Gay dating app Grindr gets $93-million investment from Chinese company

Gay dating app Grindr has handed majority ownership to Chinese gaming company Beijing Kunlun World Wide Technology Co. for $93 million, valuing the Hollywood start-up at $155 million post-investment.

Grindr had been exploring a sale or fundraising round for much of last year.

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For the Record

7:32 p.m.: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated Grindr's valuation is $215 million. It is $155 million.

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The app has become a go-to hookup app for men looking for same-sex relationships, getting about 2 million daily users. But the company has sought to play a bigger role, beyond matchmaking, in the lives of its users and the investment is aimed at accelerating that process. Grindr, launched in 2009, also has faced competition from apps like Scruff and Tinder since then.

Documents leaked last summer said Grindr expected to generate about $38 million in advertising and subscription revenue in 2015.

“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,” founder and Chief Executive Joel Simkhai said in a blog post announcing the funding Monday.

The investment, he said, would mean “business as usual,” with “a renewed sense of purpose and additional resources.”

The company didn’t respond to a request to comment.

Kunlun went public on the Chinese stock market about a year ago. The company relies on mobile games aimed at Chinese consumers for most of its revenue.

Kunlun has been making investments in China and across the globe as the mobile games market at home begins to flatten out. Among its recent investments are a groceries delivery company, a livestreaming app and an online electronics shop.

The investment is noteworthy because Chinese authorities do not recognize same-sex marriages or civil unions, and being publicly gay remains taboo in China. But Chinese gay rights activists have scored some recent victories, and the increased pressure may begin to open some doors, activists have said.

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Times staff writer Shan Li contributed to this report.

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