Dating app Grindr hooks up with Chinese gaming investor

Grindr
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The business of online dating continues to grow, as more apps enter the market and compete for funding from investors ready to cash in on the next Tinder. The latest financial news in the industry involves popular gay dating app Grindr, who just announced that Chinese online gaming titan Beijing Kunlun Tech has taken a “majority investment” in their app.

According to The New York Times, Beijing Kunlun’s stake in the company will be about 60%, with the remainder to be owned by Grindr employees and Joel Simkhai, the company's founder. The valuation of Grindr seems to be about $155 million according to the same article, although the actual amount invested was not disclosed.

Interestingly, Grindr had not raised capital from outside investors prior to their deal with Beijing Kunlun. The company was started and funded by Simkhai himself, who began with only a few thousand dollars. He grew the company and the brand: according to PC Magazine, the average user spends up to 54 minutes a day on the app – a figure that exceeds Facebook’s 42 minutes and Instagram’s 21 minutes.

According to leaked documents back in August, Grindr predicted pulling in about $38 million for 2015.

According to Financial Review, Carter McJunkin, chief operating officer of Grindr said in an interview: "We have users in every country in the world, but in order to get to the next phase of our business and grow faster, we needed a partner," McJunkin added that the relationship made sense for Grindr because of Beijing Kunlun's digital expertise, and because the company agreed to let Grindr's founders continue its operating structure and retain its current team.

Beijing Kulun saw Grindr as a good opportunity to expand beyond its core gaming focus, into more of an overall “lifestyle” brand. 

It’s interesting to note that Beijing Kunlun’s choice to purchase stake in a gay dating app seems incongruous, since homosexuality is still a taboo subject in China, and many gay people face widespread discrimination. It is not clear if Grindr intends to expand its business into the Chinese market, but there would be social stigma to overcome.

Beijing Kulun might see Grindr as a sound investment above all, despite its target market. Or perhaps they are paving the way for other Chinese investors to expand and reach out to invest in more diverse, successful brands outside of China. "We have been very impressed by Grindr's progress to date and are extremely excited about the future of the company," Yahui Zhou, chairman of Kunlun, said in a statement. "We will continue to seek out and invest in high-quality technology companies led by top-tier management across the globe.” For more information on this gay dating app you can check our our Grindr Topic.