The OPW/iDate Weekly News Summary.
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Tinder Founders' Lawsuit Includes #MeToo Allegation Against Ex-CEO
YAHOO NEWS - Aug 14 - A lawsuit against Match Group includes an allegation of sexual misconduct against former CEO and Chairman Greg Blatt. The allegation was mentioned on page six of a lengthy complaint filed by Tinder's founders and early employees along with a handful of the dating app's current executives against Match Group and IAC, alleging a "scheme" to cheat them "out of billions of dollars by violating their contractual rights as option holders." The complaint goes on to accuse Blatt of groping and sexually harassing Tinder's VP of marketing and communications during and after Tinder's 2016 holiday party in LA. Defendants kept Blatt in place as Tinder's 'interim' CEO long enough to complete the private valuation and secret merger of Tinder. But just two weeks after their scheme concluded, defendants publicly announced Blatt's 'retirement' - rewarding him with a lucrative golden parachute.
Match Group CEO Sells $5M In Stock
PRESSORACLE - Aug 18 - Match Group CEO Amanda Ginsberg sold 106,850 shares of the company's stock on Tuesday, August 14th. The shares were sold at an average price of $49.37, for a total transaction of $5,275,184.50. Following the sale, she now owns 62,682 shares in the company, valued at ~ $3M.
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Bumble Launches A Fund To Invest In Other Female-Founded Startups
FORBES - Aug 15 - Bumble is launching Bumble Fund, a fund focused on investing in female-founded and female-led businesses. The fund, which Bumble says it has committed ~$1M to so far, will invest checks from $5k to $250k in companies that primarily serve women, with a focus on female founders from diverse backgrounds. Bumble's fund has already made commitments to a handful of businesses on an ad hoc basis. Those include prenatal and postpartum healthcare company Mahmee, beauty startup BeautyCon and swimwear startup Sofia Los Angeles, which was a winner of a pitch competition Bumble put on in the spring. Bumble also has invested in several female-focused investment funds including Female Founders Fund and Cleo Capital.
Tinder & Match Lawsuit: Match Group's Statement
TECH CRUNCH - Aug 14 - A group of Tinder founders and executives has filed a lawsuit against parent company Match Group and its controlling shareholder IAC. The plaintiffs in the suit include Tinder co-founders Sean Rad, Justin Mateen and Jonathan Badeen who still works at Tinder, as do plaintiffs James Kim (the company's vice president of finance) and Rosette Pambakian (its vice president of marketing and communications). The suit alleges that IAC and Match Group manipulated financial data in order to create "a fake lowball valuation", then stripped Rad, Mateen, Badeen and others of their stock options. The lawsuit also alleges that Greg Blatt, the Match CEO who became CEO of Tinder, groped and sexually harassed Pambakian at the company's 2016 holiday party, supposedly leading the company to "whitewash" his actions long enough for him to complete the valuation of Tinder and its merger with Match Group, and then to announce his departure. The plaintiffs are asking for "compensatory damages in an amount to be determined at trial, but not less than $2B."
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Coffee Meets Bagel Now Allows Mobile Phone Number Login
VENTURE BEAT - Aug 15 - Dating app Coffee Meets Bagel is giving users another way to sign in, as some remain wary about connecting to apps with their Facebook following the Cambridge Analytica scandal. They now have the option to sign in by providing a phone number instead. By August 20 all Android and iOS users will be able to choose between the two login options. Coffee Meets Bagel says it saw a 378% increase in the number of requests for alternative login options after the Cambridge Analytica news broke in March.
SeekingArrangement.com Goes After Alleged 'Extortion' Of Exposed Users
LAW.COM - Aug 18 - The suit claims that users of the site have had their photos and identities posted on PredatorExposed.com and PredatorAlerts.com, alongside allegations that they had attempted to pay for sex or made sexual advances to minors. The suit, filed Thursday in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, alleges Arman Ali and his Bangladesh-based business D4 Solutions posed as women seeking sugar relationships to get personal information and photographs from men on SeekingArrangement.com. Men's photos, names, addresses and other identifying information were then allegedly sold to and posted on PredatorExposed.com and PredatorAlerts.com, alongside allegations that they had attempted to pay for sex or had made sexual advances to minors. The men were then "referred to the removal sites where they are told that the posting can be removed for a fee, which generally ranges from a few hundred to even thousands of dollars," the complaint states. SeekingArrangement's parent company Reflex Media said PredatorExposed.com and PredatorAlerts.com are "extortion sites" that have "caused harm to Reflex Media and the SA members". Many impacted users ended their subscription to SeekingArrangement.com.
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Matrimony.com Strengthens Management At Senior-level
PRESS TRUST OF INDIA - Aug 14 - Online provider of matrimony-related service Matrimony.com has strengthened its management at the senior-level, as part of its expansion plan. Prasad Nelliparthi has been appointed as its chief human resources officer with immediate effect. Uma Srinivasan has taken over as Head (Talent Acquisition). Karthik Jagannathan has been appointed as senior VP and head of MatrimonyBazaar.com. The expansion plan includes launch of Matrimony Photography, Matrimony Bazaar and Matrimony Mandap service.
Online Dating In South Korea
KOREA HERALD - Aug 17 - The value of the domestic online dating industry in South Korea is now estimated at 70B won ($62M), according to a 2017 study released by Hongik University in Seoul. As of July, ~920K Koreans were seeking to find romantic partners through mobile dating apps, of which 81% were men and 62% were in their 20s or 30s, according to market research firm Nielsen Korea. More recently, Azar has emerged as the dating app preferred by the younger crowd, coming in No. 3 on the app store chart. Even though it is described as a mobile messaging app, it is also considered a dating app for Korean users since its main feature allows for meeting random people via video chat. Tinder made its debut in the Korean market in 2015. While online dating apps are popular, KakaoTalk, the country's most popular mobile messenger with some 40M users, is the prime battlefield of love.
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