Hater Before Shark Tank
A dating app, Hater is unique in that it brings individuals together via their dislikes—that is, it allows you to “meet someone who hates the same stuff.” Similar to other apps in that it utilizes a swiping system, users can easily voice their opinion on thousands of topics from dogs to Kim Jong Un.
The brainchild of Brendan Alper, the app is his first venture into the startup world. A former banker, he worked at Goldman Sachs for five years after graduating from college, before realizing that it wasn’t the life for him. Quitting his job, he eventually began to write comedy sketches full time—something that he had always been fond of.
Ultimately, it was from one of his comedy sketches that Hater was born. More specifically, one of his early ideas had been based on a dating app that matched individuals based on what they hated. Though originally meant for his skit, the more he told people about it, the more he was encouraged to turn it into a real thing. In fact, many of his friends had told him that they would totally download it if it was a real app.
With that, he decided to turn it into reality. Using his savings, as well as his 401(k), he got to work building the app. Over the next two years, he was also successful in raising $100,000 with the help of family and friends. In the end, many hours went into the project before it went live in early 2017. A hit, it quickly amassed over 30,000 daily active users within a month’s time. By March 2017, its algorithm had produced 200,000 matches and it had become the top lifestyle app in Germany.
From there, they eventually caught the attention of Shark Tank’s producers, who invited them to apply for the show. Many rounds of applications later, it was announced that they would be featured in the ninth season of the series. Their episode had aired on November 26, 2017.
Hater on Shark Tank
Entering the tank, Brendan lets the sharks know that he is from Brooklyn, New York. Continuing, he states that he is looking for a $200,000 investment for 5% of his company, Hater.
Gesturing towards their logo, he explains that their company is the only one in the world “that can make love using the power of hate.” Inviting the sharks to ride on his time machine (as “most aren’t single anymore”), he proceeds to walk them through how to use the dating app. To their surprise, an old photo of Mark soon pops on the screen, which leads to many chuckles.
Continuing his pitch, Brendan tells them that “hating always gets overlooked” when it comes to dating. Elaborating, he states that studies have shown that it’s actually easier for people who hate the same things to form bonds compared to those who love the same things, which garners a positive reaction from Rohan.
Revealing a sign, he explains that that is why he created Hater—“the dating app that matches you based on what you hate.” Almost immediately, Mark and Rohan appear to be on board with the idea. Stating that the latter will be the lucky bachelor for today, he proceeds to hand out a few emoji signs to the rest of the sharks, who he says, will be playing along.
Motioning towards the television, he explains that there will be a number of topics displayed on the screen, to which they’ll have to say whether or not they love or hate it. With the instructions out of the way, he shows them the first topic—“Staying in On Friday Night”. Almost immediately, the sharks give him their answers. From there, they go through a handful of other topics together, before he reveals Rohan’s match—Barbara, which garners laughter from the sharks.
Expanding on the process, he states that both users are able to see their respective hates on the app, which generates interest among the sharks. Confirming, Mark asks whether or not the platform throws questions at the user after signing up, to which he is told yes. Elaborating, Brendan tells him that there are five different options—hate, love, dislike, like or neutral.
Noting that the key to the app is the acquisition, Rohan subsequently inquires about Hater’s user base. In response, Brendan states that they had launched on Valentines Day and has since gained 500,000 users. Curious about the numbers, Lori subsequently asks about how the app makes money. Giving her his full attention, the creator states that while they’re still in the early stages, they are testing out a few options—one of which includes the possibility of targeted ads. With further prompting, however, he reveals that they have not yet had any sales.
Asked about his background, Brendan tells them that he had worked at Wall Street—a job that he hated—for six years after graduating from college. Having worked up the courage to quit, he explains, he eventually pursued a career as a comedy writer. Elaborating, he states that Hater was originally a comedy sketch idea that he had had; the more he thought about it, however, the more he thought that it had potential as an actual app.
Despite having put together the project, however, he reveals that he has not paid himself a salary, but has instead liquidated his 401(k), and has cashed in his savings. Subsequently asked about his funding, Brendan states that he’s managed to raise $500,000 with the help from King, the mobile gaming company, a fact which impresses a few of the sharks. Asked about the deal seconds later, he divulges that their investment had been for 12.5% equity.
