Bumble Gives Upbeat Outlook, Signaling Return to Social Life

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Bumble Inc., owner of the dating app where women make the first move, gave an outlook for revenue in the first quarter that slightly beat analysts’ estimates, reflecting optimism that a waning coronavirus will encourage people to ramp up their social lives.

“There has never been a moment in recent history that will present itself with such a demand to meet new people and to date again,” said Chief Executive Officer Whitney Wolfe Herd on an investor call Wednesday.

The Austin-based company is predicting revenue of $163 million to $165 million in the current period. Wall Street was forecasting $163 million, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. For the whole year, Bumble sees sales of $716 million to $726 million, also ahead of expectations.

Bumble Gives Upbeat Outlook, Signaling Return to Social Life

This is Bumble’s first earnings release after its $2.15 billion initial public offering last month. Launched in 2014, Bumble has gained market share in the U.S., which has traditionally been dominated by Match Group, the owner of Tinder.

“Match is certainly the Goliath in the space, but Bumble is a viable number two,” said Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Matt Martino, before the results were released.

In the fourth quarter, revenue rose 31% to $165.6 million, beating the average analyst estimate of $163.3 million. Total paying users increased 32% to 2.7 million, with an average revenue per user of $20.02, roughly unchanged compared with last year. The company swung to a net loss of $26.1 million compared with earnings of $17.2 million a year earlier. The loss per share was 1 cent.

“Our significant increase in revenue and paying users is a direct result of our team’s dedication and remarkable agility during a challenging pandemic,” said Wolfe Herd, who, at 31, was the youngest woman to take a large company public in the U.S. as CEO. “Our IPO was a pivotal milestone, but we are just getting started and are excited for the next chapter of our journey.”

International expansion will be important to Bumble’s long-term prospects, said BMO Capital Markets analyst Daniel Salmon. Currently, the company’s two apps, Bumble and Badoo, are segmented by geography; Bumble’s primary user base is in North America and Badoo is focused on Europe. Revenue grew 47% on the Bumble app in the fourth quarter, far outpacing the 10.5% pace at Badoo.

India, Mexico, and Germany are markets where use of the Bumble app is growing, Wolfe Herd said. Average monthly users in Germany were 150% higher in the fourth quarter compared with the preceding year, and Bumble saw a usage bump in neighboring countries. The CEO pointed to South East Asia, Latin America, and Western Europe as targets for expansion.

Bumble’s women-centered approach has led to particular strength with female users. The Bumble app has an approximately 30% higher female user ratio compared to the rest of the North American market, according to company filings. On the investor call, Wolfe Herd heralded a series of safety steps such as advanced reporting features and an anti-body-shaming policy. More than 70% of the board is female.

The company’s non-dating services, Bumble BFF and Bumble Bizz, provide opportunity for growth, even though they aren’t currently monetized, Martino said. “These features are very nascent. But they’re interesting nonetheless. And, it can help with time spent on the app and engagement with Bumble.”

Bumble BFF is the company’s next focus for development, Wolfe Herd said. “Friendship is going to be a massive opportunity in the future.”

Bumble’s shares have gained 46% since its IPO, valuing the company at $11.6 billion. They gained about 6% in late trading, after closing at $62.91 Wednesday in New York.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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