Dating App Grindr Sells Stake to Chinese Gaming Company

PHOTO:The Grindr app is seen on a smartphone, Dec. 26, 2015. Jonathan Brady/AP Photo
The Grindr app is seen on a smartphone, Dec. 26, 2015.

Grindr, the popular dating app for gay men, said today it has found a partner in a Chinese gaming company that will take a controlling stake in exchange for $93 million.

The investment, which marks the first time Grindr has raised capital from an outside investor, gives Beijing Kunlun Tech Co. a 60-percent stake in the Los Angeles-based company.

"For nearly seven years, Grindr has self-funded its growth, and in doing so, we have built the largest network for gay men in the world," Joel Simkhai, founder and CEO of Grindr, said today in a blog post. "We have taken this investment in our company to accelerate our growth, to allow us to expand our services for you, and to continue to ensure that we make Grindr the number one app and brand for our millions of users."

More than 2 million people use Grindr every day, according to the company. The app is available in 192 countries and shows users potential matches based on their location. The remaining 40 percent stake of Grindr is owned by Simkhai and the app's employees.

Simkhai said it would be "business as usual" at Grindr. However, he added the investment will allow the company to have more resources to add new features to the service this year.

With the investment, Kunlun, one of China's largest game developers, will be able to diversify its digital portfolio as the company continues to grow. In a filing with the Shenzen Stock Exchange in China, Beijing Kunlun noted the tremendous reach of Grindr and its loyal user base, who spend an average of 54 minutes a day using the app.

"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 to the New York Times. "We will continue to seek out and invest in high-quality technology companies led by top-tier management across the globe."

While Grindr is available in China, it's unclear what, if any, plans the company has to focus on the Chinese market. Homegrown app Blued, which connects gay men, continues to be one of the leading gay dating apps in China.