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Hinge CEO: Half of our users now video dating ‘out of necessity’

Melody Hahm
·West Coast Correspondent
·3 mins read

The stigma of online dating had been eroding prior to the coronavirus pandemic, and COVID-19 has further shattered so-called dating conventions. Social distancing has normalized jumping on FaceTime as a first date, according to the founder and CEO of dating app Hinge (MTCH) Justin McLeod.

“[Video dating] was something that very few people would try before the pandemic started and out of necessity now, about half of our users have been on a video date with someone. That is a really big and very fast change in culture. I think we were headed there eventually anyway, but we are seeing like a very swift move toward that. And people are enjoying it,” McLeod said in an interview on “The Final Round” Tuesday.

“Ninety percent of [our users] want to video date, that they enjoyed it and want to do it again and more than half of our users say they want to continue to do this after the pandemic because it's a great vibe check before you invest in going out with a person,” he added.

AUSTIN, TEXAS - MARCH 11: Justin McLeod, Founder and CEO of Hinge attends the Inc. Founders House on March 11, 2019 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Rick Kern/Getty Images for Inc)
AUSTIN, TEXAS - MARCH 11: Justin McLeod, Founder and CEO of Hinge attends the Inc. Founders House on March 11, 2019 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Rick Kern/Getty Images for Inc)

‘We are the only way a lot of people can meet’

Noting that the traditional methods of meeting people organically went out the window, apps like Hinge, which uses the tagline “designed to be deleted,” have been clear winners of 2020.

“Because people can't meet the way they usually do at gyms or bars or parties or weddings, we are the only way a lot of people can meet right now. In terms of user growth and revenue, it's been a pretty strong period for us,” said McLeod.

Match Group CEO Shar Dubey called out Hinge as a key growth and revenue driver during the company’s second-quarter earnings call in August.

“Traction at Hinge is accelerating, with strong top of the funnel growth, solid progress on monetization and a robust product roadmap ahead...In fact one of the pleasant surprises for us was Hinge turning profitable in Q2, which was well ahead of our expectations,” she said.

In addition to Hinge, Match Group’s portfolio includes poster child Tinder, Match.com, OKCupid, PlentyOfFish and Pairs. While the company does not break out Hinge’s user numbers, Morgan Stanley’s Lauren Cassel recently estimated that the brand has 5 million monthly active users and 400,000 paid subscribers.

Capitalizing on this growing momentum, Hinge announced a collaboration with meditation app Headspace on Tuesday. Ahead of World Mental Health Day on Oct. 10, Headspace crafted custom pre-date meditations that users can use to “keep a clear mind and be kinder to themselves as they prepare for dates and continue their dating journeys during this unique and challenging time.”

The meditations are intended to help users with their pre-date nerves, defeating negative self-chatter and self-doubt and boosting confidence.

Melody Hahm is Yahoo Finance’s West Coast correspondent, covering entrepreneurship, technology and culture. Follow her on Twitter @melodyhahm.

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