Connecting gay men is big business. Grindr announced yesterday that it’s going to go public and float on the stock market.
In a press release describing itself as “the #1 social network for the LGBTQ+ community” (ahem), Grindr said it was merging with Singapore-based investment company Tiga Acquisition Corp. (TAC) ahead of the public offering. The combined company will be called Grindr, Inc.
TAC will help Grindr raise the funds to go public.
“Grindr is well positioned to be a public company and will continue to expand the ways it serves the LGBTQ+ community, from products, services to the philanthropic and advocacy work done through Grindr 4 Equality,” said its CEO, Jeff Bonforte.
James F. Lu, Chair of Grindr’s Board of Directors, added, “This transaction is a milestone event, not only for our iconic company, our people, partners, and investors, but also for the community we serve around the world.”
Grindr was launched in 2009 by tech entrepreneur Joel Simkhai. One of the first geosocial networking sites on the market, it benefited from the explosion in smartphone use and quickly became one of the most popular dating apps for gay and bisexual men.
Over 2016-2017, China-based Beijing Kunlun Tech paid almost $250million to purchase Grindr.
However, the purchase fell foul of US authorities, who were uncomfortable with a Chinese company holding the data of so many US citizens. In 2019, the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) ordered Kunlun to sell Grindr back. It was bought by a group of US-based investors, San Vicente Acquisition, for $608m.
Grindr says it turned $147million in revenue in 2021, representing year-on-year growth of 30%. It says it has 11million active monthly users, of which 723,000 pay for its premium services. Users spend on average 61 minutes per day on the app.
After going public, Grindr predicts a “post-transaction enterprise value of $2.1 billion”.
Grindr is not the first dating app to go down this route. Match, which owns Tinder and Hinge has done so, and is worth around $20billion. Bumble has also gone public.
Grindr says it has organized, “a majority LGBTQ+ identifying Board of Directors.”
One of those board members is the CMO of Hootsuite, Maggie Lower. She said, “Grindr is iconic. It plays in the space between dating service and social network, and acts as connective tissue for large segments of the LGBTQ+ community. There is more we can do; connection technology is dynamic and fast moving, and the opportunities for Grindr are enormous.”
Grindr says the deal with Tiga Acquisition Corp. may need to be cleared with CFIUS before going ahead.