Why Gamers Love Working For Facebook Dating-App Developer SNAP Interactive


Photo: Vivian Giang – Business Insider

SNAP Interactive (STVI) launched its dating site AreYouInterested.com, as an app on Facebook in 2007 and became publicly traded in the same year.It’s currently the second-largest publicly traded Facebook app developer behind Zynga, with 55 million total installs and growing by approximately 40,000 new profiles daily.

The company’s Q3 2011 revenue of $5.1 million marked its 10th consecutive quarter of revenue growth, a 198% increase from the previous year. It’s also doubled its employees count within one year.

SNAP CEO Cliff Lerner came up with the idea while working at Lehman Brothers right around the time when online dating made a significant impact in the way young people dated. He soon brought on his brother, Darrell, and the two started the company together.

The Lerner brothers have created an office environment that inspires creativity: there are board games, toys, artistic projects, puzzles, riddles and video games. 

“People stay at work a lot later because of the toys. We hire people a lot quicker now,” says Darrell. “The people who come in for interviews, they always mention the atmosphere. It bonds people who might otherwise not interact with one another often. In that sense, it’s definitely brought the company closer. Our team’s given a lot of freedom as long as they show that they’re responsible in doing what they need to do.”


We arrived at SNAP's new location on 7th Ave. between 35th and 36th Streets

We headed to the 4th floor and were greeted by a flatscreen displaying photos of the staff

We spotted a picture of what the office used to look like

The staff kitchen is loaded with fruits, candies and sodas — anything to revive tired developers back to life

No need to choose between Coke or Pepsi here — there are lots of choices

Employees definitely have a presence at SNAP — they're literally all over the walls

The open space is meant to encourage communication and collaboration. Green was chosen for its calming effect

Brainstorming is very much encouraged here. Have an idea? No need for paper. Just go to the nearest wall

These round tables are located at the end of desk rows in case anyone needs more privacy for quick meetings

The boardrooms are named after courses from the game, Mario Kart 64. This conference room is Koopa Beach. The other two are named Choco Mountain and Rainbow Road.

Inside, the room comes equipped with a long, white dry erase board for more brainstorming ideas

On the other window of the boardroom are two video game characters: Mega Man and a Met.

Here's a telephone booth you can use if you need some private space for your conversation

It comes decked with a telephone, desk and comfortable-looking chair.

The developer team discusses some big stuff. Notice the Pez dispensers, actions figures and bobble heads

We're told the Nerf foam balls were cleaned up right before our visit since they usually end up all over the office's floor

Here's a lounge area that seems to double as a gaming room. Notice the Wii games underneath the glass table

A closer look at the gaming station

On the wall, a flatscreen shows a 3D visual of all the users currently online in real-time

On the other side of the game room, a ping pong table is being used for a game between founders Darrell and Cliff

On one wall, there is a dry-erase board that features SNAP's timeline. Big events are included and employees faces are cut out and pasted on to show when they joined the company

Oh snap, we spotted BI's Chart of the Day!

The timeline even included BI's Jay Yarow's profile of Cliff Lerner in July 2011

On another flatscreen, SNAP has its real-time stats displayed

Here's a world map showing people currently online using the app. The purple ones are male users and pink ones are female users

We love how everyone has their own personal designing styles at the own desks

HR manager Alicia Raymond is responsible for the Etsy designs on the walls throughout the office

Darrell proudly shows off his autographed RUSH plaque in his office

Jim Supple, SNAP's financial controller, is working hard in his office

How many techies does it take to build a Millennium Falcon (the principal fighter ship in Star Wars) made out of Lego pieces? Right before we left, we witnessed the team taking a break with their newly arrived toy — apparently, it's really hard to find — and Sinha proudly shows off what the finished product will look like.

Nazar Ivaniv, software engineer, has been with the company for nearly four years and shares with us his thoughts on the new office space:

Lead developer Mike Sherov has been with SNAP since Day 1

When Sherov first started with the company, he was working as a contractor and still had a position with another company. At the time, SNAP was located in the basement of a pasta factory. He shares with us his thoughts on the new space:

'The philosophy is open air. Some companies think you should have quiet spaces -- and I respect that -- but I find you have a lot more collaboration with open air. The CEO sits among us every day even though he has his own office.'

'The biggest thing with developers is that we sit in front of our computers for six hours, we go play a game of ping pong, we come back and the solution comes. It's like magic happens.'

It was a great visit, but it's time to head back out into the rain now. Cliff and Darrell bids us farewell

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