Tinder DECODED: what does it take to find true love?

3 min read
October 31, 2016

We have no idea. But we do know how to reverse-engineer Tinder to see what it would take to rebuild the startup that monetizes love and lust.

You know what gives you great insight into what people are looking for? Their Google searches, to answer that quite literally.

And according to Google’s keyword planner, around 4 090 000 people monthly Google things related to the keyword love. Another 55 600 000 monthly searches revolve around sex, and another 2 740 000 queries involve dating.

tinder app decoded

It’s no wonder then that Tinder, that caters to all three of those, grew from a simple hot-or-not dating app to a 50 million active user strong startup unicorn.

Multiply that number of users with $27, their presumed average worth in business terms, and you get $1.35 billion, which is just how much Bank of America Merrill Lynch valued Tinder at, in 2015. It seems that dating is a pretty good industry to be in these days, doesn’t it?

It’s actually even better than you might think — not only is the market ever-hungry, it is also constantly growing, as the yearly Gallup research shows.

Now, aren’t you curious what it would take to rebuild a service like Tinder and get a piece of that market?

Handling the matches and mismatches

For the user, Tinder might be about the seemingly endless pool of potential dates, but on the developer side, there is a seemingly endless amount of data that needs to be handled.

Most of the dating apps, including Tinder, also have different algorithms that are behind suggesting your matches (there’s a pretty good TED talk about the mathematics behind them). All that and more takes place in the back-end, so don’t be surprised that this takes a big chunk of the development time

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Inside the apps

Now we get to the part users know and love! Some services have very different Android and iOS apps. A good example of that is Vine, which we decoded last week:

Tinder, however, treats all of its users the same and the apps are comparable—after all, we are all playing the same swiping game, regardless of our preferred OS.

The app estimate includes two modes, the original one and the Tinder Social feature, and all the bells and whistles you’re familiar with if you ever tried swiping left and right.

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What if I swipe right on the whole idea?

So, you’re ready to take on the dating market? You better go in prepared.

We’ve already established by now that the development of a brand new Tinder-like product would amount to 313 man-days (days an engineer spends on developing a certain feature or module).

At DECODE’s going rate of €400 a day, here’s the budget you’d need for development.

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Now let’s turn those man-days into an actual timeframe. If we put 2 developers on each iOS, Android and all the back-end and web work, you could have everything delivered in 3.5 months!

Ready to swipe right? ??

Written by

Mario Zderic

Co-founder and CTO

Mario makes every project run smoothly. A firm believer that people are DECODE’s most vital resource, he naturally grew into the role of People Operations Manager. Now, his encyclopaedic knowledge of every DECODEr’s role, and his expertise in all things tech, powers him to manage his huge range of responsibilities as COO. Part developer, and seemingly part therapist, Mario is always calm under pressure, which helps to maintain the office’s stress-free vibe. In fact, sitting and thinking is his main hobby. What’s more Zen than that?

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