Industry insiders expect mobile dating app Tinder to be valued somewhere between $750 million and $1 billion, as rumours of a major investment deal pick up steam, just days after the company settled its high-profile sexual harassment lawsuit.
Appearing for the first time since the inter-Tinder legal dispute was resolved, and co-founder Justin Mateen resigned, Tinder CEO Sean Rad told TechCrunch Disrupt start-up conference that the expected investment deal is just a "rumour."
He said: "We're in the fortunate position where we have internal sources of funding. We don't need to raise outside sources of capital, but it's something we think about often."
According to TechCrunch sources, Benchmark Capital, whose previous investments include Instagram and Dropbox, have prepared a funding package that would value Tinder somewhere between $750 million and $1 billion.
A recent Barclays report also speculated Tinder's value at around the $1 billion mark, based on intelligence that the company plans to begin monetization next year. First year revenue is projected to be $180 million.
Rad was coy on the subject of how the app will make money, telling the conference: "you'll find out."
He said: "If we're going to charge for something, does this help users even if we didn't make money? We can add value to the user experience and charge for it and people will be willing to pay for it."
Any potential investment deal could be complicated by the app's ownership by IAC, who brought the developers together in a 2012 incubator.
With the resolution to Tinder's legal dispute, however terrible, a major investment obstacle has been overcome.
Cofounder Justin Mateen resigned following revelations that he sexually harassed Whitney Wolfe, who also helped develop the mobile dating app. In a series of messages, he allegedly called her a "gold digger" and a "whore." The two had previously dated.
Addressing the controversy, Rad said: "I'd do so many things differently. Justin and Whitney were my best friends. Creating boundaries early on would have been healthy."
As it approaches its second birthday, Tinder claims to have over 10 million daily users, and has made three billion matches.