Giving Compass’ Take:
• Le Geng, Yulin Li, and Yong Wang explain how an app, Blued, is turning a profit and promoting LGBTQ rights, creating a sustainable model for progress.
• How can funders best work to advance the rights of LGBTQ individuals globally?
Through cross-sector partnerships and identifying ways to meet the needs of the community, China-based Blued is a business success story that also proves to be an asset for LGBTQ rights, ensuring that members’ voices are both heard and visible.
With 40 million registered users around the world (30 percent of which live outside of China) and valued at $600 million, the Beijing-based app Blued has become a global business empire. In February 2018, Blued—a social platform for gay communities—raised $100 million in a Series D funding round—its seventh round of fundraising since its establishment in 2012.
Before Blued was founded, it started as a personal website in 2000 that was known as danlan.org(danlan means “light blue” in Chinese), which served as an online discussion forum for the gay community. Today, besides being China’s largest gay dating app, Blued is a pillar for the LGBTQ community, offering online and offline services ranging from fertility care to HIV/AIDS prevention education to information about HIV screenings. Users can share updates and photos, watch live broadcasts, play games, and even shop through the app.
While Blued’s business success is impressive, its story shows that even in China, where homosexuality was considered a mental illness until only a handful of years ago (though the situation has vastly improved thanks to globalized thinking that has resulted from access to the Internet), an organization can strengthen the LGBTQ community and advocate for LGBTQ rights while simultaneously being profitable.
Read the full article about Blued by Le Geng, Yulin Li, and Yong Wang at Stanford Social Innovation Review.
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