Bumble says it’s looking to M&A to drive growth

Dating apps and other social friend-finders are being put on notice: Dating app giant Bumble is looking to make more acquisitions. The company said during its first-quarter earnings call on Wednesday that it plans to use M&A “opportunistically” to help it better prioritize inorganic growth.

Unlike its competitor, Match, which historically snatched up popular dating app brands left and right, Bumble hasn’t been very active in pursuing growth via M&A. Its first acquisition was that of the French dating app, Fruitz, in February 2022, followed by an app for couples, Official, in 2023 for $10 million. Neither of them has become the next Tinder, to put it kindly.

Now, Bumble says it will look to acquire other businesses that align with its growth goals. Specifically, CFO Anu Subramanian said on the call that the company, now under new leadership (CEO Lidiane Jones joined Bumble from Slack late last year), would set an “even higher bar” for what M&A looks like at Bumble and the goals it has for investing in acquisitions that drive inorganic growth.

In a follow-up, Jones said Bumble would consider the “value add” of the technology an acquisition would bring just as much as its business. In other words, it may acquire a smaller app if it’s doing something particularly innovative that Bumble could utilize in its apps or invest in. She didn’t give any indication that the company was looking at certain geographies, market segments or use cases, however.

“There’s certainly a lot of interesting technology companies across the industry that we’re constantly looking at, but we immediately look at if it actually aligns and accelerates with our long-term mission here,” Jones said. That seemingly sets a broad stage for potential candidates.

Bumble reported a strong first quarter, handily beating analysts’ average expectations for both profit and revenue. The company reported net profit of 19 cents per share and revenue of $267.8 million in the quarter. Analysts had estimated profit of 7 cents per share, and revenue of $265.5 million.

The company also touted last week’s revamp of its flagship dating app, which now lets women pick from pre-written questions that their matches can respond to instead of having to message matches on their own. In addition, Bumble spoke again of its broader plans for BFF, which it envisions as a way to help Gen Z users find friends.

Jones also touched on the company’s plans to use generative AI, noting that the technology could help in areas like profile creation, understanding customer intent, aiding trust and safety, improving matches and more.

“…our job, as we look at generative AI, is to build a premium dating service level of experience, where we are really taking a closer approach to supporting you in your entire dating journey,” Jones added. “So, even as we get more signals for our customers once they go on a date, we can again automatically augment their profile creation without them having to go back,” she said.


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