The female-focused dating app
is planning for an initial public offering as early as the first quarter of 2021, according to a Bloomberg report
citing people with knowledge of the matter. The report said Bumble is working with Goldman Sachs (GS)
and Citigroup (C)
on the planned listing, and is also being advised by Morgan Stanley (MS)
Bumble — which requires women searching for heterosexual matches to make the first move — was founded in 2014 by Whitney Wolfe Herd. The company has since become a household name and features services beyond dating, including professional and social networking. The company also owns other apps such as Badoo, a popular digital dating service outside the United States.
Investment firm Blackstone (BX)
bought a majority stake in Bumble, then known as MagicLab, a year ago
in a deal that valued the company at $3 billion. Bumble could seek an IPO valuation of $6 billion to $8 billion, according to Bloomberg.
Representatives for Bumble, Blackstone, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley declined to comment to CNN Business.
Bumble exists in a crowded market of competing dating apps, including Tinder, Hinge, Match and OKCupid (all owned by IAC’s Match Group (MTCH)
Dating apps have gotten a boost from coronavirus, despite the fact that people are staying home more often. Bumble reported a 26% increase in messages in the early months of the pandemic
Bumble Vice President of Strategy Priti Joshi told CNN in May that the average call time on the app is around 28 minutes, which “means that they’re actually getting to know the person on the other side of that call.”
Under Wolfe Herd’s leadership, the company has also been pursuing international expansion
and has had its eyes on investing more in Asia, Central America and Europe.
In 2018, Bumble launched in India, a risky move given that casual dating is a relatively new phenomenon and the fact that India has one of the highest rates of sexual violence
in the world.
“The most traditional, the most misogynistic mindsets globally — those markets for us are completely wide-open prairies,” Wolfe Herd told CNN Business last year, referring to the decision to launch in India. “Just because something is not as progressive as another place in the world doesn’t mean there’s not a desire for that.”
As of September of last year, Bumble had 66 million users and was profitable, the company told CNN Business. The app’s basic version is free but users can purchase additional filters.