Joel Simkhai is the founder and former CEO of the Grindr and Blendr geosocial networking online dating apps. Grindr is geared towards gay, bi, trans and queer people who identify as masculine-of-center, whereas Blendr is aimed towards the general public.
In 2008, after Steve Jobs announced the second generation of iPhones with GPS and the ability to develop third-party apps, Jeel knew that he wanted to use that technology to meet guys.
“I’d already been thinking about easier ways to meet,” he told Número. “When I was living in Manhattan I would wonder about the guys who lived around my block, or the guys in the bar I went to – how do I meet them? I wanted to do something with that, really focused on proximity and location.”
Although Grindr is a free app, with 76 percent of its revenue comes from premium subscribers, according to WYNC Studios.
Once Grindr was sold to China’s Kunlun Group Limited, Joel left the company.
In comparison to Grindr, Blendr was designed to be less focused on casual sexual encounters.
“It’s much, much deeper than ‘hey, do you want to go on a date?’,” Joel told The Guardian in 2011. “It’s about finding new friends. It is very difficult to meet new people who are interested in the same things you are – Blendr will help solve the problem.”
Blendr users are required to enter information about their hobbies and interests, as a way to get to know new people.
“This is so we can blend you with people in your area who share your interests and are similar to you,” he explained. “We think these interests are the basis of how people form friendships. If you’re looking for someone to practice your German with, you can find other German speakers and have a chat right here, right now.”
Joel received his bachelor’s in international relations and economics from Tufts University.Tags: dating, LGBTQ+, social media