Exclusive: Sean Rad Out As Tinder CEO. Inside The Crazy Saga...
J Thoendell stashed this in Apps
Sean Rad, the cofounder and CEO of Tinder, an app that over the past two years has completely reinvented how young people date and mate, has been generating news regularly. And sitting in his room last month at Philadelphia’s stylish Hotel Palomar, the 28-year-old was preparing to make more. Occupying a keynote slot at the Forbes 30 Under 30 Summit—sandwiched somewhere between Peter Thiel, Monica Lewinsky, Oculus VR founder Palmer Luckey and Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai—Rad was planning to unveil Tinder’s first-ever revenue generator, a premium service that will go atop the otherwise free app. Major league stuff.
Instead, the big news found him. Looking down at his phone, Rad saw IAC’s Sam Yagan calling. Through one of the more convoluted arrangements in tech startups,Barry Diller’s IAC owns a majority of Tinder, making Yagan, IAC’s digital dating point man, Rad’s de facto boss. The overlord got right to the point: Rad was out as CEO of the company he had started, one which has managed to nail four of the hottest themes in tech today: social discovery, gamification, location and messaging.
A dazed Rad tried to process what he’d just heard. “I went through every stage of mourning at once—fear, a bruised ego,” he now says, reflecting. “I started thinking about the company and my whole future.”
Tinder's freemium service will let users see people in other cities.
Rad wouldn’t give me specifics but hinted that one of the new features will focus on travel and could help Tinder move into markets beyond dating. Currently location based, Tinder lets you swipe though an endless stream of photos of people looking to meet up — but only the city you’re currently in. The new premium service will likely let users break away from location limits and expand their Tinder reach. “We are adding features users have been begging us for,” said Rad. “They will offer so much value we think users are willing to pay for them.”
Rad says there will be no changes to the current, free Tinder app. Tinder has been growing like crazy. Rad won’t comment on user numbers but did say that people now swipe through 1.2 billion Tinder profiles a day — that’s billion with a “B.” He also says that each day Tinder makes more than 15 million matches.