×

Companionship app Stitch connects seniors across globe

Some call it "Tinder for seniors" but co-founder Marcie Rogo says Stitch is about much more than just swiping right.

"At first I was really offended [about the association with Tinder], but then I realized that a lot of our users have found us by googling 'Tinder for seniors' because they know their kids are on it and they're wondering if there's something for them," Rogo said

Nancy Brown | Getty Images

Stitch, a companionship app for adults over 50, has been on the market since July 2014. It allows seniors to connect not just romantically but also allows them to search for platonic companionship, travel partners or fellow eventgoers.

The start-up behind the app was able to raise $1 million in its first six months and has grown to serve a global user base of 25,000, up from 18,000 last month.

While Stitch's business is still growing, the app dating space is already somewhat crowded. Match Group, owner of Tinder, Match.com, and OKCupid, jumped 12 percent over its IPO price when it started trading Thursday.

On considering a future IPO for Stitch, Rogo said she wasn't opposed to the idea.

"I think an IPO is definitely a possibility if we can get to that size and really be the destination for social connections in later years."

Rogo's other goals for Stitch include pursuing venture capital financing, partnering with major media companies and offering more travel opportunities to its users.

For now, Stitch members can choose to engage in local group activities, collaborate on travel plans, chat on a community forum or browse profiles in search of one-on-one companionship through a desktop site or mobile app.

"We definitely built Stitch to be accessible for any senior," Rogo said. "A 2-year-old can use it, a 92-year-old can use it."

Stitch members go through a verification process which includes scanning and submitting a driver's license to the company. Once they've been verified and "stitch" with other users, Stitch members can chat with one another through the app or over the phone before meeting in person.

Rogo told CNBC she was inspired to create the app from her observations of the elderly community in America. She touched on the tendency of American families to send seniors to assisted living environments as they age.

"People felt like they were a burden on their families and that they were meant to kind of just sit there and die."

"Grandparents are kind of seen as annoying, or a burden or they're far away and you never get to see them. ... This is not the way you're supposed to treat people that are going through a process that is inevitable," Rogo said.

Stitch set out with the goal to ease that process and help seniors feel less lonely, she said.

She shared examples of clients who found friends across the globe and now teach each other their respective languages or another of two women who now regularly attend jazz performances after connecting over that shared interest on the app.

"It's just like a beautiful thing … to see that what we're doing is actually working," Rogo said.