Tinder Co-Founders' $2 Billion-Plus Legal Battle is Finally Getting Its Day in Court

Harri Weber

Harri is dot.LA's senior finance reporter. She previously worked for Gizmodo, Fast Company, VentureBeat and Flipboard. Find her on Twitter and send tips on L.A. startups and venture capital to harrison@dot.la.

Tinder Co-Founders' $2 Billion-Plus Legal Battle is Finally Getting Its Day in Court
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A multi-billion-dollar lawsuit waged by several Tinder co-founders and early employees is getting its day in court on Monday, more than three years after the former Tinder executives first launched their legal battle against Match Group and its former owner, IAC.


Tinder's two-time CEO and dot.LA investor Sean Rad, former CMO Justin Mateen, and others argue Match and IAC downplayed the dating app's growth potential and overestimated costs in 2017, with the alleged goal of watering down stock options awarded to Tinder's early team.

Lawyers for the former Tinder executives, who popularized swiping right for hookups and dates, said leadership at Match and IAC handed "bogus doom-and-gloom numbers" to two investment banks for an analysis of Tinder's worth, which pegged Tinder's valuation at $3 billion. The private assessment was used to determine the value of Rad, Mateen and others' options.

Former Match and Tinder CEO Greg Blatt had reportedly estimated the fast-growing service was worth $12 billion just a year earlier. But the suit alleges that by deliberately undervaluing Tinder, IAC and Match would be responsible for a smaller payout when the options were exercised.

The complaint also says Match and IAC covered up sexual assault allegations made against Blatt in order to carry out the plan.

Match, IAC and Blatt have denied the claims, while the plaintiffs seek at least $2 billion in damages.

"The company has nothing to hide," IAC said in May. "We did prepare for exactly what came to pass: Sean Rad making scurrilous accusations, completely unsupported by even the alleged victim, in an attempt to harm the company and improperly benefit himself," the firm said. IAC and Tinder did not respond to a request for further comment on the case.

IAC is a publicly-traded conglomerate that buys and spins out media and tech companies, such as Match, Vimeo, CollegeHumor, Tripadvisor, Angi (formerly Angie's List) and Ask Media Group (formerly Ask Jeeves).

Tinder was launched in 2012 out of IAC's former incubator, Hatch Labs, and is headquartered in West Hollywood. MatchGroup and IAC — which separated in 2020 — are based in New York, where the case will be tried by the state's Supreme Court.

The case could offer a rare peek behind the curtain on Tinder's early days as it proceeds remotely due to the ongoing pandemic.

Jury selection is expected to begin on Monday, and live-streamed opening statements are anticipated to start the following week.

Former Tinder executive Rosette Pambakian, who accused Blatt of assault and Match of retaliation, was originally named as a plaintiff in the case, but she dropped out amid litigation over a forced-arbitration clause. Pambakian hit Match and IAC in a separate lawsuit over the agreement. And earlier this year, a New York state judge cut the assault allegations from the co-founders' case.

Former Tinder executive and Bumble founder Whitney Wolfe Herd also isn't involved in the lawsuit. Herd sued Match and IAC over sexual harassment and sex discrimination in 2014, and she has argued she was wrongly stripped of her co-founder status at Tinder.

Tinder was reportedly valued around $10 billion in 2019 in a Match-commissioned analysis of its worth. And in August 2021, an independent Morgan Stanley analysis valued Tinder around $42 billion. The app is currently the top dating app by downloads in the U.S. as well as internationally, analytics firm App Annie told dot.LA.

Today, IAC and Match are collectively worth nearly $57.5 billion, while IAC chairman and Fox founder Barry Diller is estimated to be worth about $5.6 billion.

Back in 2014, Diller remarked that Tinder found success because IAC didn't get in the way. "And we were lucky enough — smart enough, I wouldn't say so much — that we left it alone to the founders," he recalled.

This story has been updated with new information on Tinder's valuation.

🚁 One Step Closer to Air Taxis in LA
Image Source: Joby Aviation

🔦 Spotlight

Joby Aviation, a pioneering electric air taxi company, has achieved a significant milestone by successfully flying a hydrogen-electric aircraft demonstrator for 523 miles with only water as a byproduct. This groundbreaking flight showcases the potential for emissions-free regional travel using vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft, eliminating the need for traditional runways. The company's innovative approach combines its existing battery-electric air taxi technology with hydrogen fuel cells, paving the way for longer-range, environmentally friendly air travel.

For LA residents, this development holds exciting implications for future transportation options. Joby's technology could potentially enable direct flights from LA to destinations like San Francisco or San Diego without the need to visit conventional airports, offering a cleaner and more convenient alternative to current travel methods. The company's progress in both battery-electric and hydrogen-electric aircraft positions it at the forefront of next-generation aviation, promising to revolutionize urban and regional mobility.

Notably, Joby Aviation has already made strides in Southern California by securing an agreement with John Wayne Airport earlier this year to install the region's first electric air taxi charger. This strategic move sets the stage for LA to be among the initial markets where Joby will launch its electric air taxi service. With plans to commence commercial operations as early as 2025 using its battery-electric air taxi, LA residents may soon have access to a fast, quiet, and environmentally friendly mode of transportation that could significantly reduce travel times and traffic congestion in the region. In the not too distant future, LA might find itself in an identity crisis without traffic and excess smog 🤞🤞.


