The gay hook-up app Grindr, which was sold in early June to a group called San Vicente Acquisition LLC for more than $600 million, received $1-$2 million in small business PPP loan funds from the Trump administration, according to media reports.
The Chinese firm Kunlun Tech agreed to sell Grindr in March for $608.5 million, after a U.S. government panel ordered the sale in response to national security and privacy concerns over the safety of personal data in the app. Reuters reported that the new buyers had ties to Kunlun.
The NYT reports: “Grindr generated net profit of about $31 million in 2019, according to Kunlun’s annual report. 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.”
The L.A. Times spoke last week with two of Grindr’s new owners, both of whom are straight: “Two of the investors in San Vicente, Jeff Bonforte and Rick Marini, announced in a company meeting that they would be Grindr’s chief executive and chief operating officer, respectively. Bonforte and Marini are managing partners at Catapult Capital, a San Francisco private equity firm, and have long careers in technology behind them. Bonforte has founded and run five start-ups, and spent five years as an executive at Yahoo running the internet company’s mail and social products. Marini has three start-ups under his belt and extensive experience as an investor.”
Said 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 it is today. I would say that the valuation paid accurately reflects that growth.”
The NY Post reports on other companies that have received the Trump administration’s small business loans: “Among the recipients included on the list released by the Trump administration on Monday was Kanye West’s Yeezy apparel brand, which received as much as $5 million from the PPP, according to the SBA.”
The Post also discussed the local luxury NY brands that benefited: “In addition to well-heeled cultural institutions like the Whitney Museum of American Art and the Brooklyn Academy of Music, high-end fashion brands like rag & bone and Alice + Olivia. Hipster temple SoHo House received as much as $4 million for its three locations in the Meatpacking District, Dumbo and East Village. Trendy lunch spot Chop’t received at least $5 million and coffee chain Gregory’s received at least $2 million, while Danny Meyer’s Union Square Cafe got $1 million to $2 million.”
CBS News adds: “The average loan amount for the entire program was $107,000, the Treasury Department said in a broad summary of the program. The government handed out $521 billion through the Paycheck Protection Program, a crucial piece of the government’s $2 trillion rescue package. The loans, which charge just 1% interest, can be forgiven if the businesses mostly use the money to continue paying their workers.”