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A tech IPO in time for Valentine’s Day

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IPO investors seem to think they’ve found a true match with dating app company Bumble.

The company behind Badoo and the Bumble app raised $2.2 billion in an offering of 50 million shares priced at $43, more shares sold at a higher price than previously anticipated.

Last valued at about $3 billion when Blackstone acquired the business in 2019, it is now valued at about $8.2 billion.

As we all wait for the inevitable fury around the IPO pop or radio silence should shares fall in its first day of trading, here’s the skinny on Bumble’s financial picture:

  • The dating app that lets women make the first move posted revenue of about $416.6 million for the first nine months of 2020, surpassing the company performance the same period a year earlier at $362.6 million. While revenue grew nearly 15%, Bumble’s losses also outpaced its earnings, losing $116.7 million in those nine months of 2020 compared to a profit of $68.6 million the same period a year earlier.
  • The company has a long way to go before it can match its larger competitor Tinder. The dating app owned by Match Group is expected to once again post revenue of over $1 billion for the entirety of 2020. 
  • Bumble said it had 42 million monthly active users in the third quarter of 2020. Some 2.4 million of those users were paying in the nine months ending 2020.
  • Led by a female CEO, Whitney Wolfe Herd, Bumble is really (really) marketing itself to investors as a company that has women as its core demographic in its prospectus, even though the company’s other dating app, Badoo, has no restrictions on who initiates the first move. “We believe that there is a significant opportunity to build on our foundation as a technology platform centered on women to become a preeminent global women’s brand,” the prospectus reads.
  • The IPO comes after a rocky 2019 for the company, which was accused of a misogynistic workplace in a Forbes investigation. The co-founder and then CEO of the company Andrey Andreev stepped down that year, making way for Wolfe Herd. A U.K. law firm hired by the company to investigate Forbes’ allegations later largely denied them, though it did suggest that the company make it easier to report misconduct and improve diversity and inclusion training. 

A WALL STREET ANALYST STARTS A VC FUND: Rich Greenfield is known for being one of the most straight-talking analysts on Wall Street—in 2015, the media, telecom, and tech-focused investor called for the removal of then Zynga CEO Don Mattrick. 

Now, he’s co-raising a new $75 million venture fund. LightShed Ventures, the boutique research firm co-founded by Greenfield after he left BTIG in 2019, announced its first ever fund focusing on early-stage investments in the telecom, media, and technology sectors.

While the fund itself has yet to formally acquire a business, Greenfield has already invested in companies including Wondery, the podcast startup recently acquired by Amazon. Some of these deals are expected to be included in LightShed’s portfolio.

The hope is that investments in private companies will give Lightshed an edge in its research on public companies in the same sectors. Meanwhile its ties to the public markets would also be handy in building up early-stage businesses.

But the setup could potentially cause conflicts of interest if LightShed sells research that touches on its own portfolio companies. But Greenfield says LightShed will sell its shares immediately if an investment goes public or is bought by a public company. LightShed also doesn’t plan to own shares in public companies that it covers.

Greenfield’s co-founders include former BTIG coworkers Walter Piecyk and Brandon Ross (who you may remember from this incident) and Jamie Roberts Seltzer, formerly of Waverley Capital.

FINAL CALLS: Remember to submit your answers for the annual Semaphore and Term Sheet confidence survey of private equity and venture capital professionals. The survey closes at midnight Friday. Here’s a sneak peek: As a group, y’all are surprisingly split on the future of Big Tech. Take the survey here.

Lucinda Shen
Twitter: @shenlucinda
Email: [email protected]

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