How does Hinge work & make money? – In a nutshell

Company: Hinge (a subsidiary of Match Group)
Founders & CEO: Justin McLeod
Year founded: 2012
Headquarter: New York, New York
Number of Employees (2018): 18
Type: Private
Downloads (2018): 5.5 Million
Annual Revenue (2018): Estimated $5.2 Million

Products & Services: Mobile Dating App
Competitors: Tinder | Bumble | Hily | Clover | OkCupid | Coffee Meets Bagel | eHarmony || PlentyofFish

Did you know that an episode of the Amazon TV show, Modern Love, is based on Hinge founder Justin McLeod’s actual real-life love story?

About Hinge

Hinge is a mobile dating app that allows you to connect with people who are likely to be compatible with you. The app’s users have the ability to view profiles based on their dating preferences and ‘like’ profiles in order to match with them.

Hinge’s Target Users

Hinge’s focus as a brand is on meaningful, long-term relationships, not hookups.

Unlike competitor Tinder, Hinge’s mission is to help people actually find the person they want to end up with. In fact, the app’s slogan is “designed to be deleted.”

However, Hinge does align with Tinder in that it targets younger singles, which is where it sets itself apart from older competitors like eHarmony and (who recently acquired Hinge). Hinge replicates Tinder’s more modern and casual approach to dating apps, without the casual approach to dating itself.

According to Hinge’s website, “Hinge is where the next generation is going when they’re over dating games and ready to find meaningful connections.”

As such, the app is geared toward facilitating real conversations, creating profiles that allow people to truly get to know each other, and utilizing data to ensure successful dates. The company’s website even has recommendations from Hinge employees on the best places to go for a date, which shows how much the app prioritizes the quality – and not quantity – of the dates it facilitates.

Hinge App screenshot - how does hinge work and make money?
Image Source: Apple App Store | Hinge App

How does Hinge work?

  • Set up a profile
  • Like other users’ profiles
  • Start a conversation with your matches
  • Hopefully, go on a date

1. Set up your profile

To start using Hinge, you just download the app and create an account, either using your Facebook account or phone number. Then, you set up your profile by filling out both basic information, like age, height, education, etc., choosing photos to feature on your profile (Hinge requires members to have six photos or videos), setting your preferences, and filling out your prompts.

Hinge’s prompts are one of the app’s most fun and distinctive features. Users can choose three prompts from around 80 different options to feature on their profile. These prompts are meant to reveal unique aspects of your personality, such as “the dorkiest thing” about you or what award you should be nominated for.

Another cool feature of Hinge is ‘Deal breakers’ – when you set your preferences for profiles you would like to see, you can select which ones are “deal breakers,” and then you won’t see any profiles that don’t match that particular preference.

2. Start liking

After you’ve set up your own profile, you can start viewing and liking (or disliking) other people’s profiles in the ‘Discover’ part of the app.

In addition to liking a profile, you can also like and comment on specific parts of the profile, like a photo or prompt.

3. Chat with your matches

 When two people like each other on Hinge, you become a ‘match.’ Matches can start chatting right away and can send an unlimited number of messages to one another. The idea, of course, is that these messages will lead to a date.

Hinge goes the extra mile by following up with you to see if you did go on a date, how it went, and if you want a second date with that person. Hinge then uses that information to provide better recommendations for you going forward.

How does hinge work and make money?
Image Source: Apple App Store | Hinge App

How Hinge makes money?

  1. Freemium model
  2. Preferred Membership (in-app) Subscription

Hinge uses a tried and true method of earning revenue from mobile apps – the freemium model. The Hinge app is free to download and use, but members have the option to upgrade their membership for advanced features, including:

  • Unlimited number of likes
  • Ability to see everyone who likes you at one time
  • Access to additional filters, like whether someone uses drugs or wants children

Members can choose between a month-to-month, three months, or six-month subscription to become a Hinge Preferred Member.

Hinge preferred membership price structure.
Image Source:

Hinge’s recipe for success

Focusing on generating successful dates that lead to a long-term relationship may not be a great method for retaining customers. But, it has proven to be an effective strategy for acquiring more customers.

Hinge users who have found success with the app are likely to spread the word to their friends and family, which leads to fast growth in the app’s user base.

McLeod told Fast Company, “We’re making a bet that by being the most effective app, we will win the market in the long-term.”

There are some impressive stats to back up McLeod’s theory. For example, Hinge is now the fastest-growing dating app in the U.S., UK, Canada, and Australia. Hinge’s member base grew 4x in the last year alone, bringing the app’s downloads to a total of 5.5 million worldwide and generating $5.2 million in revenue in 2018.

Another sign of Hinge’s massive success: Match Group, a leader in the online dating industry, recently acquired the app in full after acquiring a 51% stake in the company the previous year.


Hinge’s business proposition – that it was “designed to be deleted” – may seem a little strange for an enterprise seeking to make a profit. However, the app’s highly successful journey and bright future seem to suggest that maybe the company is onto something.

Tell us what you think? Did you find this article interesting?                                                   
Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments section below.

Brianna Parker

Brianna Parker

She is a creative writer, corporate storyteller and global brand consultant, who has a unique combination of a business and creative mindset.

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