Match Group, a massive online dating conglomerate, acquired Hinge today in a deal that gives the company a 51 percent stake in the app. Hinge initially marketed itself as a more welcoming version of Tinder in which users could only see potential matches who shared a mutual Facebook friend. The company then redesigned its app to get rid of all swiping features and in its place let users build out full profile pages. Hinge users can answer three questions about themselves, connect their accounts to their Instagram, and also upload multiple photos, making the Hinge experience more like a full-fledged online dating site.
In a prepared quote, Mandy Ginsberg, CEO of Match Group, said, “Hinge is highly relevant particularly among urban, educated millennial women looking for relationships.” Acquiring the company essentially turns Match into a dating app behemoth that owns 45 brands, including Tinder, OkCupid, Match, and Plenty of Fish. The only notable dating app not owned by Match is Bumble, which was created by Tinder co-founder Whitney Wolfe Herd. (Match Group recently sued Bumble over alleged patent and trademark violations.)
Bumble specifically targets women, as the app’s entire experience is designed around making women feel empowered online. If Hinge really does have a strong female base of users, it would make sense that Match would want to more directly compete with Bumble for its users. Meanwhile, Facebook announced earlier this year that it’s working on its own dating feature that could rival Match’s user base size.