View all Insights
View all Insights

Portfolio Spotlight: Why Lex Focuses on Building a Queer Community

Hopelab continues our series featuring portfolio partners with unique approaches to centering equity and improving well-being outcomes. This month, we spoke with Jennifer Lewis, CEO and Co-founder of Lex, a welcoming space for social interaction and expression—where LGBTQ+ people can make friends, build relationships, have fun, and belong. Lex’s ultimate vision is to have every LGBTQ+ person in the world on Lex: “If You’re Queer, You’re on Lex.”

This interview has been edited for clarity and length.

Hopelab: Lex was originally created as a dating platform but shifted to refocus on friends and community. Can you talk about the importance of helping people find LGBTQ+ friends and a queer community?

Jennifer: We shifted from dating to focusing more on community as we found through extensive research with our Lex users that those that got the most value from Lex were using it to find and create local communities. Those communities included friends, group meet-ups, events, and more. There was nothing else in the market that allowed LGBTQ+ people to meet each other outside of dating. When you’re queer, finding others that share your identity (and the joys, beauty, struggles, and nuances that come with it) is so valuable.

Hopelab: Why is community important to you personally?

Jennifer: I’m from the U.K., so my friends are my family here in New York. I’ve found community through different areas of my life – the business/founder community, music, art, LGBTQ+ – they all help me connect with different facets of my identity.

Hopelab: You’ve created a niche product that serves a very specific audience. How do you think about growing or expanding the app while staying true to serving the needs of the LGBTQ+ community?

Jennifer: Lex will always be for and by LGBTQ+, but we do expect change as we grow and as we respond to the needs of our community. We’re seeing groups and communities thrive as an essential part of Lex, as well as events. We’re also observing queer business owners using the platform to find their customers. We’ll also need to explore different ways to keep the app accessible and inclusive – whether you can pay or not.

Hopelab: As a busy start-up founder, how do you take care of your mental health?

Jennifer: Honestly, it’s a struggle to balance everything. Yoga is the one thing I try to prioritize, which helps me stay grounded.

Hopelab: What’s the best piece of advice someone gave you as a queer founder that you’d like to pass along?

Jennifer: You can’t play the game by someone else’s rules.

Why Hopelab invested in Lex

Lex is fostering a safe space for social connection for the queer community at a time when LGBTQ+ youth are experiencing significant challenges related to mental health, loneliness, and their online experience. Social isolation and loneliness are associated with negative mental health outcomes including depression, suicidal ideation and attempt, and substance use. Since the pandemic, over 60% of Gen Z adults feel seriously lonely, and research shows queer young people are twice as likely to feel lonely than their non-LGBTQ+ peers. This problem is critical to emerging adult well-being.

Lex bolsters well-being outcomes for queer youth by creating a welcoming and safe environment – both virtually and in-person – and meeting queer youth where they are on their own gender and sexual orientation journeys. This sense of community offers an important source of support and connection for LGBTQ+ young people beyond what they can access through the traditional mental health care system. National Survey data released in 2024 by Hopelab and Common Sense Media revealed that for queer young people, social media is especially important for feeling less alone (74% vs. 52%) compared to their straight/cisgender peers.

Interested in learning more? Give Lex a try.

Related Content

View all Insights
josé caballero photo on a gradient background

A ti, querido lector, te dejo con esto: Ser queer no es sólo una celebración de junio. Ser queer significa ir en contracorriente con los dogmas e instituciones tradicionales que han establecido el orden social mediante el dominio y la propaganda heterosexual.

Seven tools from Hopelab and partners to support identity affirmation.

josé caballero photo on a gradient background

Guest author, José Caballero shares a personal story about self-discovery, queer identity, his experience with social media.

Young people seek support in a wide range of ways, including from family, friends, social media, and other digital apps. TRACE creates an affirming space where people in transition feel seen and empowered in a safe and supportive environment.