I've always been looking for an opportunity to set up a company to run a dating app. To get started, I subscribed to Google alerts to get fresh news on the industry. I uncovered some interesting facts.
As the largest and most popular dating app in the world, Tinder has a lot of transgender users. In 2016, Tinder added "transgender" to its gender options to cater to the trans community. But trans people still had some difficulties and bad experiences. In December, I found a news report saying many trans people had complained that their Tinder accounts had been suspended or banned without reason.
I immediately talked with some of my transgender friends about this issue. One of them had that experience on Tinder. He told me there should be a good dating app specifically for trans people.
A dating app specifically for trans people? Why not? There are so many niche dating apps specifically for different groups of people. For instance, plus-size people have Wooplus. I started researching the market of trans dating immediately. I found that many trans people were not satisfied with the available options and were still searching for a good trans dating app.
By checking the Google keywords planner, I found that the keywords related to trans dating had many more monthly searches than the keywords related to plus-size dating. It means the trans dating market is larger than the plus-size dating market. I showed my research to Derek Li, a trans man who is one of my college classmates, and asked him, "Do you think a dating app for trans people is a good idea?"
"Why not?" he said. "That could be the best idea to help the trans community. I would like to create one if I have money and resources." I said, "How about joining me? I will develop a trans dating app." .
He joined me without hesitation, and we started developing the app at the end of 2017. In the beginning, we planned a lot of features for Transdr, and we expected the app would be online this month . However, in the process of development, I found that a trans woman had sued Tinder, claiming that the app deleted her account. So I decided to remove some undeveloped features of Transdr so that it could be online earlier.
On March 23, Craigslist immediately closed its personals section after the U.S. Senate passed a bill to fight online sex trafficking. Its former users, including trans users, have been looking for alternative places since then. According to the Google keywords tool, the searches for "craigslist personals alternative" increased from 2,400 in February to 20,100 in March.
Via the tool, I also found that many users were searching for trans people on Craigslist. We expected that there would be a lot of former trans users of Craigslist personals looking for an alternative site. The next day, we released the first version of Transdr.
Trans people really need their own dating app because of the unfair treatment they encountered on Tinder and the closure of Craigslist personals. Some experts expect that more online spaces will be closed due to the Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act, which has now become law.
Transdr is still in its early stages. We will need to add features in the near future. The current goal is to let Transdr help trans people find love in a comfortable place. However, our ultimate goal is to make Transdr a place where trans people can not only find love but also find support and make friends. At this time, Transdr is a Tinder-like app. In the future, it might be an app combining Tinder with Facebook.