Bumble Inc. filed its prospectus for an initial public offering on Friday morning, with financial figures for two dating apps: Bumble, the female-oriented dating app that operates in five countries including the U.S., and Badoo, a much older dating product, with a larger presence in Europe and Latin America.
Bumble, which boasts a feature that only allows women to make the move first, has half of Badoo’s number of monthly active users — but Bumble’s core base is much more willing to pay. Bumble had 12.3 million monthly active users as of September 2020, of which nearly 9% were paying users. Badoo, meanwhile, had 28.4 million monthly active users, of which 4.6% were paying users. In total, Bumble and Badoo had 2.4 million paying users as of September, an 18.8% increase from the previous year.
The company reported $417 million in revenue in the first nine months of 2020, with a net loss of $117 million. For the first nine months of 2019, the company reported $363 million in revenue, with a net profit of $68.6 million.
Whitney Wolfe Herd cofounded Bumble in 2014 with Russian billionaire Andrey Andreev, who had launched Badoo in 2006. Wolfe Herd and Andreev met in 2014 shortly after Wolfe Herd sued Tinder, her previous workplace, for sexual harassment, alleging that her ex-boss and ex-boyfriend had sent threats, derogatory texts and stripped her of her co-founder title. The company denied any wrongdoing. The case was quickly and confidentially settled.
However, Wolfe Herd faced yet another scandal, this time with Andreev, when a Forbes investigation in July 2019 uncovered allegations of a toxic, misogynistic culture in Badoo’s London office, under Andreev’s leadership. This was seemingly at odds with the female empowerment messaging and culture that Wolfe Herd had built around Bumble. The company denied the majority of the allegations, though it clarified that it had ended a company practice of naming engineering updates after porn stars in 2018. An internal investigation was launched, headed by U.K. employment law firm Doyle Clayton, which concluded “that the central allegation made by the Forbes article – that there is currently a misogynistic atmosphere at the London office is incorrect. Nevertheless, the investigation did identify a small number of current and former employees who feel that there are elements of sexism” at the company.
Four months after the Forbes story was published, private equity firm Blackstone Group announced it would acquire Andreev’s majority stake — estimated to be between 59% to 79% — in a transaction valuing the company at $3 billion. Wolfe Herd took over as CEO of both Bumble and Badoo. Though Andreev is a founder and provided the technical support behind Badoo and Bumble, he is notably absent from the company’s history in the prospectus.
The prospectus also includes an elaborate diagram of what Bumble’s organizational structure will look like after the public offering, which has already started to draw questions from tech pundits, with one comparing it to a chart in the prospectus for WeWork, the real estate company that imploded right before its planned IPO in September 2019. The company did not respond to a request for comment about its organizational structure chart.
Prior to Blackstone acquiring Bumble and Badoo, Forbes found about a dozen subsidiaries tied to Badoo, based in the U.S., U.K., Bermuda, Cyprus, Malta and the British Virgin Islands. The prospectus names the former Bermuda-based parent company, Worldwide Vision Limited. There is also language about the company’s “primary taxpayer” being “domiciled in Malta.”
When Bumble’s IPO rumors first floated during the fall of last year, Bloomberg reported that the company planned to go public at a valuation of $6 billion to $8 billion. Forbes estimates that Wolfe Herd owns 20% of the company, though that figure could change after the public offering. The prospectus filed Friday does not include details on ownership stakes of investors and executives.
By Angel Au-Yeung, Forbes Staff
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