Can ‘niche’ dating apps save us?

An illustration showing different profiles from a dating app, with heart and X buttons underneath. A finger hovers over a photo of a silly looking buff man. The other screens show a lumberjack, a woman with cats, a woman fishing, and a man chilling on a car.
Illustration by Tony Johnson / The Verge

These days, there are dating apps for just about everything you can imagine: from specific religions, ethnicities, and political beliefs to various lifestyles and hobbies. You can find a dating app for vegans, one for rock climbers, and even one for professional clowns.

But these apps face a particular challenge. They have to find enough users and build a strong enough community to survive. And they have to do that in the face of Tinder-owner Match Group, which has its own growing portfolio of narrowly-focused apps, too.

The most successful niche dating app outside of the Match Group umbrella is Grindr, a publicly traded company with 11 million monthly active users. AJ Balance, Grindr’s chief product officer, says that the app has…

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