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Your Next Date May Hinge On this Startup

"Hinge"

Justin McLeod of Hinge. (Luis Gomez Photos)

From Nick Barron. Follow him on Twitter @nbarron; email him at nick[AT]borderstan.com.

Do you trust your friends to proactively hook you up with someone you should meet?

With Hinge, you don’t have to.

A Facebook application that, in the words of founder and Borderstan resident Justin McLeod, “helps you privately meet dates within your social network.”

McLeod’s inspiration for Hinge came after Facebook friending a girl he thought was a good match for him, and with whom he shared a business school class. He discovered they shared common Facebook friends, none of whom had connected the dots and introduced McLeod and his classmate to each other.

It’s the use of Facebook’s social graph, the social network’s web of members, to connect friends of friends for dating that’s the goal of Hinge.

“We learn your tastes by you rating and answering questions about your current Facebook friends, then we search through your friends of friends to suggest your most compatible matches,” McLeod said.

Hinge isn’t online dating, though. It’s a game, and you can play whether you’re single or not.

“Taken folks can play as matchmakers and help improve their friends’ matches,” McLeod said.

After graduating from Harvard Business School, and meeting a girl his friends should have introduced him to, McLeod started working on Hinge. He mapped out the app, hired developers to build a prototype, and raised money last winter.

Hinge now has three full-time staff, McLeod, his co-founder Bennett Richardson and a lead engineer, AJ Bonhomme.

“We take our work seriously, but we don’t take ourselves too seriously,” McLeod said.

Team Hinge works out of The Fort, a startup accelerator in downtown DC.

Hinge is a player in DC’s much talked about tech startup scene, a community that’s more supportive than cutthroat.

“Everyone in DC wants everyone else in DC to succeed, and most fellow founders are always ready to do you a favor whenever you need a hand,” McLeod said.

Not much unlike, perhaps, Hinge lending a hand in helping you find a date.

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This post was written by:

- who has written 29 posts on Borderstan.

Barron, a Borderstan resident since 2009, profiles local entrepreneurs and startups. He also writes about ideas and thinking big at NickBarron.co. He is working on an essay exploring evangelical Christianity’s impact on his life, and serves as an Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner. He likes baseball, quiet time and “Mad Men.” Follow him on Twitter @nbarron. Email him at nick[AT]borderstan.com.

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