A Brief History Of Tinder
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Sean Rad, the protagonist of our tale, is born in Los Angeles.
He starts school at the University of Southern California, where he studies Business Entrepreneurship.
There, he rekindles his childhood friendship with Justin Mateen. They had gone to private high school together growing up, but it’s in a Math class at USC where the two really hit it off.
Sean said their eyes met across the room. Sounds romantic.
His freshman year at USC, Sean starts his first company Orgoo, a unified communications platform.
Justin and Sean work on separate projects, but they often join forces to help each other out on their individual ventures.
In fact, Sean introduced Justin to the iPhone after years of using a BlackBerry. “I called him an old man,” said Rad, promising it would change Justin’s life. And it did.
Sean drops out of USC a few units short of graduating to focus on entrepreneurial pursuits.
Sean soon after launches Ad.ly, a celebrity endorsement platform.
But as soon as Ad.ly grows legs and learns to walk on its own, he decides to sell his stake because he gets tired of dealing with celebrities and advertisers all day long.
He joins Hatch Labs, an incubator based out of IAC.
By the way, Ad.ly is still a very healthy business, and recently merged with Nestivity.
Sean meets Jonathan Badeen at Hatch Labs and they begin work on Cardify, a location-based loyalty platform.
Hanging around with Justin one night, the three of them came up with the idea for Tinder and ditched Cardify plans entirely.
It was a big bet, considering those plans for Cardify were already in motion. But it paid off.
Xtreme Labs, a design firm based out of Toronto, was also contributing to HatchLabs and owned a stake in the incubator, and thus Tinder.
The app transforms the dating landscape, turning it into a game that could fit in your pocket and mimicks flirting in a bar.
Chamath Palihapitiya buys a majority stake in Xtreme Labs, thus owning a 10 percent stake in Tinder.
Tinder launches in the App Store, and the guys throw a kick-off party at USC.
Tinder targets college campuses first, with 90 percent of users ranging from the ages of 18 to 24.
Tinder for Android goes live.
Olympic snowboarder Jamie Anderson in an interview: “Tinder in the Olympic Village is next level”. The Olympics are dubbed “The Tinder Olympics” by the media.
By now, Tinder’s demographic has expanded to where only about 50 percent are in college, and the rest of the userbase is comprised of other ages.
Tinder hits one billion matches!
Tinder moves into a 10,000 square foot space in West Hollywood to accommodate a growing team.
IAC buys back Chamath Palihapitiya’s stake in Tinder.
Tinder grows to 40 employees.
Tinder hits 2 billion matches. (No, this is not a mistake. Yes, Tinder hit 1 billion matches four slides ago.)
After conquering online dating, Tinder now wants to make it easier for matches to communicate regularly. The app introduces Moments, which lets you share pictures with all your matches in one blast.
Trouble arises, as Tinder CMO Justin Mateen is suspended by the company, after it was sued for sexual harassment and sexual discrimination by VP of marketing Whitney Wolfe.
Sean Rad is demoted from CEO by Tinder’s parent company. However he remains with the company and serves as president, joining as a board member. The search for a new CEO begins.
Whitney Wolfe joins up with two other early Tinder employees, Chris Gulczynski and Sarah Mick to launch a direct competitor to Tinder called Bumble.
Tinder closes its first acquisition, an ephemeral messenger called Tappy.
Tinder launches Tinder Plus, the dating app’s first foray into freemium monetization. New features available with a subscription include the Rewind function, Passport and the removal of ads.
A decision is finally made on a new CEO for the still-growing dating app. Chris Payne, former head of eBay North America and formerly of Microsoft and Amazon, takes over as Tinder’s new CEO.
Tinder unveils its first ad in the form of a video promoting Budweiser’s next #Whatever, USA campaign.
Tinder appoints Hugh Williams, formerly of eBay and Microsoft, to lead the Tinder dev team as VP of Engineering.
Tinder goes through a small round of layoffs, saying goodbye to six members of the 60-65 member team, including three marketing employees and three engineers.