How Tinder
Got Their First Users

Tinder is a location-based app for dating and hookups through swipes and matches. Founded in 2012 (Los Angeles, CA).

Tinder's Headquarters

Tinder's early traction did not result from IAC's database (the same company who owns dating mega-company, but from the following growth hacks.

To solve the early chicken-egg problem they sent their pitch-team ("pretty/cool/successful women") all over the country to pitch Tinder to college sororities and make all the cool girls at the meetings install the app (to provide the "supply"). Then the pitch-team went to the corresponding brother fraternity - guys opened the app and saw all these cute girls they knew. The second challenge for Tinder was - users density.

Since the app is location-based, it’s of very little use without a sufficient quantity of potential matches. In a town with only 100 or so users, the fun would last one or two sessions at most before potential matches had been exhausted. This is where the collegiate Greek system played a pivotal, dual role in growth.

Not only was it a vibrant group of target users to efficiently seed supply from, but it also had existing dense networks to increase the number of people on the platform in one area locally and quickly. Ergo, Tinder used the same channel - they used the Greek system to both fuel supply and drive network density.

Tinder Party In The Hamptons, NY
Tinder Advertisement In Korea

Once Tinder had gained a sufficient user base thanks to word of mouth, adoption began to snowball from those centers thanks to the "network effect" - the more users Tinder got, the more valuable it became, and so even more people joined.

The final blow of the Tinder's early traction growth hacks was the high addictive UX (satisfying users' intellectual curiosity, softening the blow of rejection, identity verification, simplicity).

Sign up for updates

Subscribe for free with your email to receive lean hints and marketing insights!