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Why Hinge employees get a $200 dating stipend

·3 min read

Pete Buttigieg may have come in second in the New Hampshire primary, but he came out a winner on the online dating platform Hinge. The former South Bend, Indiana mayor met his husband Chasten on the app.

Looking for your future spouse? Hinge CEO Justin McLeod joined Yahoo Finance's "The Final Round" to discuss the state of the online dating industry, which McLeod knows about both personally and professionally. He also revealed some special employee perks for Hinge staffers.

Hinge was created out of heartbreak. McLeod had been dating a woman in college, but they broke up just before graduation. For eight years, McLeod tried to get her back — but she said no. Crestfallen, McLeod said he took the lessons he learned from his unrequited love to turn Hinge into “the app that’s meant to be deleted.” He eventually won his former girlfriend’s heart back, the two married, and their story is now featured an episode of Netflix’s “Modern Love.”

AUSTIN, TEXAS - MARCH 11: Justin McLeod, Founder and CEO of Hinge attends the Inc. Founders House on March 11, 2019 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Rick Kern/Getty Images for Inc)
AUSTIN, TEXAS - MARCH 11: Justin McLeod, Founder and CEO of Hinge attends the Inc. Founders House on March 11, 2019 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Rick Kern/Getty Images for Inc)

Hinge is now available across the U.S., U.K., Canada, Australia, and India, and boasts a 400% increase in active users in the last year, 99% of whom are college-educated. The majority of users — 90% — are between the ages of 23-36.

"I think in our space of targeted at our generation and people who are looking for something more intention, there really aren't that many to turn to. In fact, I would say Hinge is pretty much the only one that's sort of relevant to people who are 20 to 35 who are looking for that intention relationship," McLeod said.

Dating and relationships are at the heart of the company’s culture, McLeod said. Employees of Hinge enjoy perks that might make those working at other companies blush, including a $200 a month stipend to go on dates. “They’re encouraged to use the money to do something that they wouldn't have typically done without the $200,” he said.

McLeod, who just so happened to be celebrating his third wedding anniversary the day he appeared on Yahoo Finance, said even he uses the benefit for date nights with his spouse. “Yeah, we have date night every Thursday night,” he said.

So what’s next for Hinge? McLeod says he’s still focused on getting people dates, but said he can see the dating platform going beyond the initial meeting stage of a relationship.

"I think of us as experts in how to use technology to create more intimacy. … How do you have a great relationship once you've committed to someone? It is definitely an area that I could see us going into in the future."

Reggie Wade is a writer for Yahoo Finance. Follow him on Twitter at @ReggieWade.

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