Bonforte: It’s worth saying as well that no matter who had these jobs, they were going to have blind spots. The diversity of the LGBTQ community is so significant than one voice is not enough anyway. ” I’ve run businesses where I was not the primary user, and the process by which you do right for the user base, for the business and for the community is the same. You have to listen. You have to be curious. You have to be open. You have to be transparent.
And there is no binary state of a product being perfectly safe or perfectly unsafe
Bonforte: It’s a rare opportunity to be able to buy a beloved brand that has had such a huge impact and is in such good shape. From the business side, it was also a rare opportunity to be able to invest in and buy a dominant player in this category that has incredibly loyal and happy users, and that has been there for over a decade.
I think it’s an honor to be an investor in Grindr as well, because it’s played such a role in the LGBT community over the last decade. It’s important that the business be healthy and successful, and that the product is safe and works. We take that responsibility seriously.
And the more we learned about Grindr, the more excited we got. I just got off two phone calls this morning, and I was, like, really jazzed. It’s gonna be amazing. It’s gonna be hard. It’s gonna be really hard.
When you ran a gay dating service 10 years ago, users – and this is still true around the world –
Beijing Kunlun Tech paid $93 million for a majority stake in Grindr in 2016 and an additional $150 million in 2018 to take full ownership of the company. It’s reported that your investment group paid over $600 million. Why is the company worth that much today?
Marini: This is a company that’s doing well over $100 million of revenue [annually]. It is highly profitable and growing quickly. When Kunlun came in roughly three years ago to acquire the company, it was not nearly as large as down dating review it is today. I would say that the valuation paid accurately reflects that growth.
Grindr has come under fire for data privacy issues in recent years, mostly related to sharing user data with third-party advertisers. How do you plan to address those problems?
When I was at Yahoo and working on a product with 350 million users, we encountered data issues, global privacy issues – and encountered them more quickly than Grindr did, since it’s a much smaller business.
One of the advantages we have is bringing in that experience. Last time I worked at Yahoo, I had 3,700 people reporting into me, running multiple billions of dollars of the business. And it was global, and I had been through the hacking scandal [an incident that came to light in 2017 in which all of Yahoo’s 3 billion accounts were hacked]. When you go through something like that, you learn so much that you can’t learn in a textbook.
Bonforte: No, we wouldn’t talk about that even under the best of circumstances. Can we make the product safer? Yes. Can we make data more secure? Yeah. It’s just evolving.
I will say some things about Grindr are quite good already from a privacy perspective. There is a lot of protection in the product just from how it’s architected, and I’m not even sure they were architecting for those reasons. are physically endangered by participating in the product, so privacy and safety and security was built in simply in the level of anonymity and how data is stored and not stored.