Brendan Alper created the Hater app to help people connect. Most dating apps work on matching people by what they like in common. The Hater app does the opposite: it connects people based on what they hate. Hater doesn't condone hate, in fact hate speech and anything most people consider hateful isn't allowed on the platform. The “hates” people share include things like slow left lane drivers, trending topics and political views.
Alper released the Hater app just before Valentine's Day, 2017. It rocketed to over 200,000 users in a short time. Hater started as a joke, but Alper – a former banker at Goldman Sachs turned comedy writer – soon realized he was on to something. The concept works on a proven premise that people connect over things they dislike as much as they do over things they like. It functions a lot like Tinder. You swipe likes and hates and then the app connects you with people who have similar dislikes. Besides the different angle, it works much like other dating apps.
As with most apps appearing in the Tank, Alper needs to figure out monetization. In episode 909, he wants a Shark's help scaling what he believes is the next Tinder. Hater currently has a small staff that picks the topics, but it needs to stay relevant to have staying power. A Shark could help with that.
My Take on the Hater App
I'm happily married and don't use dating apps, so Hater isn't for me. I know people, including my own kids, who use Tinder and other online dating apps and websites. One of my cousins actually met his wife online – though I don't recall the app or platform they used.
I think the Hater app is a clever idea. Everyone sits around complaining to friends, family or anyone who'll listen about stuff they hate. If you think about it, you've done it too. The Hater algorithm also tracks stuff you like, so it's not matching people solely on dislikes, but talking to someone new about a shared pet peeve is an excellent ice breaker.
Reviews of the app are largely positive, but there's evidence it's jumped the Shark to a degree. For instance, some users feel like they're filling out market research surveys. Hot, novelty ideas often have a wild ride until the novelty wears off. If Hater wants to stay relevant, they need to constantly update their data. It's a tough job, so I'm out.
Will Sharks Love It or Hate It?
If the photo at the top of this post is any indicator, it looks like Mark and Lori like the Hater app. The other Sharks don't. Dating apps have a rough record getting funded in the Tank, but Hater is a fresh take on the idea. Both Mark and Lori invested in apps in the past, but Robert and Barbara have not. Rohan Oza is likely not an app investor, unless he teams with someone.
If Hater is profitable and still has a growing user base, Mark or Lori could bid. Since apps are a risky investment, their equity ask will be pretty high. If Alper is willing to give up significant equity (30%-40%), he could leave with a Shark as a partner. If not, the Sharks will be one more thing he'll hate.