OPW INTERVIEW - Jan 16 - Eric’s story is similar to Joel’s at Grindr. He runs a gay dating app, and its doing quite well. Here’s his story. - Mark Brooks
How many users do you have now?
We’ve had more than a million registered users since we launched in 2010.
You’re MIT educated and you worked at Intel, Microsoft and Google. What led you to create the Scruff App and what’s your founding story?
It was the end of 2009 and I wanted to learn more about app development. I looked at the apps that were on the market at that point and I really wanted to do something different for the gay community. I partnered with my good friend Johnny and after some exploration we launched Scruff. In addition to Scruff being a dating/social app for the gay community we wanted to create a new kind of brand that people wouldn’t be embarrassed to say: “We met on Scruff”.
Are you going to launch a straight App?
Right now we’re happy with where we are so probably not any time in the near future.
You’ve replaced winks with woofs. How many woofs are people sending around the world?
Quite a lot. It’s a really easy way to interact with people in addition to chat. At this point we see more than 30 messages a second being sent over our platform.
How else is your service different from the likes of Grindr?
We’ve built a rich, multi-platform set of features. We’ve also thought a lot about different ways that people can interact with each other in addition to chat. For example; woofing, rate one another, see how you’ve been rated. We’re building a community around Scruff and Scruff is a group that encompasses lots of different types of people. It’s definitely resonated.
You’ve got a couple of paid subscriptions now. What do people get for the paid services and how much are they?
We’ve launched a premium version that includes Browsing Pro and Messaging Pro. One enables you to view more profiles and customize your grid to a greater degree. The other gives you an unlimited inbox and message history.
Are you profitable at this stage?
We have just become profitable.
Are you looking for funding?
No we’re not looking for funding right now. It was a challenge in the beginning but we got through it and now it’s really exciting for us.
Where are you going to be in a year’s time?
We've recently relocated back to Manhattan, which is really exciting! We're seeing great growth globally and hope to do more global travels. In the next year we have a lot of really cool features we are going to launch - more with albums, search filters and a lot of events. We hope to bring Johnny Scruff and our team to even more events around the country and the world.