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Fuel Innovation: 7 Unforgettable Team Building Experiences in LA
Image Source: Discover LA

In today's competitive business landscape, team building activities have emerged as a crucial tool for fostering a positive work environment, enhancing productivity, and crucially, improving employee retention. Studies have shown that such activities help employees feel valued, with one report indicating that 93% of those who felt appreciated were more motivated at work. Importantly, team building events may improve retention rates, as employees who feel connected to their colleagues and company culture are more likely to stay long-term. With these benefits in mind, let's explore some of the most engaging and effective team building activities available in Los Angeles.

Pickleball

Image Source: Modern Luxury Angelino

Pickleball is a fantastic team bonding activity because of the easy-to-grasp rules and gentle pace make it perfect for everyone, regardless of age or fitness level. The game thrives on communication and teamwork, as players must collaborate and strategize to outplay their opponents, boosting team cohesion. Plus, the lively, fast-paced action sparks friendly competition and laughter, creating a fun and spirited atmosphere that brings everyone closer together. Los Angeles boasts numerous pickleball courts that are easy to rent if you have your own equipment. If you need additional assistance organizing your pickleball outing, there are plenty of full-service companies ready to handle every detail for you.

Resources: Pickle Pop, Corporate Pickle


Escape Room

Image Source: The Escape Game

Escape rooms are a great way to build camaraderie. They require participants to work together, combining their problem-solving skills and creativity to overcome challenges and puzzles. The immersive and time-sensitive nature of escape rooms fosters collaboration and communication. Additionally, the shared experience of tackling complex tasks and reaching a common goal helps build trust and foster positive emotions among colleagues.

Resources: The Escape Game, 60Out


Day Trip to Catalina Island

Image Source: Love Catalina

Catalina Island is a perfect day trip for a team because it provides a break from the usual work environment, allowing team members to relax and connect in a new setting. Shared experiences during the trip, such as exploring new places and participating in fun activities, help build stronger relationships and foster a sense of camaraderie. There are numerous team-building activities such as an arboreal obstacle course, an island tour, scavenger hunts and more.

Resources: Catalina Island Group Activities


Top Golf

Image Source: Topgolf

Topgolf is an excellent team building event because it provides an inclusive, relaxed atmosphere that accommodates players of all skill levels, fostering personal connections and improving team morale. The unique blend of competition and entertainment creates an ideal setting for building trust, enhancing communication, and revealing hidden skills among team members. Additionally, Topgolf offers structured team building packages with guided activities, discussion prompts, and lessons on culture, change, collaboration, and strategy, making it a versatile and effective platform for strengthening relationships and boosting overall team performance.

Resources: Topgolf El Segundo


SoFi Stadium Tour

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A SoFi Stadium tour offers a unique, behind-the-scenes experience of one of the world's most advanced sports venues, allowing team members to explore exclusive areas like premium suites, team locker rooms, and the player tunnel together. The tour provides a shared, memorable experience that can foster camaraderie and spark conversations among team members, regardless of their interest in sports. Additionally, the stadium's state-of-the-art features and impressive architecture can inspire creativity and innovation, while the group setting encourages interaction and collaboration, making it an engaging and enjoyable activity for teams of various sizes and backgrounds

Resources: SoFi Stadium Group Tours


Corporate Volunteering

Image Source: L.A. Works

Volunteer work serves as an excellent team building activity by uniting employees around a shared, meaningful cause, fostering a sense of purpose and collective accomplishment. It provides opportunities for team members to collaborate in new ways, often revealing hidden strengths and leadership qualities that may not be apparent in the regular work environment. Additionally, engaging in community service can boost morale, enhance the company's reputation, and instill a sense of pride among employees, leading to improved workplace relationships and increased job satisfaction.

Resources: Habitat for Humanity, L.A. Works, VolunteerMatch


Corporate Improv Sessions

Image Source: Improv for the People

A corporate improv class encourages spontaneity, creativity, and quick thinking, skills that are valuable in the workplace. It promotes active listening and collaboration, as participants must work together to create scenes and respond to unexpected situations, fostering better communication and trust among team members. Additionally, the playful and often humorous nature of improv helps break down barriers, reduces stress, and creates a shared positive experience that can improve team morale and cohesion long after the event.

Resources: Improv-LA, Groundlings, Improv for the People

🎬 Paramount and Skydance Are Back On
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Happy Friday Los Angeles! Hope you all had a fantastic Fourth!!

🔦 Spotlight

Paramount and Skydance Media have rekindled talks to merge after negotiations abruptly halted in June. The proposed deal, contingent on approval from Paramount’s board, aims to combine Paramount’s extensive media holdings—including CBS, MTV, and Nickelodeon—with Skydance’s film expertise showcased in hits like "Top Gun: Maverick." This merger signals a potential transformation in the media landscape, positioning the new entity to compete more effectively amid challenges from streaming services and the decline of traditional cable TV.

Led by Shari Redstone, Paramount’s controlling shareholder via National Amusements, the deal represents a pivot towards revitalizing Paramount’s strategic direction amidst financial struggles and shareholder concerns. The involvement of major investors like RedBird Capital Partners and David Ellison underscores the financial backing aimed at stabilizing Paramount’s operations and addressing its $14 billion debt burden. Importantly, the agreement includes provisions to protect National Amusements from potential legal challenges, addressing previous hurdles that stalled earlier negotiations.

The deal also includes a 45-day period for Paramount to explore alternative offers, highlighting continued interest from other potential buyers like Barry Diller’s IAC and media executive Edgar Bronfman Jr. This flurry of activity underscores the significant stakeholders’ interest in Paramount’s future and its potential as a key player in a rapidly evolving media industry.


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  • Sidecar Health, a startup that offers personalized health insurance plans to businesses that allow members to see any doctor and pay directly at the time of service, raised a $165M Series D led by Koch Disruptive Technologies. - learn more

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