Tinder Buys Video-App Startup Wheel, Looking to Add Snapchat-Like Messaging

Tinder - Wheel - Paul Boukadakis
Courtesy of Tinder

Tinder wants to bring Snapchat-style video messaging to one of the world’s biggest dating apps.

Tinder announced an agreement to acquire Wheel, an L.A.-based startup whose app lets users share collaborative, video-based “stories.” With the deal, Tinder plans to weave in video features, promising a new way for lonely-hearts to make love connections.

Terms are not being disclosed. Wheel, founded as Ferris in 2015 (get it?), had raised $2 million led by Upfront Ventures’ Mark Suster with participation from Machinima founder Allen DeBevoise and other investors.

Wheel CEO Paul Boukadakis (above left) is joining Tinder as VP of special initiatives and CTO Chris Shaheen (above right) will step into a senior role on Tinder’s engineering team. Wheel’s two other co-founders, Joey Boukadakis and Brian Daugherty, also are joining Tinder, which has around 200 employees.

As of the end of 2016, Tinder reported 1.7 million paying users, more than doubling from 800,000 a year earlier. Tinder is part of Match Group — a collection of 45 dating services including Match, OkCupid and OurTime — which is majority-owned by Barry Diller’s IAC but is a separate, publicly traded entity. Match Group also operates the Princeton Review test-prep service.

“We are always exploring new ways to innovate while helping our users make connections on Tinder,” Brian Norgard, Tinder’s head of product and revenue, said in announcing the Wheel deal. “I’m excited Paul is joining our product team to drive special initiatives that leverage his experience connecting people around innovative content.”

Tinder launched in 2012 and acquired a reputation as a way to facilitate quick hookups. The app lets users “swipe right” if they find someone’s profile pic and interests appealing, and connecting the two for a private chat if the feeling is mutual.

The Tinder Plus service, which starts at $10 per month, offers enhanced features designed to boost a user’s matchmaking rate. Currently, the company says its app makes 26 million matches daily with more than 20 billion made to date.

Pictured above: Wheel co-founders Paul Boukadakis (left) and Chris Shaheen

Filed Under:

Want to read more articles like this one? SUBSCRIBE TO VARIETY TODAY.
Post A Comment 0

Leave a Reply

No Comments

Comments are moderated. They may be edited for clarity and reprinting in whole or in part in Variety publications.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

More Digital News from Variety

Loading