They say sex sells, and cliche could not be more accurate in the case of dating tool Grindr, which sold a majority stake to Chinese gaming company Beijing Kunlun World Wide Technology Co. for $93 million, valuing the app at $248 million, based on nearly $40 million in 2015 revenue.
“It will generally be business as usual for us here at Grindr, but with a renewed sense of purpose and additional resources to deliver a great product to you,” Grindr founder and CEO Joel Simkhai announced in a blog post today. “We hope you are enjoying our app and know you will be delighted by the new features and services we have planned this year.”
Grindr boasts nearly two million daily users, dominating the market, but is facing stiff competition for more niche apps such as Scruff, Hornet, Distinc.tt, which caters to young gay men, and more mainstream ones like Tinder, which allows users to search by sexual orientation. The cash infusion will allow Simkhai to pursue a broader lifestyle vision beyond dating and hookups, where it has thrived. An earlier effort to expand into opposite-sex dating, Blendr, did not succeed.
The investment is noteworthy not just for the huge valuation but for the involvement of a Chinese firm. The nation still fails to recognize same-sex marriage, and while the LGBT community is finding increasing support, homosexuality is considered taboo. But that didn’t stop a Chinese entity from being the proud owner of the largest collection of sexually explicit messages (not to mention images) on the planet.
Grindr has also been known to play a role in the politics of outing. In fact, an antigay preacher caught red handed sending sexually explicit messages to a young man last year became one of Queerty’s most popular posts: Grindr Screenshots Reveal Antigay Pastor Is A Top Who Likes To Cuddle.