Grindr founder launches Motto, a new dating app aimed at less ‘transactional’ hookups

Motto dating app

Joel Simkhai, founder of Grindr, has launched a new gay and queer hookup app called Motto, designed to create better connections than those often found through hookup culture.

Motto launched in New York and Miami and is expected to be rolled out across other US cities soon. It is free and has a membership model, with all users needing to be verified to use it.

Users have to have at least three profile photos showing their face so, the makers said, “members will not see any blank profiles or headless torsos”. Users get a push notification each day with suggested profiles, then they can initiate conversations if they want to potentially match with the suggestions.

Motto examples
No headless torsos: Examples of Motto profile photos

Grindr recently announced George Arison, founder of used car sales site Shift Technologies, as its new CEO. The app has become a public listed company following a $2.1 billion deal with a Singapore-based acquisition group. Simkhai founded Grindr in 2009 and left the company in 2018.

Simkhai’s original company, which remains the market leading LGBTQ dating app, faced criticism for facilitating impersonable and sometimes potentially dangerous hookups. Simkhai and Alex Hostetler, his co-founder at Motto, said that the new venture would seek to create deeper, more thoughtfully arranged hookups.

“Grindr created a lot of positivity in the world,” said Simkhai. “It helped a lot of queer people find each other and gave people access they didn’t have before. That said, I am the first to admit the unintended consequences that came along with it.”

Motto examples 2
More example Motto profile photos

“We built Motto to address those issues, simplify the process of hooking up, and bring back the fun in finding someone you’re into. Motto should be just as positive for your mental health as it is for your sex life,” he added.

Hostetler said: “In many ways, Grindr defined hookup behavior and created a culture of immediate, transactional sex. That works well for some people, but our community is very diverse in its approach to hookups and casual dating.”

He added: “We created Motto to rethink that paradigm, to give people with different values another option.”

Read next: Grindr disappears from Chinese app stores amid Winter Olympics internet crackdown / Dating Appdates November 2022: Tinder uni hook-ups return, Hinge video verification, Plenty of Fish angles for relevance

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Jamie F
Jamie F

Jamie is a freelance writer, contributing to outlets such as The Guardian, The Times, The Telegraph, CNN and Vice, among others. He is also the creative force behind the Audible podcast Beast Master.

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