Tinder CEO’s disastrous interview disavowed by Match ahead of IPO

19 Nov 2015

Sean Rad taking a picture of his 'screaming fans' at the Web Summit recently

The Match Group, which is due to launch its IPO tomorrow (20 November) on the New York Stock Exchange, valued at around $3bn, has disavowed a newspaper interview with Tinder CEO Sean Rad that can only be described as pretty bizarre.

In an interview with the London Evening Standard, Rad told how he spoke before a screaming audience at the Dublin Web Summit and how gratified he was that the audience was “bigger than Instagram’s”.

He also claimed to be addicted to Tinder himself.

But the parts of the interview that probably drew the most attention were where he confused the definition of sodomy and claimed to have turned down the advances of a really famous supermodel.

Rad, who was fired briefly last year before being reinstated, is in charge of one of the most popular mobile apps in the world among people looking for either relationships or casual sex.

After telling his story about the supermodel’s advances Rad attempts to describe how he finds intellectual qualities more attractive than looks.

In the interview he said: “Apparently there’s a term for someone who gets turned on by intellectual stuff. You know, just talking. What’s the word? His face creases with the effort of trying to remember. ‘I want to say ‘sodomy’?”

At that point his PR handler shrieks: “’That’s it! We’re going to be fired’.”

Rad compounded matters later in the article when he claimed to have done his “own background research” on a writer who he feels wrote an unflattering article about Tinder in Vanity Fair.

The interview has been shared far and wide just ahead of Tinder’s parent company Match Group’s IPO on the New York Stock Exchange at a valuation of $3bn. Tinder is one of several dating properties in the Match Group, alongside OkCupid and Match.

In a SEC filing, the Match Group distanced itself from Rad’s remarks.

“The article was not approved or condoned by, and the content of the article was not reviewed by, the Company or any of its affiliates. Mr Rad is not a director or executive officer of the Company and was not authorised to make statements on behalf of the Company for purposes of the article.

“The article noted that ‘Analysts believe the [Tinder] app, which launched in 2012, has around 80 million users worldwide and records 1.8 billion ‘swipes’ a day.’ While these statements were not made by Mr Rad, the Company notes that they are inaccurate and directs readers to the Preliminary Prospectus, which states that for the month of September 2015, Tinder had approximately 9.6 million daily active users, with Tinder users “swiping” through an average of more than 1.4 billion user profiles each day.”

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years