Last week, we found out that Hinge will be relocating their headquarters from Washington, DC, to New York City. For CEO Justin McLeod, this decision boils down to one fact: the ecosystem for building a better Hinge is in New York.
“It’s not that DC isn’t supportive; they’re very supportive and that’s why we started there,” says McLeod. “It’s very nurturing and better than some of these other bigger ecosystems.”
DC has great ecosystems for specific markets like defense and education, he says, but the tech community support for consumer media is not so readily found there. And McLeod realized that he has been seeing Hinge as less of a tech company and more of a consumer media company recently.
“We’re a dating company that uses technology, just like a credit card company is a payment processing and lending company that uses technology,” says McLeod. “Once you discover product-market fit, you have less in common with small, scalable, tech-oriented startups.”
Pair that with the fact that the investment opportunities didn’t come from DC – almost all of Hinge’s investors are in New York – and you can understand the motivation. Additionally, New York will offer greater national and international amplification due to the proximity of press outlets, McLeod says.
So McLeod sees the move as necessary to accomplish his mission to disrupt the bigger dating companies, like OkCupid and Match.com, and the outdated models of dating they cling to.
“If you’re young and social, why do you need to spend all this time playing on this long profile?” asks McLeod.
Clearly the current user base agrees, as is signified by their excitement over the platform, even if the current version of Hinge is admittedly slow and not as dynamic as it could be. McLeod will rebuild it from the ground up, though, before all is said and done.
This dedication to building a better platform signifies that Hinge is maturing into a viable player in the market and can make some serious waves with their already-high user engagement. If the slow, initial product has such a dedicated following, imagine what a fully polished platform could accomplish.
McLeod finds the term “disruption” to be overused these days because most people are evolving a product and not disrupting the market, but he claims that Hinge is truly disruptive. Granted, they might not be on a lot of radars because of their size, but they are ready to enter the next level of play, move up the chain, and actually disrupt the old players.
“We want to take over,” says McLeod. “And frankly, as far as I’m concerned, put out of business OkCupid and Match.com.”