A group led by former Tinder CTO Ryan Ogle has launched Ripple, a mobile competitor to LinkedIn. Rather than try to match up with LinkedIn’s growing list of features, however, the new app is focused solely on networking and includes a number of interesting features.
For one, Ripple hopes to gain from its mobile capability is the opportunity to take advantage of proximity. Users will be able to find potential contacts nearby and also start networking events using the app. This new offering, which originated from an internal hackathon at Tinder and eventually spun off into its own company, will be able to draw information from your LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook profiles and also—perhaps controversially—allow you to take pictures of people using your smartphone and find their profiles.
Ripple will also employ the swipe function popularized by its dating app cousin, but Ogle insists that Tinder is a lot more than swiping and plans for Ripple to include more detailed profile information such as job history, education, etc. without going to a new screen.
“People have misconstrued why Tinder succeeded,” Ogle tells TechCrunch’s Sarah Perez. “Certainly, the swipe was interesting, engaging and fun. But the reasons why Tinder succeeded were far deeper than that. We thought a lot about the psychology of networking and the problems… what holds people back and prevents them from achieving what they want to achieve.”
Ogle’s team, which also includes Tinder’s first Android developer and lead designer, plans on having a strict policy to combat a problem that LinkedIn users can face: the abuse of the platform to harass others with unwanted sexual messages and romantic propositions (mostly men targeting women). Ripple will have a built-in reporting feature in a forthcoming release, as well as flags for inappropriate behavior. The app will also use an algorithm to identify and kick off “bad actors” such as those using the network for improper purposes, spam marketers, or overly pushy recruiters.
“That’s going to be one of our big differentiators. We’re going to be very aggressive in eliminating people who are doing things for non-professional reasons,” Ogle said in the TechCrunch interview.
Ripple is not the only company looking to modernize professional networking, and it isn’t even the first dating app to create a professional offering. Bumble recently launched an add-on called BumbleBizz, with the express intent of making networking safer and harassment-free for women. Other legacy players in the online matchmaking space, such as eHarmony, are also applying their matchmaking algorithms to connect job seekers with employers.