Grindr Employees Look Back on 13 Years

13 years into our journey, we asked some of our longest-tenured employees about their Grindr experience: the most surprising moments, what makes them proud, and what they’re looking forward to next.
Grindr
&
Editorial team
April 26, 2023
February 20, 2024
7
min. read
Grindr Employees Look Back on 13 Years
Table of Contents

It's hard to believe that in 2009 a small, location-based queer social networking app would become a global phenomenon with millions of users and turn into a pop culture mainstay, featured in everything from the New York Times to SNL to the zeitgeistiest TV shows of the day.

Now, 13 years into that journey, with lots of lessons under our belt and millions more users, we want to celebrate this milestone with the people who were monumental in getting us to where we are today. We asked some of our most-tenured employees about their Grindr journey: the most surprising moments, what makes them proud, and what they’re looking forward to next. Cheers to another 13 years.

Monty Suwannukul, Product Design Director

What’s been the most surprising part of your journey at Grindr?

I think people imagine the Grindr office as a bunch of horny dudes with go-go dancers performing 24/7. While that might be an accurate description of our holiday parties, it is far from the reality of what makes Grindr run on a day to day basis. I’m continually surprised by the quality of people that I work with; Grindr employees are smart, passionate and a lot of fun. Many of my best friends are people I met while working here. Because of who we serve, open-mindedness is a prerequisite to success here and that builds a beautiful culture.

What are you most proud of from your time here?

I remember when we launched the full redesign of Grindr in 2016 and I got a glimpse of my designs in the hands of people in the wild. I was at Revolver in WeHo and I had a real proud mom moment when I saw someone open up that screen of blue and yellow chat bubbles. That was my first big launch with Grindr, but I’ve had my hands in hundreds of releases since then.

I’m proudest when I hear stories of how our app is used to find connection by people who would otherwise have no options. Many probably think of dangerous anti-gay countries we see on the news, but no matter where you are in the world, there are people opening the app and finding that they aren’t alone. I find that so inspiring.

What are you most excited about with where Grindr is now and where it’s headed?

When I talk to people about Grindr, there is this incredible pattern that I’ve seen emerge. People say Grindr is only good for hookups. Then, when I ask about their best experiences on the app, they talk about the friends they made, the love they found, and the adventures they had. There’s a tremendous amount of opportunity here to enrich the lives of the people who use Grindr, and I’m super excited to try to capture that.

Nick Penna, Engineering Manager

What’s been the most surprising part of your journey at Grindr?

On my second day of work I went to the annual summer party and at 11am was served endless champagne and vodka from backless speedo boys. It wasn’t clear to me on those first couple days, but I quickly found that Grindr was an amazing place for me to learn and grow professionally. I have learned so much here, and have had the pleasure of working with so many dedicated and smart coworkers who still inspire me every day.

What are you most proud of from your time here?

I’m proud that I lead a team that focuses on improving our user’s experience. I take it seriously that Grindr is a vital part of many people’s lives, and I’m proud of my part in its history. There are always challenges at work, and I am thankful and proud of my team for all the hard work they do to keep our Grindr users at the front of their minds.

What are you most excited about with where Grindr is now and where it’s headed?

I’m always looking forward to new Grindr feature releases or product updates and seeing them being used by people to express themselves. I am excited that the company is in a position to make 2022 an amazing year for introducing new and awesome Grindr experiences to the community.

Alice Hunsberger, CX Senior Director

What’s been the most surprising part of your journey at Grindr?

How often I get to talk about butts and nipples! I knew it would be a lot, but it's... a lot.

What are you most proud of from your time here?

Building a great team. When I started here, there was no CX team at all, and now we have a group of really user-obsessed folks who are making a big impact, both for our community and the business.

What are you most excited about with where Grindr is now and where it’s headed?

I love how laser-focused Grindr is on our community and what they want and need. We're really ramping up in our ability to deliver more ways for people to make genuine connections with each other, and there are so many exciting ideas in the works. This really feels like just the beginning!

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Matt Chang, Digital Marketing Specialist

What’s been the most surprising part of your journey at Grindr?

The most surprising part of my journey at Grindr is that when I started working here Grindr was just a small start-up. I could never have predicted at the time that in just a few years we’d be a major player in the dating app sphere and in the tech world.

What are you most proud of from your time here?

I’m proud to be part of one of the most iconic and influential dating apps in the world, and I’m more proud that we help the queer community connect on a daily basis.

What are you most excited about with where Grindr is now and where it’s headed?

I’m really excited to see where we are headed because we for sure aren’t slowing down.

Munir Estevane, API Engineering Director

What’s been the most surprising part of your journey at Grindr?

I can say something that still surprises me is how engaged and global our userbase is. Grindr has worldwide recognition. Few other apps can claim to have been prominently mentioned in two episodes of Silicon Valley, for example. And whenever something seems out of place, users make their voice heard on social media, newscasts, podcasts, what have you.

What are you most proud of from your time here?

I'm proud of having established software development processes that have withstood the test of time, with systems that are resilient, high quality code, and onboarding tools that make it simple for new engineers to come on board.

What are you most excited about with where Grindr is now and where it’s headed?

I'm most excited about our current growth, getting more engineers on the team so we can better help our users live their best lives.

Michelle Kelly, Brand Partnerships

What’s been the most surprising part of your journey at Grindr?

Learning that a lot of my friends met on Grindr and are now in happy relationships. It’s also impressive to see how many more daily active users there are since I started in 2016; I had no idea we were growing at such a rapid pace, and I’m excited to be a part of the journey.

What are you most proud of from your time here?

I am proud of my team and the people I work with - they truly are my family. I’ve met some of the most wonderful people working here over the past 5 ½ years.
As a member of the ad sales team, I am also proud to see the types of brands that have partnered with us and shown support for our community.

What are you most excited about with where Grindr is now and where it’s headed?

I’m excited to see Grindr grow and continue to make dating, culture, and the LGBTQ+ community instantly accessible to gay, bi, and trans people – everywhere.

Serge lamas, Senior QA Engineer

What’s been the most surprising part of your journey at Grindr?

During my tenure at Grindr I’ve experienced many varied roles: I’ve been an event planner, facilities coordinator, EA, personal trainer, and now I’m part of the QA team. The opportunities Grindr has given me to grow and evolve have been incredible, and shows how dedicated the company is to nurturing talent.

What are you most proud of from your time here?

So many, but I’d have to say the biggest is Grindr for Equality. It feels good to be part of a company that actually cares about the LGBTQ+ community.

What are you most excited about with where Grindr is now and where it’s headed?

I’m so excited to keep seeing the app grow into an even bigger global community.

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