A team of former Tinder executives, led by the dating app’s former chief technology officer, today launched an app that brings the same swipe right/swipe left sensibility to professional networking.
The app is called Ripple, and it aims to be an antidote to the more staid experience of Microsoft’s LinkedIn.
Chief Executive Ryan Ogle talked — without a hint of awareness of the sexual harassment scandal roiling American workplaces — about how he and the Ripple team applied their learnings about how to connect people from their work on the dating app.
“In the early days at Tinder, one of the things we talked about [was] that the whole discovery of new people was a big problem,” Ogle said in a launch-day press conference at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. “Before Tinder was a very specific dating app, we talked about it not being dating at all. We talked about it being social discovery.”
Like Tinder, the Ripple app is rooted in big, colorful profile photos. Other professional information — such as job history, skills, education, mutual connections, and events attending — is tucked away behind icons, below the image.
Users in search of a business connections swipe right (for a match!) or left (not so much) to connect.
To minimize what Ogle referred to as the “pursuer/pursuee” problem — “I’m a beautiful woman in L.A. and lots of people are trying to meet me” — the individual user approves each connection request, a so-called “double opt-in.”
There are other features designed to make Ripple more dynamic and useful than its established counterpart — such as the ability to find professional connections nearby or a way to create events or groups for people with similar interests.
Ripple also uses “relevance” to introduce us to individuals who might be valuable to our professional goals — not just a salesperson looking to sell you a service.
But here’s one feature that’s bound to raise hackles: a “face scan” that allows you to aim your smartphone at someone’s face, snap a photo and attempt to find that person on Ripple.
Ogle pitched this as a livelier alternative to the old-fashioned exchanging of business cards, though it’s bound to raise privacy concerns.