Bumble files to go public

By Christopher Zara

January 15, 2021

Bumble is looking to spread some love on the Nasdaq.

The six-year-old dating app where women make the first move revealed its plans to go public Friday in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing. In a preliminary prospectus, Bumble revealed a net loss of $84.1 million on revenue of $376.6 million for the period between January 29 and September 30 of last year. In all of 2019, the company generated $488.9 million, up 36% from the year before.

Bumble, which also owns the dating-focused social network Badoo, said it had 42.1 million monthly users between all of its services as of September of last year, and that 2.4 million are paid users on average, meaning they had agreed to purchase one of the company’s subscription plans. Among its paid users, 1.1 million are paying specifically for the Bumble app, the company says.

Austin, Texas-based Bumble was founded in 2014 by Whitney Wolfe Herd, a cofounder of Tinder, which is part of the conglomerate of dating apps owned by Match Group. It’s a crowded space, but Bumble has powerful allies: Private equity giant Blackstone Group took a majority stake in the company in 2019.

“We are just getting started,” Bumble says confidently in the filing. “We see significant upside in our core online dating market driven by the steady growth of the global singles population, increasing adoption of online dating both in the United States and globally and increasing propensity to pay for online dating.”

At the same time, Bumble acknowledges a number of business risks, including increased saturation of the dating app market. Notably, the company also said its approach to business as a “mission-based company” aimed at empowering women could subject it to certain challenges. “[B]ecause we hold ourselves to such high standards, and because we believe our users have come to have high expectations of us, we may be more severely affected by negative reports or publicity if we fail, or are perceived to have failed, to live up to the Bumble app’s mission,” the company writes.

Fast-growing tech startups have been increasingly eager to cash in on an IPO market that doesn’t seem to want to quit. This week alone saw market debuts from payments platform Affirm and the resale platform Poshmark, among others.

Friday’s filing from Bumble does not reveal an intended share price or date for the offering. However, Bloomberg reported last month that the company was seeking a valuation of between $6 billion and $8 billion.

Perhaps it can list in time for Valentine’s Day!