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Tinder Ends The Summer Looking Strong

After A Bumpy Month, Dating App Keeps Steady

It’s been a big week for Tinder, the mobile dating (in the loosest sense of the word) app which has revolutionised how young people meet potential partners in many parts of the world.

Some weeks ago, Tinder was embroiled in a rather ugly kerfuffle over some less than pleasant texts and emails sent from former CMO Justin Mateen to founding employee and former VP of marketing Whitney Wolfe. Ms. Wolfe brought a lawsuit against Mr. Mateen, alleging sexual harassment and sexual discrimination as well as claiming that Mateen’s contact with her was alternately racist, sexist, and just generally pretty unsavoury. Ms. Wolfe and Mr. Mateen had a brief romantic relationship, the ending of which the latter apparently did not take all that well.

This week the lawsuit was settled for an undisclosed sum, with no admission of wrongdoing. Justin Mateen is no longer with the company, but is an active angel investor in the Silicon Valley scene as well as having some real estate concerns. CEO Sean Rad, who ignored Ms. Wolfe’s initial complaints and later fired her after she offered to resign in exchange for severance and stock, remains in his position.

Apart from this upset, Tinder’s been having a pretty great summer. At the Disrupt SF 2014 event Sean Rad revealed that the app gets 1.2 billion swipes and 13 million matches on a daily basis, and although the company remains resolutely tight-lipped about how many actual users the service has estimates put it in the ten million range as of April this year.

Naturally these kinds of user populations raise questions about monetisation. As of yet Tinder isn’t profitable, funded as it is by the InterActiveCorp (IAC) which has major stakes in plenty of tech companies and start-ups across the US – it also owns OkCupid and Ask.fm. Rad, however, has refused to disclose any potential methods by which the company may start to become profitable or even to be pinned down to a time frame. What is known, however, is that the company is in talks with Benchmark Capital for funding, and that the investment firm has put a valuation on Tinder of somewhere between $750 million and $1 billion. This is partly based on the assumption that Tinder will begin to monetise some time next year, and will produce revenue of around $180 million.

Much like fellow upstart Snapchat, Tinder’s cachet of cool (as well as its proven ability to attract and hold users) makes it a very attractive prospect for marketers. As with Snapchat, however, a transition into becoming a profitable enterprise must be handled delicately. That collection of engaged young users which Tinder holds will spook easily, and there’s no shortage of alternatives waiting in the wings praying for a giant to fall.

Although given the recent news that both Britney Spears and Lindsey Lohan are on the app, it may be that nothing can hold them back now.

Douglas is an English Literature graduate who has written about everything from music to food to theatre, now a content creator for Social Media Frontiers. No topic too large or too small. Follow him @DouglasAtSMF.

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Tinder Ends The Summer Looking Strong Reviewed by Anonymous on Friday, September 12, 2014 Rating: 5
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