Grindr Founder and CEO Joel Simkhai

Grindr Founder and CEO Joel Simkhai

Grindr, the world’s largest dating app for gay men, announced Monday it has taken a majority-stake investment from Chinese publicly-listed game development company Beijing Kunlun Tech Co.

The deal will give Beijing Kunlun a 60 per cent stake in the dating company and is worth US$93 million on a US$155-million valuation. Beijing Kunlun bought 98,448,000 shares in Grindr.

The investment marks the first time Grindr has taken outside investment.

On the website, Grindr Founder and CEO Joel Simkhai said,

“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. 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.”

Grindr COO Carter McJunkin told The New York Times Beijing Kunlun was the right match because of its digital prowess as well as the Chinese company’s willingness to let the dating app retain its current management strategy and core team.

As for Beijing Kunlun, the investment is part of a diversification strategy which involved a RMB180 million (US$27.4 million) investment into electronic retailer Qufenqi’s technology firm just last week.

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While operating in similar realms, the dating and hook-up app works differently from its famous cousin Tinder. Profile text plays a more significant role and instead of swiping left or right, a collage of men appears and users get to choose the profile of interest with a tap of the finger.

While it is unclear what Grindr has planned for China, it does face competition from the dating app Blued, which has a strong presence in Chinese Tier-1 cities.

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An interesting aspect of the investment is that China is not an overly gay-friendly country. While the scene certainly exists, there is no official recognition of same-sex relationships.

In July, the company partnered with Beijing Gender Health and Education to run a ‘Grindr for Equality’ campaign to raise awareness about sexual diversity in China.

With headquarters in Los Angeles, Grindr boasts 2 million active users who spend an impressive average of 54 minutes daily on the service. The company operates in 196 countries and on Sunday the fashion mogul J.W. Anderson live streamed his fall show exclusively on the app.

Image Credit: Grindr