Queen bee

Founder of Austin-based Bumble could be crowned with billionaire status

Founder of Austin-based Bumble may be crowned with billionaire status

Austin Under 40 Whitney Herd Wolfe
Whitney Wolfe Herd is poised to make big bucks as Bumble goes public. Photo by Kristen Kilpatrick

Austin entrepreneur Whitney Wolfe Herd, founder and CEO of Bumble, is one step closer to rising from millionaire to billionaire status.

Austin-based Bumble, which owns the Bumble and Badoo dating apps, filed paperwork January 15 with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission seeking to sell its shares to the public through the Nasdaq stock market. The IPO filing has been anticipated for months.

The SEC paperwork doesn’t indicate the per-share sale price of the company's stock, and doesn’t outline ownership percentages for Herd and other stockholders. The filing lists $100 million as the amount Bumble intends to raise through the IPO, but that figure undoubtedly will change before the company starts selling its stock to the public.

Bumble’s largest shareholder is investment giant Blackstone. In November 2019, Blackstone bought a majority stake in the dating app in a deal valuing the company at $3 billion. In September, Bloomberg reported an IPO could propel Bumble’s valuation to between $6 billion and $8 billion.

Herd also is a major shareholder, but it’s unclear how much of the company's stock she owns. However, it is clear that if Bumble moves ahead with the IPO, Herd very likely could become a billionaire. The SEC filing shows Herd’s 2020 compensation for her work as CEO approached $19.4 million in cash and stock.

Herd founded Bumble in 2014 as a female-focused alternative to other dating apps. She previously co-founded the Tinder dating app.

From January to September 2020, the company reeled in revenue of $376.6 million. For all of 2019, it generated $488.9 million in revenue. According to the SEC filing, Bumble is the world’s second highest-grossing dating app, with 12.3 monthly active users as of September 30.