Bumble’s CEO : A rare female billionaire

In their stock market debut on Thursday, Bumble Inc shares, backed by Blackstone Group Inc, jumped more than 76 percent, obtaining a $14 billion value for the founder of the dating app where women make the first move.

The company’s stock opened on the Nasdaq at $76, well above its $43 per share initial public offering (IPO) price. Bumble, headquartered in Austin, Texas, runs two big applications, Bumble and Badoo, which draw over 40 million active users worldwide each month.

In a Thursday interview with Bumble Chief Executive Whitney Wolfe Herd, she said that the global pandemic urged people to create connections and meet new people on their phones.

“People build meaningful relationships digitally first, and then the physical follows. It’s a phenomenal shift toward safety and developing more accountable experiences,” said Wolfe Herd, who believes the pattern to continue in a world post-COVID 19.

Bumble, notable for its “women-first approach,” among dating apps, earns income mainly from paid subscriptions. In the first nine months of 2020, the firm posted $376.6 million in sales, according to filings. There were 1.1 million paid users on the Bumble platform, with 1.3 million on the Badoo app and other platforms.

Wolfe Herd, 31, has been one of the youngest woman bosses at the helm of a public company. She also sued the organization, a co-founder of competitor app Tinder, arguing that her co-founders exposed her to sexual harassment. To end the lawsuit, Tinder parent Match Company Inc, which disputed the charges, paid around $1 million.

Bumble aims to use the IPO’s $2.2 billion proceeds to pay off loans, finance global expansion, and seek acquisitions.

Bumble also enters the ranks of Snowflake Inc, Airbnb Inc, and DoorDash Inc. As they launched last year, all of which saw good first-day pops.

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