Whitney Wolfe Herd becomes youngest woman to take tech unicorn public

Whitney Wolfe Herd becomes youngest woman to take tech unicorn public

Wolfe Herd

At just 31-years old, Whitney Wolfe Herd has become the youngest ever female CEO to take the dating app she founded Bumble, public.

Last January, Bumble loaned Beehive Holdings III $119 million and in 2019, New York-based private equity firm Blackstone purchased a majority of her company. According to newly released documents from the company, its S-1 filing, the official registration statement, Wolfe Herd received a $125 million cash payout and loan ahead of its initial public offering which took place last Friday. In the filing, the company reported it was seeking to raise $100 million.

At the beginning of this year, Wolfe Herd and Beehive Holdings paid back the remainder of the loan plus interest, coming in at a total of $95.5 million. On the Nasdaq, Bumble will trade under the ticker symbol “BMBL”. 

As of last September, the app had more than 42 million monthly active users worldwide, and between January to September last year, it had amassed $376.6 million in revenue. Goldman Sachs and Citigroup are leading the initial public offering. 

“Throughout the journey of building Bumble, we were told that it was impossible to create a successful women-first brand and platform,” Wolfe Herd wrote in a letter included in the filing.

“That women don’t, won’t, and shouldn’t speak first. That it would never work. Those objections have only fuelled us. Six years and countless Bumble weddings, babies, friendships, business partnerships, and meaningful relationships later, we have a diverse and fast-growing community spread across six continents. We’ve celebrated 1.7 billion first moves made by women.”

Wolfe Herd has has an extraordinary career so far. She was one of the co-founders of popular dating app Tinder, becoming its Vice President of Marketing a few years later. 

In 2014, she founded the female-focused dating and social app Bumble, which is now the second most downloaded dating app in the U.S. The app allows women to make the first move.

As Wolfe Herd writes in her letter attached to the IPO, “The importance of a woman making the first move is not exclusive to the world of dating, romance or love. It is a power shift, giving women confidence and control. We are committed to the major opportunity ahead of us to make dating healthier and more equitable around the world.” 

In an interview with Rebecca Tucker from Bay Street Bull, the mother and entrepreneur said her company has “… one mission, and that is to end misogyny.”

“This company started as a response to a very real experience,” she said. “Dozens of other people on our team have been directly or indirectly affected by emotional abuse in their life and that has generally stemmed [from] toxic masculinity. We wake up every day trying to instill all those values together collectively to solve one problem.”

As a woman, Wolfe Herd remains a minority in her sector. From a total of 442 companies that went public last year, only 4 had female founders or CEOs

Bumble has more than 650 full-time staff and is headquartered in Austin, Texas. It also has offices in London and Moscow and a data centre in Prague.

The IPO filing also discloses Bumble’s employment contract with Wolfe Herd and her base salary of $650,000 annually with a target bonus of $450,000. 

Photo Credit: Francisco Garcia

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