Match Group makes seven-figure investment in background check nonprofit Garbo – TechCrunch

Match Group, the parent company for Tinder, Match, OkCupid, Hinze and other top dating apps, announced this morning that it had made a seven-figure investment in the non-profit background check platform GarboWith the goal of helping match group users make more informed decisions about their safety when dating online. The deal would see the match closing with Garbo later this year to integrate background check technology into Tinder, followed by other match group US dating apps.

Image Credit: Catherine Cosmides via Match Group

New York-based Garbo was originally founded in 2018 by Catherine Kosmides, a survivor of gender-based violence who wanted to make it easy for everyone to have the ability to see important information about someone’s background that is a history. Could indicate Violence. Typically, today’s background check services are run by for-profit companies and many types of personal information – such as drug offenses or minor traffic violations – are not relevant to safety and misuse cases. In addition, those types of allegations are often leveled against members of more vulnerable communities, Garbo has pointed, And are not related to gender-based violence.

Instead Garbo performs low-cost background checks by collecting public records and reports of violence and abuse, including arrests, convictions, sanctions orders, harassment, and other violent crimes. To use the service, a user will enter first and last name or first name and phone number – often a dating app users will have only one information on one of their matches.

The service will then perform what it calls a “similar background” check, This will exclude drug possession charges As a result, in addition to DUI and vehicle mainsore, create traffic tickets.

Last year, the nonprofit began beta testing its technology with 500 people in the NYC area, and soon its waitlist grew to more than 6,000 completely word-of-mouth. Garbo later pulled the test as the team realized the technology had potential for national scale – something they wanted to deliver to the public before launching.

As a not-so-much non-profit in terms of financial support, Garbo also realized that a larger partner may be needed in that effort. After joining Cosamides Match Group’s new security chief Tracy Breden, the two companies agreed to work together on bringing the technology to a wider US audience.

In a statement about today’s news, Breeden of the Match Group of Safety and Social Advocacy said, “Long-standing women and marginalized groups in all corners of the world have faced many barriers to resources and security. ” “We believe that corporations can help overcome the barriers that overcome barriers with technology and true cooperation lies in action. In partnership with the Match Group, Garbo’s thoughtful and groundbreaking consumer background checks will enable and empower users with information, which will help create equal pathways for tech and secure communities, ”he said.

This is the Match Group’s second investment in an external security technology provider to enhance the feature set of its dating apps. In early 2020, the company Invested in the afternoon Following an investigative investigation report to help ease new security features inside Tinder and other dating apps By ProPublica and Columbia Journalism Investigations, Was published on December 2019. The report revealed how the match group allowed known sexual predators to use their apps. It also noted that Match Group did not have a similar policy of running background checks on its dating app users, which gives users responsibility to protect themselves.

Meanwhile, Tinder’s top competitor Bumble has marketed itself as a more female-friendly alternative to traditional dating apps such as Tinder, and includes many features designed to protect users from bad actors. – including, most recently, a way to stop. To stop them Using the app’s “unmatched” option to hide from its victims.

As gaining a reputation for being an “insecure” app can be largely detrimental to brands like Tinder and the larger online dating industry, it is clear that Match Group now invests to address this problem more directly. Has been doing. For example, with Noonlight Investments, Match group promised facilities Tinder is a prudent way to trigger emergency services inside the app, similar to the feature found in Uber and Lyft, as well as other security features.

The Match Group said today that Garbo would use the new investment to rent the product, along with a head of engineering and an initial team of five engineers. The team will help build Garbo’s capabilities, including the use of natural language processing and AI

Garbo will also benefit from the large contribution of Match Group’s time and resources as its product is fully operational and then rolled into Match Group’s products, starting with Tinder. And the Match Group is helping Garbo make the non-profit technology accessible to other platforms, as well – in non-dating app markets, such as ridesharing companies.

However, this feature may not be free once you are in Tinder.

Instead, the Match Group says it will work to determine pricing based on factors such as how the user looks when adopted, how many people want to use it, how much they want to search, and other factors. It is also yet to be determined how deep the integration can be – whether, for example, it will link the app out of Garbo or will it seem like an in-app feature.

The match group has no exact timeframe for the launch of the feature beyond “later this year” for Tinder, which will be followed by other US dating apps. The company may consider similar investments in the coming months for its services aimed at international users.