Metro Weekly

Grindr Stock Surges 400% in Public Debut

LGBTQ dating and hookup app goes public at a time when tech stocks and dating apps are generally flailing.

Grindr, app, public
Highways Agency, via Flickr.

Shares of Grindr, the LGBTQ-focused dating and hookup app, skyrocketed more than 400% during its first day of public trading on Friday. 

The company first announced its intention to go public back in March as part of a merger with Tiga Acquisition Corp., a blank check company, as part of a deal that values the combined company at $2.1 billion. The merger provided Grindr with an estimated $384 million, which the company is expected to use to pay down its debt and strengthen its balance sheet, as Bloomberg previously reported. 

On Friday, Nov. 18, Grindr Inc. debuted on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbols GRND and GRND.WS. Within hours, its stocks, which debuted at $16.90 at 9:30 a.m., increased more than 400%, hitting a high of $71.51 around midday, according to MarketWatch. The stock ultimately closed at $36.50, a 214% increase from where it started. 

Grindr CEO George Arison, who began his tenure last month, cited the successful debut as a reflection of broader inclusion of LGBTQ people, both in the finance world and in the larger society.

“It’s a pretty incredible thing that the company whose primary user base is gay and bisexual men, built by and for the LGBTQ population, with an employee base that is heavy in that cohort of the population as well, is now going public,” he said in a statement. “It’s not something that would not have happened 20 years ago, probably wouldn’t have happened even 10 years ago.”

Despite a solid opening day, Grindr could face difficulties associated with the current bear market. Tech stocks in general have taken a dive, with information technology and communication sectors down 24.5% and 37.8%, respectively, this year.

Grindr also goes public at a time when other dating apps are flailing, with the dating apps Bumble and Match down 31.7% and 64.9%, respectively, since the beginning of the year.

The app may also soon face a challenge from newer apps like Motto, a new, unlisted platform created by Grindr founder Joel Simkhai, who left Grindr five years ago. Motto seeks to match customers based on common likes or interests, rather than Grindr’s interface, where customers have to scroll through rows of profiles to make a connection with someone.

Arison told CNBC that Grindr will try to separate itself from other dating apps by pitching itself as a social network, providing app users with LGBTQ-themed resources on serious health and social topics, including HIV and monkeypox prevention and voter engagement.

Arison has said the app will look into expanding monetizable offerings, like subscriptions and profile “boosting,” where a person can pay extra to have their profile noticed or pushed to the front of the “nearby” grid for a set amount of time, in the hope of attracting potential admirers. He also floated the idea of travel recommendations to enhance users’ experiences. 

Arison added that Grindr is unique because its high brand awareness among a niche market, which allows the company to spend less than 1% of revenue on marketing. 

Last year, Grindr enjoyed a user base of about 11 million daily users per day last year. Those users sent a combined 260 million messages during that period, and spent an average of 61 minutes per day on the platform. The company estimates the value of its “highly engaged user base in a large and untapped addressable market” at approximately $4 billion, reports CNBC.

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