Austin-based Bumble Files to Go Public

Whitney Wolfe-Herd

Austin-based Bumble, the networking and dating app founded by Whitney Wolfe Herd in 2014, has filed to go public.

The company filed its initial public offering documents with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Friday. It did not provide details on the price of its stock, which will be traded under the symbol BMBL on the Nasdaq stock market. In the filing, the company reported it was seeking to raise $100 million.

New

York-based private equity firm Blackstone owns a majority interest in Bumble, according to The Street.com.

“Throughout the journey of building Bumble, we were told that it was impossible to create a successful women-first brand and platform,” Wolfe Herd, Bumble’s founder, and CEO wrote in a letter included in the filing. “That women don’t, won’t, and shouldn’t speak first. That it would never work. Those objections have only fueled us. Six years and countless Bumble weddings, babies, friendships, business partnerships, and meaningful relationships later, we have a diverse and fast-growing community spread across six continents. We’ve celebrated 1.7 billion first moves made by women.”

The stock filing provided some details on Bumble’s finances. The company reported revenue of $416.6 million for 2020 through Sept. 30th and a net loss of $116.7 million. That compares to $488.9 million in revenue for 2019 and net earnings of $68.6 million and $360.1 million in revenue and a net loss of $23.6 million for 2018.

Bumble operates two apps, Bumble and Badoo, and reports more than 40 million users on a monthly basis.

Bumble also plans to use the proceeds of the sale of its stock to pay down its debt, according to the filing. The company entered into a loan in January of 2020 for $625 million.

Bumble has more than 650 full-time employees with half working in engineering and product development. It leases approximately 10,000 square feet of space in Austin for its corporate headquarters. Bumble also has offices in London and Moscow and a data center in Prague.

Before founding Bumble in 2014, Wolfe Herd worked at Tinder, a competing dating app, where she served as vice president of marketing from May 2012 to April 2014. After leaving the company, Wolfe Herd filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against Tinder, which she later settled for more than $1 million, according to Forbes. In 2018, Match Group, which owns Tinder, filed a lawsuit against Bumble alleging patent and trademark infringement, as well as trade secret misappropriation. Bumble countersued. In June of 2020, Bumble reached an agreement with Match Group to settle the lawsuit.

The Financial Times also reported Wolfe Herd received a $125 million payout following a reorganization of the company and a $119 million loan, which she has since paid back.

The IPO filing also details Bumble’s employment contract with Wolfe Herd providing a base salary of $650,000 annually with a target bonus of $450,000. It also includes a leased vehicle, childcare services when Wolfe Herd travels with her children, and full-time security benefits at the office and when traveling.