Big bucks for love and hook-ups
Grindr, which has over 10.8 million monthly active users, has embarked on its next chapter: as the company plans to float through a merger with a SPAC investment company, in a deal that values the app at 1.7 billion pounds. This, in short, means Grindr is now going public; a deal likely to ensure the longevity of an app that is an integral part of the LGBTQ+ community.
Gary Hsueh, the Chief Financial Officer of Grindr, which is based in West Hollywood recently said in an interview with Bloomberg, “From our perspective, we’re ready to be a public company.” Hsueh continued to detail how the decision to go through a SPAC, rather than a traditional initial public offering “made more sense because it had certainty and that’s even more important today than it was a year ago when the market was different” – referring to the repercussions of lockdowns, which restricted the freedom of movement.
Since its launch in 2009, Grindr has become somewhat of a cultural phenomenon within the queer community. In recent years, knowledge of the app has expanded into the mainstream, thanks to the hilariously witty Instagram accounts, such as @best_of_grindr – which posts sassy memes to its 2.4 million+ followers. Although mainly used by Gay men, it is the virtual meeting space for LGBTQ+ people to meet, with the hope of finding friends, relationships, and of course, hook-ups.
In recent years, Grindr has gained bad press within the queer community after fears that a hostile Chinese government could access the personal data of US users. The news came in 2019, when the Committee of Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) – an organisation that vets for potential national security risks – ordered to sell Grindr, which they did, for an eye-watering $608 million dollars.
As more and more young people are identifying as queer, Grindr as a business is expected to continue to thrive. “The number of people who identify as part of the queer community has increased so dramatically,” says the current Chief Executive Officer, Jeff Bonforte, who is planning on stepping down as CEO. “It has been the longstanding goal of Grindr’s current ownership and management that Grindr be led by members of the LGBTQ+ community,” said the company in a public statement after announcing the deal. “Working together, Grindr’s board and management have identified and been in discussions with a potential new chief executive officer candidate who would bring a depth and breadth of experience across technology, finance, and management, including time spent in an executive leadership role at a public company,” the statement continues.
In recent years, the LGBTQ+ community has seen a rise in homophobia. And so, privacy and security are increasingly becoming a priority for users of queer dating apps. Let’s hope that the latest deal will put the user, and their sensitivities at the heart of the companies agenda.