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Grindr’s New Feature “Roam” Connects Users Around the Globe

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Photo: Delstudio, via Dreamstime

Grindr is slowly rolling out a new feature to assist users with upcoming travel plans with hopes to eventually introduce other features that will connect users to LGBTQ-friendly services. 

The company’s CEO George Arison told Axios in an exclusive interview that the location-based queer dating app is currently testing “Roam,” a feature that allows users to temporarily place their profile in a location ahead of a trip. That way, they can chat with locals to arrange potential meet-ups or crowdsource places to eat, shop, or sightsee.

“Roam” appears to be similar to “Venture,” a feature that has existed for years on Scruff, another queer dating app.

“For decades, the global LGBTQ+ community has physically connected in cities around the world, creating hubs, or Gayborhoods, for local gay, bi, trans, and queer people to freely express themselves, enjoy a sense of safety and intimacy, and foster community through spaces created specifically for us,” Arison wrote in a post for Grindr’s blog on April 16.

“However, not all of us are able to access a physical Gayborhood,” he noted. “Today, we unveiled our vision to build the global Gayborhood into Grindr, empowering you and our millions of other users to digitally access resources and information for the global LGTBQ+ community, all in the app. By expanding Grindr to serve as the digital Gayborhood, we are bringing a crucial form of community, rich in information and connection, to you on your phone.”

Arison teased additional features that will eventually be incorporated into Grindr, promising that such features would “bring the Global Gayborhood to your pocket.”

“Whether you are looking for casual interactions or seeking longer-term connections, the Gayborhood will have features for you to find what and who you are looking for,” he wrote.

Arison told Axios he eventually wants Grindr to connect its users to services in their area — restaurants, fitness centers, health professionals — that would carry a “Grindr seal of approval.”

He said the app also plans to introduce more options to differentiate profiles and allow users to search the app for profiles meeting specific criteria.

As an example, he noted that someone looking for friends in a new city would be able to filter their options rather than wading through users only using the app to find sexual encounters.

The app changes and additional features are currently being tested in several markets, with the aim of launching them later this year.

Grindr has approximately 13 million monthly active users worldwide, and a market capitalization of around $1.8 billon. Arison said Grindr’s growth markets are Latin America and Asia, but added that, in the United States, nearly 30% of Gen Z adults identify as queer. As such, the company hopes to capitalize on that potential market of new users.

Arison said that Grindr is more likely to “build curated experiences for our users in the top LGBTQ cities than to create our own accommodation service.”

In the future, he noted that artificial intelligence, or AI, would eventually be incorporated into the app, which he said would “fundamentally change how dating will be done, creating better ways of making connections — and our users will decide exactly how.”

He added, “We need to lead them there, through the opportunity to participate in piloting features, and giving users a clear choice of whether they want to use this technology.”


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