The CEO of Blued, the world’s biggest gay dating app, says he would like to see his company make a stock market launch in the next five years.
Based in China, Blued has 3million daily active users. By comparison, Grindr has 2million daily users.
Blued was launched by tech businessman Ma Bouli, more commonly known by his online pseudonym Geng Le.
The former policeman began his entrepreneur career back in 2000 with the launch of gay web portal Danlan.org, before going on to launch the Blued app – part of his Blue City empire – in 2008.
Blued’s growth has been phenomenal and an international version of the app was launched in February of this year.
In June, Geng Le flew seven Chinese same-sex couples to Los Angeles to get married. The gesture was ostensibly to raise awareness about same-sex marriage back home in China but it also did no harm in raising Blued’s profile in the US.
In an interview at a TechCrunch event in Beijing last week, Geng Le said that Blued soon expected to close its third fundraising round, reports Wall Street Journal: the fundraising is expected to raise $50 to $100 million (€47-€93million).
‘We continue to have deep connections with some of the top-tier Chinese Internet companies,’ he said. ‘They want us to grow our business.’
He said that his goal was to take Blued public within the next five years. In an effort to diversify the app’s appeal, additional features that will soon be added include games.
During the talk, Geng Le talked about the fact that his businesses had previously had a difficult relationship with Chinese authorities, which had wanted to shut him down in the mid-00s.
However, he said that a change happened when China hosted the Olympics in 2008 and the country wanted to project a more modern and tolerant image. He also talked about partnering with AIDS prevention agencies and helping to spread important messages about safer sex information to China’s estimated 70million LGBT community.
In an interview with Gay Star Business in the summer, Geng Le was similarly keen to stress Blued’s work in the field of HIV-prevention, and that it should not be seen simply as a Chinese equivalent of Grindr.
‘Grindr is a fairly simple app that really only has one function – to show you the people around you and see what’s going on with that. It’s very basic,’ he said.
‘Blued is more about community building. It’s more like a gay Facebook. You can join chatrooms, you can follow people, post updates and photos, get involved with conversations.’
Grindr has been rumored to be seeking a buyer for the past few months.
Documents leaked as part of the Ashley Madison hack in the summer revealed that Grindr was projected to make $38million (€35million) in revenue in 2015 – potentially rising to $77million (€72million) by 2018.
Although such figures are impressive, they’re dwarfed by the size of the straight internet dating market. In July, Match Group (owners of Match.com and Tinder) was reported to be buying PlentyOfFish for $575million (€536million), ahead of a planned stock market flotation.
Blued has been approached for further comment.