Professional Networking App Ripple Launches, Aims to Be Mobile-First Alternative to LinkedIn

  • 8 January 2018
  • Jermaine Wright

CES 2018

A team of former Tinder employees, led by Tinder’s original CTO Ryan Ogle, has launched a new professional networking app in a bid to become the professional network of choice.

The mobile app is called Ripple (not the cryptocurrency) and was launched by a team of ex-Tinder employees.

Ripple aims to be the mobile-first alternative to LinkedIn that addresses some of the problems associated with the Microsoft-owned business networking platform.

While very effective for B2B marketers, LinkedIn is not void of problems. It is plagued with issues like unwanted connection requests and inbox spam, among other things. LinkedIn was created in the desktop web era, which has since limited its abilities to fully take advantage of what mobile has to offer.

Also, it has a heavy focus on headhunting and job searching, which Ripple notes are only a subset of professional networking.

“Reflecting on our own experiences with the current networks, professional networking is pretty terrible today. It’s a shame, interfaces are packed with ads, unwanted mail from recruiters and salespeople, and a lack of community,” wrote Ogle on Ripple's news blog.

“Like most people we just couldn’t perform the tasks we wanted using the tools available. They’re hard to use, hard to find, or hidden behind a paywall,” Ogle further stated.

The former Tinder CTO believes the current networks “simply missed the mark” thus Ripple was created to be the true professional network – one that put users first, not recruiters or salesmen.

Like LinkedIn, users build a digital resume/profile and select their industry and skills, then Ripple will calculate potential industry connections.

But unlike LinkedIn, Ripple allows users to swipe to request a connection, like Tinder.

  • Users can join and create groups and events within the app.
  • The ‘Face Connect’ feature uses facial identification to connect a photo the user has taken of someone they’ve met IRL with their Ripple profile.
  • The app offers a way for users to find potential connections nearby with the ‘Nearby’ feature.
  • It also features a news feed integrated with Twitter and Medium.

However, according to Ogle, Ripple isn’t just a “Tinder for business networking.”

Instead, it has repurposed some of the psychological principles that helped Tinder become a top app for use in professional networking.

Ogle explains where competing apps that have tried to enter the business networking space in the past went wrong.

“You have to address the problems with professional networking itself. It isn’t as easy as just throwing profiles up on a screen. People have misconstrued why Tinder succeeded. The swipe was interesting, engaging and fun, but the reasons why Tinder succeeded were far deeper than that,” he said.

Ogle and the team focused a lot on the psychology of networking and what hinders users from achieving what they want to achieve. Other dating platforms allow people to message anyone they liked. Tinder addressed the pursued/pursuer issue by only connecting users when a match is mutually agreed upon.

Ripple’s goal is to take a similar problem-solving approach to business networking’s challenges, which differ from those in the dating world.

Ripple first emerged as an internal Tinder hackathon project. The company decided that it deserved to stand on its own instead of introducing business networking as a Tinder feature.

IAC’s Match Group, which now has an undisclosed minority stake in the app, came to an agreement with Tinder to spin off Ripple App Corp. into a separate company and fund it.

Ripple is available on both iOS and Android, starting today.

About Jermaine Wright