Swiping Right, Tinder Backer Joins Warburg Pincus

Dinesh Moorjani, the mind behind the early stage technology incubator that launched Tinder, is leaving the startup world behind (at least with his day job).

Moorjani, whose long history in mobile tech includes a stint as an SVP at Barry Diller’s IAC/InterActiveCorp before launching the mobile technology incubator Hatch Labs, is joining the billionaires boy’s club of private equity investment as an executive in residence at Warburg Pincus.

[Note 1: Warburg Pincus called to say that Moorjani will still be involved in the startup community through his work with TechStars, the Entrepreneurs Roundtable Accelerator, and as a member of the advisory board for LocalResponse and Locality.]

At Hatch Labs, Moorjani helped launch several mobile tech apps – most famously the updated hot-or-not “social networking” service, Tinder.

With his new role at Warburg Pincus, Moorjani is moving from launching new mobile technology companies to acquiring them thanks to the cash of an incredibly deep-pocketed backer.

“My intent is not to start a company from ground up,” Moorjani said of his new role at Warburg Pincus. “There were companies that I was looking at in mobile that would benefit from additional capital and the strategic guidance that Warburg can provide.”

The New York-based private equity firm has more than $35 billion in assets under management, and much of that capital has been committed to technology media and telecommunications companies over the years.

Now, Warburg has an experienced tech hand to help it navigate the sometime-choppy waters of the mobile technology market.

Already, Moorjani has identified roughly five areas where he hopes to help Warburg spend some of the billions the private equity firm has on hand after its most recent fund closed in 2013.

For the former Hatch Labs boss, interesting mobile trends include: mobile smart devices for the “Internet Of Things”; mobile security; mobile software services for enterprises and small businesses; mobile education; and local.

[Note 2: The same Warburg spokesman  said that Moorjani thought it was misleading to say that “local” would extend to “localization of content, advertising and consumer services,” as I’d written. The post has been changed to reflect that.]

If the laundry list looks familiar; that’s because it’s the investment wish-list for every investor looking at the mobile market.  

Moorjani’s move to Warburg is the culmination of a years-long relationship with the firm, which began with Warburg Pincus using the Hatch Labs founder as a sounding board for due diligence on several companies in the mobile technology space, he said.

Even with the move to Warburg, Moorjani will remain in control of the Hatch Labs brand despite foregoing a second fundraise for the incubator. He cautioned people not to read too much into his move from early stage incubation to late stage investment.

For Moorjani the move was an opportunity to round off his skill-set and become a better investor.   

At Hatch Labs Moorjani built over 10 startups since 2010, including Tinder.  Before Hatch and his time at IAC, the tech veteran worked with Samsung Electronics in Asia and North America – including laboring on its satellite radio-MP3 business.