Why IAC is 'Perfectly Happy' Ignoring Tinder's 'Faux' Billion-Dollar Value

SAN DIEGO, CALIF. (TheStreet) -- You can chuck Tinder's supposed $1 billion valuation out the window, because Interactive Corporation (IACI)  Chairman Barry Diller pays absolutely no heed to how the outside world values his company's hotter-than-hot, swipe-to-match mobile dating app. 

Not only does IAC proudly own Tinder (reportedly 60%) but the media conglomerate is content financing the app's growth in-house, minus the interference of the venture capital world and its extra bubbly valuations, Diller made clear Wednesday afternoon at the Business Insider Ignition Conference in New York.

Two-year-old Tinder came to life as a product of IAC's Hatch Labs, a now defunct mobile incubator. Seemingly overnight, Tinder cropped up on college campuses and spread its swipe-right-to-like dating service around the globe. As of September, Tinder had been downloaded more than 40 million times, and its users are now swiping right or left more than 1 billion times per day, Diller said. The IAC entity also just recently started playing with in-app upgrades to capitalize on its popularity. 

The application's founding narrative is one filled with controversy -- well, not if you ask Diller. That story is pretty simple. In his words, Tinder is a rare success that came out of a "little incubation group" that the company set up three years ago to experiment with mobile products. And Tinder is most certainly not a startup.

"[Tinder is] not a VC model, because we're not a VC," Diller said. "We're not, every three months, creating a new faux value for it because we don't ... need any money. We're perfectly happy to finance it all ... we're not setting valuations relative to that."

The point is that IAC isn't a believer in the billion-dollar private market valuations for its bits and pieces, despite the fact that its market capitalization is minuscule compared to valuations for high-growth startups, such as Snapchat and Uber. An independent Tinder would have no problem raising capital at an equally eye-popping valuation.

No matter. The IAC executive's statements eradicate the possibility of Tinder as a venture-backed startup, though Diller stopped just short of ruling out the potential spin off of its Match dating division, as Wall Street seems to want

"You have to think of IAC this way, which is ... the IAC system is responsible for seven public companies that have a total market cap of $36 billion," Diller said, citing TripAdvisor as the prime example.

IAC acquired TripAdvisor (TRIP) for $200 million and, in 2005, spun it off as part of its travel group under Expedia (EXPE) . TripAdvisor was later spun out as its own public company in 2011. Both Expedia and Tripadvisor now have market caps worth around $11 billion.

IAC shares closed Wednesday at $64.96, valuing the company at $5.42 billion.

--Written by Jennifer Van Grove in San Diego, Calif.

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