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Innovation & Job News

Hinge set to launch redesigned app, move office to 1776, and hire two

A new mobile app, Hinge, is hoping to change the way under-30s find their other halves. Co-creators Justin McLeod and Bennett Richardson created the app to let users peruse their friends' friends for possible dates. The pair beta tested a version of the app on Facebook in 2012, and will launch a redesigned mobile version Feb. 7, 2013.

Hinge was incubated in The Fort's first accelerator class, which both founders deemed valuable. "Our peers were excellent," McLeod states. "It's great to have someone going through the same challenges that you are," Richardson adds.

They are about to be surrounded by yet more like-minded peers; Hinge will move its offices to 1776, the new D.C. campus that will function as accelerator, classroom, and office space for the booming start-up community.

"We're really excited to be a part of it," Richardson says. "We'll be in the office space, and we'll be in the classroom as guest lecturers."

Hinge currently has a team of five; they will be hiring a developer and a dedicated grassroots event coordinator in the coming months.

Hinge is an app that presents a user — "Barney" —  with an image and some information about a mutual friend or potential match — we'll call her Robin. Then Barney is given the opportunity to rate Robin on a scale of 1 to 5. If Barney rates Robin a 4 or 5, she is added to his favorites list, and Hinge anonymously slips Barney's profile into Robin's next batch of potential matches. If Barney and Robin both rate each other a 4 or 5, they are introduced to each other via email.

And then, Richardson explains, "you have mutual friends in common, so there's no awkward, one-way interaction."

Although there have been a proliferation of dating sites in the past few years, Richardson and McLeod explain that Hinge was created for a younger clientele that uses mobile devices to connect to their world. "Match.com is for people ages 30–55," McLeod explains. "And OkCupid and Match aren't mobile. They are retrofitted for mobile, but they aren't mobile. Hinge is built for mobile."

Read more articles by Allyson Jacob.

Allyson Jacob is a writer originally hailing from Cincinnati, Ohio, and is the Innovation and Job News editor for Elevation DC. Her work has been featured in The Cincinnati Enquirer and Cincinnati CityBeat. Have a tip about a small business or start-up making waves inside the Beltway? Tell her here.
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