- January 16, 2021
- Posted by: Bastion team
- Category: Markets
Bumble CEO Whitney Wolfe Herd is seen outside Good Morning America on January 31, 2019 in New York City.
One of the most popular dating app companies, Bumble, is officially going public.
In order to begin that process, Bumble had to publicly disclose a trove of information that was previously unknown. For starters: Millions of people are paying for the app, and tens of millions more are using it every month.
But that’s far from all the filing document has to offer – a section labeled “Risk Factors” details the major issues Bumble believes it could face in the years to come. We break down the most important of those potential issues below:
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A core risk factor of Bumble going public is the company’s debt: Over $600 million.
“Our substantial indebtedness could materially adversely affect our financial condition, our ability to raise additional capital to fund our operations, our ability to operate our business, our ability to react to changes in the economy or our industry, our ability to meet our obligations under our outstanding indebtedness and could divert our cash flow from operations for debt payments,” the company said in the S-1.
That debt is a considerable risk when paired with other potential factors.
“Our ability to make scheduled payments on and to refinance our indebtedness depends on and is subject to our financial and operating performance, which in turn is affected by general and regional economic, financial, competitive, business and other factors and reimbursement actions of governmental and commercial payers, all of which are beyond our control, including the availability of financing in the international banking and capital markets.”
2. “Risks Related to Regulation and Litigation”
Like so many other internet-based companies in modern life, Bumble collects personal data about its users.
That data could spark privacy concerns if mishandled, the company said.
“Our success depends, in part, on our ability to access, collect, and use personal data about our users and payers, and to comply with applicable data privacy laws,” it says in the S-1 filing. “Increased regulation of data utilization practices, including self-regulation or findings under existing laws that limit our ability to collect, transfer and use information and other data, could have a material adverse effect on our business.”
3. “We are subject to certain risks as a mission-based company”
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At Bumble, the mission isn’t just to create and maintain a popular dating app. Company founder Whitney Wolfe Herd has repeatedly explained that Bumble intends to be a “feminst company,” and its app is intended to empower women in the dating world.
If Bumble fails at this mission, it could have major consequences for the business, according to the S-1 filing.
“We believe that a critical contributor to our success has been our commitment to empower women in their relationships, in an effort to make the world a better place for everyone. The mission of the Bumble app is a significant part of our business strategy and who we are as a company. We believe that Bumble app users value our commitment to our mission,” the filing says.
“However, because we hold ourselves to such high standards, and because we believe our users have come to have high expectations of us, we may be more severely affected by negative reports or publicity if we fail, or are perceived to have failed, to live up to the Bumble app’s mission.”
5. “Risks Related to Information Technology Systems and Intellectual Property”
Beyond just user privacy, Bumble believes it also must maintain a high level of cybersecurity to retain its users.
“Security breaches, improper access to or disclosure of our data or user data, other hacking and phishing attacks on our systems, or other cyber incidents could compromise sensitive information related to our business and/or personal data processed by us or on our behalf and expose us to liability, which could harm our reputation and materially adversely affect our business,” the filing says.
In short, Bumble must remain vigilant when it comes to cybersecurity — something the company has dealt with in the past.
5. “Risks Related to Our Brand, Products and Operations”
The market for dating apps is constantly evolving, and Bumble is far from guaranteed to be the biggest player in the market.
That potential issue pops up in the S-1 as a risk factor tied to the company’s operations.
“If we fail to retain existing users or add new users, or if our users decrease their level of engagement with our products or do not convert to paying users, our revenue, financial results and business may be significantly harmed,” the S-1 says.
Any number of factors could impact Bumble’s ability to compete with other dating apps and services — and those variables are critical to the company’s continued success.
“Our financial performance has been and will continue to be significantly determined by our success in adding, retaining and engaging users of our products and converting users into paying subscribers or in-app purchasers,” the S-1 says. “We expect that the size of our user base will fluctuate or decline in one or more markets from time to time.”
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