If anyone can speak to the pros and cons of starting a company with your best friends, it's Tinder CEO Sean Rad.
Rad's dating app startup has been in the press these past few months after feuding between his romantically involved former coworkers came to a head and resulted in a sexual harassment lawsuit.
Rad was on stage at TechCrunch Disrupt Wednesday, the day after Tinder co-founder Justin Mateen resigned following the company's settlement of the suit.
"It's a tough situation. Justin and Whitney [Wolfe] were both my best friends," Rad told reporter Jordan Crook at the annual event hosted by TechCrunch in San Francisco. "I think when you have that kind of relationship--and this closeness with an early team that was beside you and personally were your best friends--I think the lines get blurred."
Whitney Wolfe, an early Tinder employee, sued the company in June, alleging that her ex-boyfriend Mateen and Rad subjected her "to a barrage of horrendously sexist, racist, and otherwise inappropriate comments, emails, and text messages." Wolfe said that she was eventually forced out of the company. Crook noted that the lawsuit was settled with no admission of wrongdoing from Tinder.
Rad gave no reason for Mateen's recent departure except to say that, "Justin decided to resign and focus on Justin." Rad also said that he and Mateen are still best friends.
Rad was tight-lipped when it came to most of Crook's questions about the suit, but he readily admitted that he'd go back and change things if he could.
"Oh my God, I'd do so many things differently," he said. "I think creating boundaries earlier on would have been healthy."
That said, despite the potential for things to go wrong, there is a definite upside to working with close friends, Rad insisted.
"I think that closeness, especially when things get tough at a startup, that keeps you together. It keeps you pushing forward," he said.