Tinder is making a push into video with the acquisition of Wheel, a collaborative video messaging app that functions similarly to Snapchat’s “Live Stories” format.
A total of four Wheel employees, including cofounders Paul Boukadakis and Chris Shaheen, will join the Tinder team in West Hollywood. Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but Wheel has raised a total of $US3.2 million in VC funding to date, according to Pitchbook.
In an interview with Business Insider, Boukadakis said that discussions with Tinder began a few months ago when he showed the Wheel app to Tinder chairman Sean Rad.
“What we were doing with content was all about connecting a young demographic around creating content together,” he said. “There was a lot of synergy with what we were doing and what they were doing.”
Boukadakis, who will be Tinder’s VP of Special Initiatives, said that Wheel was designed to “lower the barrier for entry to content creation” and “make connecting more comfortable.”
Rather than facilitating messages between two people, Wheel collects videos around specific themes, like holidays or school trips, that can be added to by others. When the app was in beta last summer, high schoolers created a themed video story for Arnold Schwarzenegger impersonations that eventually caught the attention of Schwarzenegger himself, who then posted to the story.
There are many possibilities for a product like Wheel in Tinder, like video messaging tied to Tinder’s group matching feature, but Boukadakis wouldn’t elaborate on what’s coming next beyond “bringing people together to create.”
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