Today, Tinder is launching a new M&A branch of the company called Swipe Ventures, which will be led by Sean Rad.
As part of the launch, Rad will step down as Tinder CEO and become chairman of both Tinder and Swipe Ventures, with Match CEO and Chairman Greg Blatt swapping out as Tinder chairman to become Tinder CEO. He will remain chairman and CEO of Tinder parent company Match.
Put more simply:
Sean Rad = chairman of Tinder and chairman of Swipe Ventures
Greg Blatt = CEO and chairman of Match and CEO of Tinder
According to the press release, Swipe Ventures will focus on expanding Tinder’s footprint through acquisitions, new business development and investments in new and existing companies. These acquisitions/investments will focus both on the dating space and social spaces overall.
Tinder is not new to the world of M&A, as the company has already acquired Tappy and Humin, and invested in social app Hey! Vina.
Even before Match Group spun out of IAC, the company has arguably done more with mergers and acquisitions than it has with actual innovation. OkCupid, Plenty of Fish and HowAboutWe were all Match Group acquisitions, and Tinder was started out of an IAC incubator called Hatch Labs.
“Every company, from Google to Facebook to Snapchat, is where it is because of smart acquisitions that are complementary to its core business or long-term objectives,” said Sean Rad in an interview with TechCrunch. “It’s an important strategy for Tinder’s growth and that’s why we are taking it so seriously.”
It’s also worth considering that this is the second time Sean Rad has left his CEO role at Tinder.
The first time, Rad was forced out of the position following a sexual harassment lawsuit, which was eventually settled with no admission of wrongdoing on either side.
However, it took less than five months for Match to re-instate Rad as Tinder CEO, bumping former eBay exec Chris Payne out of the company.
This time, Rad says that the transition is based around the state of Tinder today. He said that he and the team have accomplished the two objectives he had when he returned as CEO nearly 18 months ago: to scale the organization and capabilities to manage a global footprint, and to successfully monetize in a way that would fund the long-term objectives of the company.
“While I’ll still be meaningfully involved in Tinder’s strategic direction and expanding the footprint of the product, this next step allows me to expand Tinder’s reach through a new vehicle focused on acquisitions and new businesses,” said Rad. “This is a new chapter in Tinder’s history, and I’m super excited about it.”
The exact amount of funds at Swipe Ventures’ discretion is not being disclosed, but Swipe Ventures will fall under the Tinder umbrella.
Here’s what Match Chairman and CEO (and now Tinder CEO) Greg Blatt said in a prepared statement:
A growth company like Tinder often requires operational and structural changes as it evolves through its multiple stages of development. This new configuration will allow Tinder to capture its full potential. I look forward to continuing to work with Sean and Tinder’s talented team and am eager to see the opportunities that we develop through Swipe Ventures. I’m confident that the incredible leadership we have throughout the rest of Match Group gives me the ability to devote more time to Tinder without our other businesses missing a beat. Overall, we’re rolling into 2017 with lots of opportunity ahead.
Tinder has launched a handful of new monetization tools beyond the Tinder Plus premium layer of the app. For example, the company launched Super Like in October 2015 (just after Rad returned as CEO) and, more recently, Tinder launched Tinder Boost, a way to pay to skip to the front of Tinder’s ever-growing feed of users.
Rad has played a huge role in the company’s monetization, but he says that he will still remain heavily involved in the strategic direction of the company.
Still, Tinder faces growing competition from a host of other players, including Badoo-owned Bumble (led by former Tinder VP of Marketing Whitney Wolfe) and a newly pivoted, premium Hinge. That said, the launch of Swipe Ventures may turn Tinder’s foes into friends.