Grindr is coming out on the public market. Or, in other terms, the company is making the private into the public—a move its kinda already enacted with user data.
On Monday, the world’s most popular queer dating app announced it would soon become a publicly traded company. To enable the move to the markets, Grindr, which has been around since 2009 and now has about 11 million monthly users, is being acquired by a special acquisition company called Tiga Acquisition Corp.
Tiga is a “blank check company” based in the Cayman Islands and led by two former Goldman Sachs guys. The post-transaction, new public company will be called Grindr Inc., and is valued at an estimated $2.1 billion.
Tiga plans to put up $384 million to seal the deal, including $284 million in cash in trust, and an additional $100 million in a forward purchase agreement. In their press statement, Grindr said those funds will be used to pay off debt and “fund planned growth initiatives.” Once all is said and done, Grindr’s existing equity holders will keep an estimated 78% of the company, according to a press release from Tiga.
The acquisition was unanimously approved by both company’s boards, and is expected to close in the later half of this year, so Grindr Inc. won’t be hitting the NASDAQ until then.
“Grindr is the leading platform focused on the LGBTQ+ community for digital connection and engagement. We have a near ubiquitous global brand in the community we serve, impressive scale, best-in-class user engagement metrics and adjusted EBITDA margin, and we’re still just beginning our monetization and growth journey,” said Grindr CEO, Jeff Bonforte, in the company’s statement. It’s worth pointing out though, that Grindr’s “monetization journey” hasn’t been without some speed bumps so far.
The app, which lets users connect with each other based on proximity and preference, has faced recent flack for selling off location and other sensitive data rather indiscriminately. The company’s controversial former practices were first revealed in a Wall Street Journal investigation earlier this month. The company updated its policies in 2020, and claims that users’ location data is now closed off to buyers.
Although it’s not alone in the world of sketchy dating app data dealings, Grindr is particularly notable for the preciseness of some of its (formerly publicly available) location data and the extra-sensitive nature that data has because of, well, homophobia and transphobia.
In one case, tracking data from Grindr reportedly led to the expulsion and public outing of a Catholic priest. And, on top of location data, in a 2020 Norwegian report, researchers found that Grindr was selling off users’ device identifiers, age, gender, and relationship preferences to advertising partners. In 2018, Grindr was even found to be sharing users’ HIV statuses with advertisers.
Hopefully in this move to go public, Grindr learns how to manage the private a little better.