1.7 billion ‘first moves’ by its users have resulted in Bumble being able to make its own first move and list on NASDAQ. Run by Whitney Wolfe Herd the company has broken records by debuting with a board that is 70% women.
News broke under 24 hours ago of the IPO shares being priced at $43.00, with 50 million Class A shares being made available through the process. The scale-up backed by Blackstone raised $2.Twitter and social media was awash today with celebratory posts from loyal customers, employees, and other stakeholders.
The company S-1 filed is a treasure trove of metrics and insight into the world of digital matchmaking. The exceptional board that has been the subject of much discussion is littered with talent. From the head down Ms. Herd is ably supported by, the President appointee, Tariq Shaukat (an ex McKinsey & Co partner and previously head of the Google Cloud business). Other notable board members include Chair, Ann Mather who was SVP at Disney Pixar and Matthew Bromberg ex COO of Zynga the gaming giant. Blackstone maintains four of their employees on the board at the time of filing the S-1.
The Pandemic IPO narrative for online dating needs no introduction. However, investors do need to understand the history of the business and the brands it operates. Bumble first rocked on to the dating scene, after Hard had an acrimonious exit from her previous employer Match.com and decided to go out on her own and create a new paradigm for dating apps for women, where they were in control and made the first move. Backed by Billionaire, Andrey Andreev, who had made his money in the consumer electronics space in Russia and with other digital ventures such as Badoo (which he launched as far back as 2006), Herd took minority ownership in the new group and took Bumble and Badoo to market. Andreev went on to create a parent group called MagicLab (which also had other holdings in the dating space) which he later sold a majority ownership interest in, for circa $3 bn, to the world’s largest asset manager, Blackstone. Ms. Herd was appointed as CEO following the investment. Today the group runs multiple products some under the Bumble brand which has also flexed into business networks under the name Bumble Bizz. The startup has steadily been building on the trust and brand hallo that the initial dating app had created. Clearly, the matching algorithm for business matches may not have fallen too far from that of the dating match tree.
With over $2bn raised already Bumble is equipped with enough firework.
A Bumble wire states that some of the money raised from the IPO will be used to service senior loans on their book. It also mentions that Bumble intends to buy back some of the equity owned by Blackrock affiliates. Look out for the stock which is due to begin trading under BMBL on Nasdaq.