Alex Hofman is back with a new app.
The tech entrepreneur, who was previously the chairman of the precursor to TikTok Musical.ly, has launched his first new business since leaving the role. It’s called Sparkand it’s a dating app that does away with Tinder’s familiar “swipe” pattern.
Spark is deployed by 9 accountsa technology company run by Hofmann and Joe Viola. Rather than pairing people who choose to swipe over each other, the app builds connections by presenting each user with a grid of active users. As potential ‘lovebirds’ explore the faces of the grid, they can choose the ones that interest them. This layout is intended to simulate the feeling of meeting in a real room; in our post-pandemic landscape, it’s an emotion that many people crave.
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“Spark is a reflection of 9count’s mission to help people find deep connections in a world comprised primarily of surface-level online connections,” Hofmann said in a statement. “We created Spark to help bridge the gap between an evolved digital world that was ushered in by the pandemic and chance encounters in the real world.”
It’s no surprise that Hofmann’s dating app seeks to shake up the status quo; at Musical.ly, he played an important role in nurturing a new generation of digital native content creators. Some of the personalities who hit the lip sync app hard, including Baby Ariel and Lisa and Lenacontinue to reach many followers on TikTok.
Given their intertwined histories, Musical.ly and TikTok would be a good match on Spark. Hofmann was part of the old app’s C-level team for three years, and Musical.ly’s success during that time caught the attention of Chinese online video companies. Ultimately, Beijing-based Bytedance acquired Musical.ly in 2017, paying a reported price of $800 million. Hofmann exited soon after, and in 2018 Bytedance merged its recent acquisition with TikTok. The combined platform adopted the name of this latest app, and the rest is history.
Hofmann has taken on a few different gigs since leaving Musical.ly, but with Spark he’s making another ambitious piece of the app development world. The dating platform launched with a waiting list of 50,000 people, and it has already had some success, at least in a few countries. In Ireland and the Netherlands, Spark reached #1 on the App Store after its soft launch. If you want to boost it in your country, you can find Spark on App Store.