Dating app Bumble sets lofty heights for its stock market debut

11 Feb 2021357 Views

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The women-first dating app is going public less than seven years after it was founded and is set to open trading above its set share price.

Dating app Bumble is making its stock market debut today and is set to be valued at up to $13bn.

The company, which includes sister app Badoo, is listing on the Nasdaq and had set its share price as $43 but is indicated to open trading well above that at over $70.

It follows a slew of other tech companies that have gone public over the last several months.

Bumble joins industry giant Match Group on the public markets, with its $45bn market cap. Match Group is the parent company of several dating services including Match.com, OkCupid and Tinder.

The listing makes Bumble chief executive and founder Whitney Wolfe Herd, who owns about 11pc of the company, the youngest female CEO to take a company public.

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The trading debut is a vote of confidence in Bumble with dating apps facing an unclear future. With lockdowns curtailing social life, dating apps like Bumble, Tinder and OkCupid were tipped to suffer when it comes to user activity. Many have pivoted with new features akin to social networks to keep connections and conversations going despite the lack of face-to-face interactions.

As of the third quarter of 2020, Bumble had 42m monthly active users. In its S-1 filing in January, which documents its finances in advance of going public, Bumble Group revealed that it generated $377m in revenue in the period of 29 January 2020 to 30 September 2020 with a net loss of $84m.

Wolfe Herd was previously a co-founder of Tinder. She left Tinder and filed a sexual discrimination and harassment suit against the company before founding Bumble in 2014.

Bumble’s ownership structure has followed a circuitous route since it was founded.

Andrey Andreev, founder of long-running dating site Badoo, invested in Bumble, taking a majority share. A new parent company, MagicLab, oversaw both Bumble and Badoo, but Andreev would eventually sell his majority stake to private equity giant Blackstone in 2019, following allegations of misogyny at Badoo. Blackstone acquired a majority holding in the company, valuing it at $3bn at the time.

Last year, that parent group was renamed simply Bumble Group, with Wolfe Herd as the chief executive and her company at the core of the business.

Jonathan Keane is a freelance business and technology journalist based in Dublin

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