Newsmakers

Why Tinder CEO Believes His App Is Better than Real-Life First Impressions

Newsmakers

Despite 12 million matches a day, A-list celeb users like Katy Perry, and starting his own year-long relationship through the app, Sean Rad doesn’t believe Tinder is yet a success.

For the founder & CEO of the popular dating app, success is not only that “everyone who can use Tinder is on Tinder” but also “getting recurring life-altering value out of it.”

Seemingly impossible goals, but for now Rad does seem satisfied that his app has facilitated 2 billion matches since its founding about a year and a half ago. And in a given day, Tinder racks up 950 million swipes per day, when users go on their smartphones and swipe right in hopes of making a connection or swipe left to pass.

“If you look through Tinder, part of the reason that it’s fun is because it’s not just headshots,” he explained. “These are fun photos that people are using to express who they are. It’s sort of like that first impression but even better. I mean, if I see somebody walking down the street, all I really have is their body language, their look. But on Tinder, I have a photo that they choose to really tell me about themselves. And that’s, I think, a first impression but a little better.”

The app makes it easy to go through dozens of profiles in just minutes. That’s part of the reason why Tinder downloads are up 50 percent in Brazil, as World Cup revelers quickly seek to find new love interests in the vicinity.

But critics say that ease and the relatively little information on Tinder profiles – including photo, age, and general location – are why Tinder is known more for hooking up than finding a meaningful relationship.

“It’s just totally untrue,” said Rad, adding that he only hears the criticism in the media, not from actual users. “People are on Tinder to have fun and swipe through interesting content. What that match results in is really up to the user. Some people might want a short-term relationship, some people might want a long-term relationship … All we’re doing is making a connection between two people that we think should know each other.”

In fact, Rad said he has been invited to more weddings than he can ever attend in a lifetime.

Tinder’s newest feature is Moments, which Rad says allows users to deepen connections by sharing photos that give glimpses into their lives and hopefully spark a conversation. Rad stressed that Tinder is a way to connect, but not a substitute for real-life conversations or getting to know somebody in person.

“It’s about sort of breaking down the social barriers that we’ve developed over time that prevent us from meeting somebody new,” Rad said. “We’re building an experience that sort of breaks down the social norm and social barriers that we have to making a new friendship. And that’s very powerful.”

ABC News' Luis Yordán contributed to this episode.

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