That’s because Fridae, a Singapore-based gay social network with a strong Asia presence, has announced a strategic alliance with LGBT Capital to “further develop a world class LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) operation in Asia to support this rapidly developing market and empower the LGBT community.”
The news was announced on 16th September.
(Men gathering at the annual Pink Dot in Singapore, a signature event that celebrates diversity. Photo: Missybossy)
The company was co-founded by Dr Stuart Koh and Robert Yeoh in 2000 (way before Facebook). Robert, unfortunately, died of pneumonia seven years later. The web portal claims to have half a million registered users, 1.5 million visitors, and 30 million pageviews a month. That’s about 20 pageviews per user per month. Hmm…
So, what does this mean for Fridae? LGBT Capital will invest an undisclosed sum in the social network, and work closely with the company to develop both its commercial business and “impact investment” capabilities through the establishment of a Fridae Foundation.
This probably means that the Foundation would become a vehicle to invest in other LGBT-friendly projects. They would expect not just financial gain, but also social returns. Through the Foundation, they also hope to develop its HIV/AIDS education program and strengthen support for the community.
LGBT Capital co-founder Paul Thompson will also serve as Executive Chairman of Fridae to steer the company forward. They plan to strengthen its news operations for the Lesbian and Transgender sector, and launch a Fridae mobile app.
While Asians are often generalized as having more conservative attitudes towards homosexuality, the pink dollar in the region cannot be underestimated. Fridae estimates that there are some 300 million LGBTs in Asia with a combined spending power of US$800 billion per annum.
In Singapore, which has a law banning sex between two men, gay bars like Tantric and Play have been in business for quite some time. LGBTs have also left their mark in the entertainment scene — Kumar, one of the country’s most recognizable and politically incorrect standup comedians, recently came out of the closet.