Tinder acquires Wheel, an app for creating Snapchat-like video stories

Dating app Tinder is looking to get into video. The company announced today it’s acquiring an L.A.-based startup called Wheel, which had developed a social network for sharing “video stories” that were said to closely resemble Snapchat’s Stories. Deal terms were not revealed, but Tinder says that it will integrate video features into its app in the future.

Wheel was originally founded in 2015, when it was then called Ferris. The idea at the time was to offer a way for people to make mobile videos that were easy, fun and watchable, as well as to collaborate on videos with family and friends.

While Wheel offered some clever automation in terms of video editing, the ability to mix together videos with friends was its main focus. Users would make their own video public, then invite others to add to it.

The company had raised $2 million from Upfront Ventures in 2015, along with Machinima founder Allen DeBevoise and others.

However, Wheel did not became a breakout success. According to data from analytics firm App Annie, the app was ranked #574 in the Photo & Video category on the App Store, and didn’t place on either the Top Charts or the Social Networking section. Sensor Tower data shows the app had fewer than 5,000 downloads in total, with most being in the U.S.

Collaborative video apps have been tried numerous times, but it wasn’t until Snapchat that they gained much attention. Yet even Snapchat found the format wasn’t as popular as expected. Last fall, it laid off employees who were tasked with curating its collaborative “Live Stories” from cities around the world, as it shifted its focus to live events.

Following the acquisition, Wheel’s founding team will join Tinder, including CEO Paul Boukadakis, CTO Chris Shaheen, Joey Boukadakis and Brian Daugherty, according to Variety. Boukadakis will be VP of Special Initiatives at Tinder, and Shaheen will be a senior engineer.

Special Initiatives is a vague title. Asked for details, Boukadakis said: “It’s a new role at Tinder. I’m very involved with the product team, working closely with Brian Norgard, Tinder’s Head of Product and Revenue. I’ll also be interfacing regularly with the marketing team on select initiatives.”

“We are always exploring new ways to innovate while helping our users make connections on Tinder,” Brian Norgard, Head of Product and Revenue at Tinder, also said in a statement. “I’m excited Paul is joining our product team to drive special initiatives that leverage his experience connecting people around innovative content.”

Tinder did not share what specific plans it had for video, but it would make sense that the dating app would consider integrating video into user profiles, or perhaps messaging.

This is not Tinder’s first acquisition. The company acquired mobile messenger Tappy a couple of years prior, and it picked up Humin – an acqui-hire – just last year.