Grindr, dating app valued at $620 million, cleared for small-business loan

FILE PHOTO: Grindr app is seen on a mobile phone in this photo illustration taken in Shanghai, China March 28, 2019. REUTERS/Aly Song/Illustration

(Reuters) - Grindr, the gay dating app valued at $620 million when it was sold recently by its Chinese owner, was approved for a $1 million to $2 million loan for small businesses suffering from the coronavirus outbreak, according to official U.S. data released on Monday.

China’s Beijing Kunlun Tech Co Ltd sold West Hollywood, California-based Grindr last month to an investor group called San Vicente Acquisition LLC, after the U.S. government ordered the divestment amid concerns over the safety of personal data stored in the app.

Grindr generated net profit of about $31 million in 2019, according to Kunlun’s annual report.

“This is a company that is doing well over $100 million of revenue (annually). It is highly profitable and growing quickly,” Grindr Chief Operating Officer Rick Marini told the Los Angeles Times in an interview last week.

As part of the loan application, companies had to certify in good faith that “current economic uncertainty makes this loan necessary to support” their ongoing operations. A Grindr spokeswoman did not immediately respond to a request for comment on why the company applied for the loan and whether it had received and used it.

Aid provided under the Paycheck Protection Program allows small businesses hurt by the pandemic to apply for a forgivable government-backed loan from a lender.

In the scramble to distribute funds, the program was beset by technology glitches, documentation snags and revelations that some lenders prioritized their most profitable clients, leading to some affluent companies receiving funds while less wealthy borrowers missed out.

Grindr retained 69 jobs as a result of its application, according to the data released by the U.S. Treasury Department and Small Business Administration on Monday.

Reporting by Echo Wang in New York; Editing by Greg Roumeliotis and Tom Brown