Christians can now swipe yes for Jesus, and put that Tinder app down to find a special someone through another avenue on their smartphones. Founded by Steven Rueter, BC ’12, Nelson Wang, and Steven Gaan, Collide is a free dating app geared specifically toward Christians.
Wang originally thought of the idea for Collide, and got together with Rueter and Gaan three months ago to begin building the app, which was released last week. They decided to create the app after noticing that there was no dating app made for Christians that was user- and mobile-friendly.
“We’re really catering to the need we have, especially to the Christian community,” Rueter said. “They want something seamless, they want a beautiful product that is niche like this. We think that if we can bring people to this platform, we can really facilitate those connections.”
Collide is similar to Tinder, the popular dating app that was released in 2012, in that they both utilize the swipe-card model for the user interface, find potential matches based on location, and connect user accounts through Facebook. Users can also set their profiles to select their preferences for the gender, distance, and age of potential matches.
The swipe-card model allows users to swipe left if they like the match they see on the screen, or right if they dislike the match. Collide’s co-founders adopted the swipe-card model from Tinder.
“When it comes to browsing on mobile, whether you’re shopping or trying to find a date, a lot of companies have adopted [the swipe-card model], and we thought it was the most proven model that works and was a good fit for the user interface that we wanted to build,” Rueter said.
Collide’s focus on the Christian community is made quite clear—it requires users to include their denomination and favorite Bible verse, and offers an in-app purchase for $0.99 to show the distance of the potential match.
“Tinder has such a broad user base, and to make meaningful connections like that, I think that’s really difficult,” Rueter said.
Other online dating apps, such as ChristianMingle, do not cater to mobile users and a younger Christian demographic, Rueter said.
“Collide’s goal is to create and foster an environment conducive to Christian values and what Christians want to know about each other,” he said. “The future of Collide is really based on our ability to listen to and learn from our members, and learn quickly.”
Rueter, Wang, and Gaan built the app through the lean startup method, which is an approach for startups to build technology products through iteration and grow based on user feedback.
“It’s the most cost effective way of doing this—based on our personal abilities, rather than raising funding,” Rueter said. “We are hopeful that if we put our members and their needs first, we can continue to build a better and better Christian dating experience.”
Collide’s co-founders built the app using their own resources and without raising money, as entrepreneurs pursuing a goal, Rueter said.
The three met in San Francisco, where they all currently work. Rueter and Wang, who graduated from UCLA in 2006, both have degrees in economics. Gaan, who graduated from California State University, Long Beach in 2010, has his in sociology and statistics.
The co-founders each have a skill that helped them create Collide—Wang has a background in marketing, Gaan, who designed the app, has his in design, and Rueter has his in programming. Rueter started to practice writing code for apps the summer after he graduated, but most of them were “hacks,” or small apps he built for fun and learning purpose, he said.
“Our different backgrounds have allowed us to play to our strengths and fulfill the workload necessary to do a project like this. In coming together, we’ve managed to combine our strengths into a single, cohesive product,” Rueter said. “Working based on what we know and our strengths has informed the process for us. Our ultimate goal is to be the go-to Christian dating app.”
Featured Image Courtesy of Collide.com