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Hinge the app backed by investors and validated by graph theory

There is a long history of mobile apps that have tried to help millennials date better. Apps like Tinder have tried to match people based on their location and a mutual interest in each other’s profile picture. While this may work for casual hookups this type of matching doesn’t deliver results that could create long lasting relationships. Hinge is breaking the mold of these hook up apps and wants to originate real relationships through the power of graph theory.

Hinge uses your mutual friends, shared interests, background, and location to feed a matching algorithm that “intelligently show people mates they’re likely to be compatible with” once a day. So unlike other dating apps that always have a constant stream of prospects, Hinge takes its time to deliver a personalized, vetted, and concise list of people you might be interested in. The matching algorithm uses concepts we’ve explored in Networks to deliver a great list of candidates.

The power of this matching algorithm is backed up by the concepts of triadic closure and local bridges. Triadic closure is the concept in graph theory where if a node has two strong ties to two other nodes than that implies that those two other nodes likely have a lot in common and would get along (if they were people). Hinge makes use of this by only recommending people that share a lot of friends with you, which are the strong ties in your social graph. The more mutual friends you have with the person the more “potential energy” exists in a graph theory sense, since you could complete more triadic closures, and the more likely that you two would enjoy each other. Hinge takes this a step further by taking into account where you went to school, where you work, and uses past successes (like matching female lawyers with male bankers) to find even more measures of similarity. By combing through these connections and attributes Hinge also has the opportunity to find local bridges between two groups that deliver a sense of “serendipity” and keep users coming back to the app.

Whether you believe you can find love through an app or not the users of Hinge seem to love the experience because 85% of people who download Hinge are active a week later and 75% a month later, which is much better than most mobile apps. With this validation Hinge was able to raise a $4 million series A round led by Great Oaks. It still has a long way to go before it can rival Tinder’s 3.5 million matches a day, but with any luck from the math backed by graph theory it will get there.


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