Success StoriesNovember 6, 2023

Hornet's AI Transformation: Empowering LGBTQ+ Communities

Arlene Go
Arlene Go
Hornet's AI Transformation: Empowering LGBTQ+ Communities

Hornet, a leading LGBTQ+ social network and dating app with over 35 million members worldwide, is on a mission to create a global safe space where queer individuals can connect and be themselves. With its rapid expansion across countries like Thailand, France, Brazil, Turkey, Taiwan, and the United States, Hornet has disrupted markets worldwide. The company's vision is to enable queer life to flourish anytime, anywhere, fostering authentic and secure conversations and connections.

To accomplish this quickly and securely, Hornet processes massive amounts of data daily, including millions of chats, thousands of feed posts, and live video views. Artificial intelligence is fundamental to their operations, helping them better connect users, ensure their safety, and create more meaningful conversations in a safer and more engaging environment. AI helps Hornet enhance user safety by identifying hate speech, moderating images, and detecting malicious actors, including scammers and catfishers. 

The company is working on implementing generative AI to match users with like-minded individuals, moving from a universal model to a more customized “grid” where AI tailors recommendations for each user. Hornet is also developing an AI-driven "wingman" feature to help users initiate more engaging conversations. This system offers tailored conversation starters based on user preferences and their potential match's likely response.

DataStax and vector search: Empowering Hornet's AI initiatives

Hornet's AI success is empowered by its partnership with DataStax, which provides the infrastructure and database tools to scale AI initiatives while maintaining performance and reliability. Hornet uses DataStax Astra DB vector search capabilities to create personalized user experiences. With millions of users, providing relevant and unique recommendations becomes particularly challenging. Vector databases help Hornet identify user preferences and make real-time matches, enhancing the user experience.

"Harnessing AI in partnership with DataStax has allowed us to reimagine the LGBTQ+ experience on Hornet,” said Hornet’s CEO Christof Wiittig. “We're not merely introducing AI features to our users; we're creating a platform that's safer, more engaging, and tailored for every individual. This partnership showcases how AI and advanced databases can revolutionize user experiences innovatively, reinforcing our commitment to fostering connections and authentic conversations within the LGBTQ+ community.”

Hornet relies on real-time performance to meet user expectations. One example is the significant enhancement in user experiences through real-time matching, enabling users to connect with like-minded individuals. Astra DB plays a vital role in ensuring that AI-driven features, like personalized recommendations and safety measures, function seamlessly and deliver an engaging platform to users.

Advice for developers

Hornet’s developer team learned several valuable lessons as they coded AI elements into the company’s applications.  

  • Test and iterate Experiment with AI features and limit the blast radius to ensure a smooth development process. Deploy the minimum viable product, gather data, and iterate based on user feedback.
  • Validate through A/B testing Use A/B testing to validate the effectiveness of AI-driven features. Let user data guide your decisions and continuously refine your AI capabilities.
  • Choose the right infrastructure Select infrastructure partners like DataStax that can scale your AI initiatives while ensuring real-time performance and reliability. Your users demand a fast, smooth experience.
  • Let data drive your decisions Leverage the data you collect to personalize user experiences and enhance safety. AI's power lies in understanding user preferences and behavior.
  • Commit to user value AI should be a tool to deliver value to users. Focus on improving user experiences and consider new revenue models as a byproduct of enhanced services.

Hornet's journey into AI and its partnership with DataStax demonstrate the transformative potential of AI when supported by the right infrastructure. By implementing Astra’s vector search capabilities, Hornet has not only improved user experiences but also ensured real-time performance and reliability for its global platform. This partnership highlights how AI and cutting-edge databases can be leveraged to enhance user experiences in innovative ways for developers looking to enhance their own platforms.

To learn more about Hornet’s AI transformation, check out this case study.

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