OPW INTERVIEW - Sep 8 - Marie Yates would like to end the stigma around STD's and started Hift to help people with STDs connect. We've similar services such as Positive Singles but this is a new app for people to privately connect and converse, and meet. - Mark Brooks
Why did you start Hift? What's your founding story?
The idea for Hift came to me when a close friend was told that they had HIV. 'Will I ever date again?' was one of the many things on their mind and it occurred to me that my friend was not the only STI positive person to ask this. I thought that I could really help people here, and so Hift was created. Having an STI doesn't mean the end of dating but Hift is there for support if needed.
Why did you feel there was an opening in the market?
More than one million people get an STI everyday, whether that be temporary, like Chlamydia or something more long term, such as HIV or Herpes. I thought that the creation of Hift could really help some people when it came to mixing STIs with dating. When Hift was first created there was no other tinder-like dating apps for those with STIs. I like the ease of it, if two people find each other attractive, they Match - it's a simple as that.
There's 400 million people on the planet with STD's, how do you plan on reaching them?
Hift is a new App and our main goal right now is getting our name out. Not all 400 million people will need Hift, some might be in relationships or comfortable enough to talk about their STI openly on a non-STI dating app and that's great. But Hift is there for those who want more support or like discretion.
How many members do you have now, and where are they based mainly?
Most of our users are based in the U.S, although we have users from all over the world. Although we can't reveal the number of users we have, we can say that we are growing quickly.
How do you monetize?
We have just stared a VIP service for $20 a month where users can have extra services such as searching by location and have extra rounds in Play. But the main goal right now is getting our name out, not making money.
What's your plans for the next couple of years?
Grow. Have a better product, throw singles parties and events, do whatever we can to optimise the Hift experience and help our users. But my main objective is to eventually educate, in schools, conventions, anywhere that will have us, and eradicate STI stigma. I hope that one day there isn't a need for Hift and that people accept that HIV, Herpes, any STI is just a part of life sometimes. If we could end the stigma, that would be fantastic.