Bumble CEO Whitney Wolfe Herd will leave the dating app she founded after its shares fell 83% since its IPO more than two years ago.
Lidiane Jones, current CEO of workplace messaging tool Slack, will take over in January.
The upheaval comes as the online dating industry, including Bumble, faces a huge challenge: How to get consumers to shell out for a dating app when the economy is so uncertain? For now, this uncertainty is causing shares of rival Match to fall alongside those of Bumble.
Wolfe Herd founded Bumble in 2014 with the idea of creating a dating app that empowered women to make the first move, thereby reducing the unsolicited messages many of which were bombarded on other services. As a dating app founded by a woman and designed for women, Bumble burst onto the scene like a breath of fresh air.
In the months following the pandemic, online dating apps saw a surge in popularity, as people were eager to restart their dating lives after being isolated from others during lockdowns. But more recently, growth has slowed.
Bumble, which currently has 40 million active monthly users in its app portfolio, is now fighting fiercely for users from Match, which owns OKCupid and Tinder. To keep up, Bumble is organizing spend more on product development and marketing
The company has also faced questions about its efforts to diversify from its core online dating business. Under the Bumble brand, it has added several features to help users To meet friends And network for their careerbut they have not yet understood.
“Bumble has failed to realize its vision of becoming a broader women’s platform for use cases beyond dating, such as friendship and professional networking,” say analysts at the investment bank Jefferies. said recently. “How the new CEO handles these non-core use cases is a key question.”
Jones, a tech industry veteran from Sonos, Microsoftand parent company Slack Selling power, has only been CEO of Slack for 11 months before being named head of Bumble. Its experience delivering high-profile product upgrades for digital platforms with large user bases could help reinvigorate Bumble.
“The past year has been the most innovation Slack has ever launched in its history,” Jones said. said FortuneIt’s Emma Hinchcliffe.
At Slack, Jones also took over from a founder-CEO, taking over from Stewart Butterfield, six months after Salesforce. acquired his company for $28 billion. For the transition, Butterfield spoke effusively about Jones. “She is pragmatic and practical, insightful, passionate, creative, kind and curious… She is one of us.”
Succession from another founding CEO
At Bumble, Jones will have a big job ahead of her when she starts in January. The company’s shares have steadily decreased since its IPO in 2021, when it soared 77% to $76 on its first day of trading. Shares will never reach those highs again, falling to $13.07 at market close Monday.
Over the past few years, Bumble has expanded beyond its flagship dating app, to a portfolio of brands. In February 2022, he made his first acquisition, French Gen Z-focused dating app Fruitz, for an undisclosed amount. Then earlier this year, Bumble broke up Bumble BFFits matchmaking app for platonic friendships, in its own app, another first for the company.
Revenue grew steadily to $903 million at the end of last year, an increase of 15.7% from 2021. By the middle of this year, sales growth slowed to 14.7%. compared to the first half of 2022.
When it reports third-quarter results on Tuesday, Bumble is expected to provide full-year guidance for revenue growth of between 15% and 20% and increase profit margins by about a point. percentage, according to UBS.
Among Bumble’s key metrics is its number of paying users, which stood at 3.6 million in the most recent quarter, an increase of 20% from the same period in 2022. Although the number subscribers has increased steadily since Bumble’s IPO, analysts are skeptical about its numbers. the company’s ability to maintain this growth as users reduce spending in anticipation of a possible recession. Bumble’s biggest competitor Correspondence group I saw his share the slide 18% since last week after reporting a 5% drop in paying customers in the third quarter compared to the same period last year. In a bid to reignite growth, Tinder, Match’s largest app, has experimented with more expensive solutions, premium subscriptions which cost up to $500 per month.
These questions will now fall to Jones, who will be tasked with answering them and myriad others as she takes over Bumble’s day-to-day operations. Wolfe Herd, meanwhile, will become executive chair and focus on the big picture and strategic thinking she prefers.
“I never started this company as a publicly traded CEO,” says Wolfe Herd. “I started this company to solve a problem I encountered. I started this company to solve problems for women around the world.