- Grindr is an LGBTQ+ dating app notorious for instant hookups.
- But Grindr says that about 25% of its users are also there to network.
- Grindr’s CEO says he developed professional relationships on the app, WSJ reports.
One of the first associations with Grindr, an LGBTQ+ dating app, that comes to mind for Omar Alexis is hookups.
“Hookups and dates probably,” Alexis, a 26-year-old consultant and content creator who used Grindr a few years ago, told Insider.
But Alexis said he was open-minded and found that it also had the potential to be a networking tool.
“According to data from a survey of Grindr users, approximately 25% of our users say that one of their key activities on Grindr is to network,” a company spokesperson wrote in an email to Insider. “We know people use our app to meet new people in their area and in new towns, and we also have plenty of anecdotal evidence of people making connections that lead to professional opportunities like jobs.”
In an article about how networkers are turning to dating apps, Grindr CEO George Arison told The Wall Street Journal he personally “hired or had a professional relationship with several people” he met over the years on the app.
“We encourage people to network on Grindr,” Arison told the newspaper.
Despite that encouragement, many of Grindr’s key features are geared toward instant hookups. Users can indicate whether they’re open to NSFW pictures or whether they’re a “top” or “bottom.” Perhaps even more obviously, users can indicate “Right Now” in their “I’m Looking For” filter.
Users also have the option to note that they’re looking for “Networking” opportunities. But Alexis told Insider that he felt many people didn’t know exactly what to use that filter for.
“I think it’s always been kind of a joke in the gay community about, quote-unquote, networking on Grindr, ” he said.
Alexis made a YouTube video in 2020 on how to do just that. Despite the app’s reputation, he believes there are opportunities to connect with people in other ways on Grindr, just like on any other dating app.
In the video, Alexis shares ways where you might be able to use the app for finding a roommate, meeting friends, and networking.
Alexis told Insider that he was able to find a fitness mentor and a freelance opportunity when he was on the app.
“Grindr is one of the ways that I’ve made a lot of friends in LA,” he said. “I feel like a lot of gay men make friends through Grindr in that way and to some degree, ‘network’ with the app without really the intention of networking.”
Grindr appears to want to preserve this type of organic connection that Alexis found while on the app.
A Grindr spokesperson said the company is not looking to build features that might specifically foster networking opportunities, such as Bumble’s Bumble Bizz, where people can show off their résumé and find professional connections.
“As users are already using the app in myriad ways, the features we look to build will likely support activities that are already happening on the app,” a spokesperson said, adding that more than half of users are looking for relationships. At the same time, “over 60% simply want to chat.”
Alexis is no longer on Grindr. But he believes that any platform — whether it’s X, Instagram, or a dating app — has the potential to create connections users might not initially expect.
“It holds true for any application — the unexpected emergent use cases that come through human interactions,” he said.