential matches.

“Swiping is dead,” Trifonov told Yahoo Finance during an interview at London’s Unbound conference in December. “Many dating apps have the same approach to people with the same interface, but with different names.”

In reality, he contends swiping is merely a “temporary solution to a problem of digital overconsumption and messy, unstructured databases of things.”

Trifonov would know. The 26-year-old entrepreneur launched Feeld in 2014 to give “curious couples” a digital portal to explore the possibilities of threesomes in a welcoming, nonjudgmental environment.

Dimo Trifonov
Feeld CEO and founder Dimo Trifonov. Source: Dimo Trifonov

The app gained some notoriety not only for its mission but also for Tinder’s attempt to sue the startup to cease operations. Tinder is owned by Match.com (MTCH).

The rationale for the lawsuit? Feeld’s previous name, 3ndr, could be “pronounced ‘Thrinder’ to rhyme with ‘Tinder,’” according to a “letter before claim” issued by Tinder and obtained by Yahoo Finance last May.

So 3nder changed its name to Feeld in August, a move Trifonov argues hasn’t significantly affected its user base of 2 million or so individuals. But the glut of dating apps — from Bumble to OKCupid – spurred Trifonov to rethink how people engage with and navigate his app so it no longer involves simply swiping left or right.

“What we discovered is we cannot have the Tinder interface anymore because we have a limited amount of members,” Trifonov explained. “We are not like Tinder. We don’t have the [tens of] millions of users. We are like a boutique that you come to, and there is a limited amount of items. We need a smarter way.”

Trifonov plans on launching a completely revamped version of the Feeld app in February. Pictured is the current version. Source: Feeld

That’s why Trifonov and Feeld’s team of 15 are working behind-the-scenes to push out a new app experience in February that nukes the idea of swiping left or right, following in the footsteps of fellow dating app Hinge, which also got rid of the feature in an update this past October.

“We are also getting rid of the ‘judgment UI [user interface]’ of liking and disliking people, and introducing a more human way of connecting people,” teased Trifonov.

Feeld also plans on launching an entirely new, unnamed app in the spring focused on bringing people together for events.

“They are like secretive events,” explained Trifonov. “So every Friday around 5 [of] you get a message [that says] follow this direction. You receive messages saying you have to be there — like parties and restaurants — in one hour. We want to experiment with physical spaces, like painting a bench, a whole room, or even a bus stop, orange. You know that once you arrive at the location and someone else is there, they have the same mindset or similar interests.”

What transpires after people meet up and paint the town orange is, of course, up to those two (or three) consenting adults to decide.

JP Mangalindan is a senior correspondent for Yahoo Finance covering the intersection of tech and business. Follow him on Twitter or Facebook.

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