Continuing about how he’d found the investor, Brendan explains that he knew that “the only way to get market saturation was to make a big splash right away.” With that in mind, he and his PR staff eventually put together a pitch, which was then sent to as many reporters as possible. Before they knew it, he says, they had countless people who were interested in the app.
Changing the topic, Mark asks about the app’s daily active users, to which Brendan replies that there are 8,000 to 10,000. Commenting on the low number, the shark confirms that that is the reason why he’s on the show. Stating that density in the marketplace is important, Rohan goes on to ask him about the engagement rate in New York, where the app is the most popular. In response, he states that they have tens of thousands of users in the city, a few thousand of which are active every day.
Commenting on his lack of numbers, Rohan begins to talk about the density of people that is required for such an app to succeed. Unable to do much with the app at its current state, he eventually tells Brendan that he is out. With that, the creator gives the rest of the sharks his attention. Almost immediately afterward, Barbara compliments the app’s name which she describes as being “pure genius.” Stating that there is potential, she goes on to make him his first offer—$250,000 for 5% stake.
To his dismay, however, she presses him for an answer before he is able to hear from the rest of the sharks. Noticeably conflicted, Brendan looks on as the others tell him to take her offer. Moments later, Lori jumps in with the comment that she can see Hater as a big brand. From there, she also gives him an offer—$200,000 for 10% stake. Just as she says that though, Barbara lets him know that she will soon be withdrawing her offer.
Seconds later, while Brendan is still contemplating, she does just that. As he looks on nervously, Lori reminds him that she would be working with him one-on-one, should he takes her offer. Commenting that he needs a much larger user base to be successful, Mark tells the him that he’d be able to help him out with celebrity connections, which can be used to boost the app’s popularity. From there, he offers him $200,000 for 7.5% equity as well as 2.5% in advisory shares—which Lori states are similar to her offer.
With that, it’s obvious that Brendan has to make a decision between the two sharks. Asked what his answer would be, he surprises everyone by saying that he’d like to hear from Robert. Pointing out the app’s potential, he too, makes him an offer—$500,000 for 15% share, as a joint investment with Barbara.
Torn between decisions, the creator looks on as Mark goes on to remind him that his deal would include working with celebrity influencers. Asked for an answer again, Brendan takes a deep breath before spending the next several seconds contemplating his options. Telling them that he’d have to go with his gut, he announces his decision to work with Mark.
Hater in 2018 – The After Shark Tank Update
Many months have passed since he walked away with a deal with Mark on Shark Tank. How is Alexander and his app Hater, doing nowadays?
Not long after the episode aired, it was revealed that Mark had signed up for the app himself—not to find love however for he is already married, but to learn more about what people are passionate about.
In terms of the app itself, the team has been working on different ways to monetize the platform. According to the founder, they plan on monetizing the app through advertising, which is in the works as we speak. Not only that, but it’s said that they will be rolling out a premium subscription later this year—though they haven’t revealed any of the premium features as of yet.
What People Think About the Hater App
Since it was featured on Shark Tank, Hater has gained a significant amount of attention nationwide. In fact, it has a pretty decent rating on the App Store—4.5 stars to be exact, which is quite impressive for a new app. With that said, things appear to be a little different on the Android side. On the Google Play Store, Hater currently has a 3-star rating out of over 670 reviews. Taking a closer look at some of the comments, it seems that many have an issue with the prompts, which some have described as being “shallow.” Nonetheless, the general consensus remains positive.
Unsurprisingly, the app has gained a considerable following on social media over the past months. For instance, their Instagram account @lovethroughhate, currently has over 3,700 followers. On Facebook, they’ve also received more than 2,000 likes.
Will Brendan Alper be returning to Shark Tank for an update on the app anytime soon? Seeing as how he had just recently appeared on the show last year, it might be a while before we see him back on the series. Regardless, the dating platform seems to have taken off tremendously since his appearance last fall.