HotMale catches up with iPhone App, Grindr's CEO Joel Simkhai, in an exclusive interview.
You must get asked this all the time but what gave you the idea for Grindr?
The idea came about because I started getting frustrated with all the other dating websites and with the idea of “Why is location not a higher priority?” You can search based on city, but what about the guy that’s in the same room, building, or across the street? The technology to solve this issue wasn't available. Then the second generation iPhone came out in June 2008. Three major changes were announced — one was GPS, another was the App Store, and the last one was iPhone SDK which was the software language to write these apps in an easy way. These three innovations allowed us to create Grindr.
Where did you come up with the name?
Grindr was chosen to create an image of "grinding" people together, like a coffee grinder, in the way that the app helps meet people around them and "mixes" people together into new relationships. It is also partly a combo of the words ‘guy’ & ‘finder’.
Are you yourself registered on Grindr?
Yes, I have a Grindr profile. I use it all the time. I’m addicted.
Do you use it a lot to hook up?
I use Grindr to chat with guys around me and see where it goes from there. I've made lots of new friends, gone on some dates, and met some great people while traveling.
Are you single?
Yes, currently single.
Where do you live now?
I live in Los Angeles.
How many people are registered on Grindr around the world?
Grindr currently has over 1.4 millions users in 180 countries worldwide, even in countries like Fiji, Yemen, Iraq, and Djibouti. About 300,000 guys log on every day and spend about an hour and half using the app on average.
Did you have many problems with The strict Apple Terms and conditions when setting up the app?
We didn't have any problems. Our users understand that we are constantly reviewing and evolving our guidelines to ensure a comfortable environment for all our users and remain in compliance with all of Apple's guidelines.
Will Grindr ever become available online like Gaydar?
Anything is possible - right now we are focused on expanding to other mobile platforms, but if demand is high enough we are open to bringing Grindr to desktop computers. Anyone can submit a request for their device at www.moregrindr.com.
Will Grindr be available on any other device?
Grindr is currently available for iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. We are in the final stages of beta testing for BlackBerry devices, and Android users can sign up at www.moregrindr.com to receive the latest updates.
Any celebrities registered on Grindr?
If there are, it wouldn't be announced for privacy reasons – sorry.
Grindr was one of the first apps of its type on the iPhone, lots more have followed, why do you think Grindr has remained one of the most popular?
We feel that with Grindr we have created a helpful and easy to use application for gay men to find out the question everyone asks themselves - "who around me is like me"? We focus on ease of use and don't require any account sign-ups or a computer - you can just log on wherever you are and start chatting with guys nearby. Our user base is the largest all-male mobile social network in the world, and our users have helped us grow and remain successful through their word of mouth. The app is also universal and very intuitive - you don't need to speak English to use it. We have our fully operational free service and we also have a fully operational premium service called Grindr Xtra, with extra features like push notifications, profile swipe, no ad banners, and more guys viewable (200 vs. 100 in the free version).
You are originally from Israel. Were there any objections form your family or friends when setting up the app?
No, family and friends were very supportive during the development and release of the app.
What would be on your bucket list? Five ultimate things you would do before you died?
Invent the ability to teleport.
Invent a way for straights and lesbians find an easier way to meet people.
Learn to speak Spanish and Italian fluently.
If you were stuck in a lift for 6 hours, who would you want to be stuck in there with? Preferably celebrities!
Steve Jobs – He has made Grindr possible and is a huge inspiration for his ability to simplify the complex.
Any exciting new developments in the pipeline for Grindr?
We currently have several projects in the works based on the feedback we receive from our users at Grindr.com/suggest and through chatting with our users at parties. In future updates, new features will be added to evolve the Grindr experience, and we also are working on expanding Grindr to other mobile platforms. Stay tuned to Grindr.com and our Facebook page for the latest news and updates on development and releases.
Well thankyou very much Joel for this fabulous insight into the world of Grindr, we look forward to further developments with your product, all the best.
The HotMale Team