Hiki — meaning “able” in Hawaiian — is the first ever relationship (friendship and dating) app specifically for the Autistic community. It is a space where being atypical is celebrated. A place where different is de-stigmatized and people can embrace their uniqueness and their commonality all at the same time. Every part of Hiki, from ideation to design to launch, has been built in partnership with a multitude of remarkable individuals who are on the Spectrum to make sure that the tool that seeks to benefit this community is doing so in a way that is representative of their needs.
My name is Jamil and I’m the founder of Hiki.
A couple of years ago I was spending the day with my cousin, a very cool dude who has the quickest wit in the game, a voracious appetite for mystery novels, a tooth that’s probably a little too sweet, and Autism. We were strolling around the city, doing what cousins do (read: eating and drinking), and he confided in me that he was lonely and that he was scared he would never find his person. I shared with him that the woman I thought I was going to spend the rest of my life with had just left me (jeeze, can’t believe I’m posting this on Medium), and that I too, felt the same way.
It wasn’t until a few weeks later that it dawned on me, that while we both felt scared of the unknown, and we both yearned for meaningful connection — I had a myriad of platforms (both digital and physical) at my disposal where I could put myself out there. With a click of a button, I could download tinder or hinge or bumble or any of the hundreds of dating apps that cater to neurotypicals. Moreso, I had the privilege of being able to go to loud bars with flashing lights any night of the week. He didn’t.
We built Hiki because we believe that friends, family, community and love are the essence of joy. And that everyone deserves to be happy.