Bumble files to go public

The dating and networking service Bumble has filed to go public.

The company, launched by a former co-founder of the IAC-owned Tinder, plans to list its share on the Nasdaq stock exchange, using the ticker symbol “BMBL.” Bumble’s planned IPO was first reported in December.

Bumble CEO Whitney Wolfe Herd was on the founding team at Tinder before starting Bumble. She filed suit against Tinder for sexual harassment and discrimination, which was at least somewhat inspirational in her quest to build a dating app that put women in the driver’s seat.

In 2019, Wolfe Herd took the helm of MagicLab, renamed to Bumble Group, in a $3 billion deal with Blackstone, replacing Badoo founder and CEO Andrey Andreev following a harassment scandal at the firm.

The company is targeting the public markets at a particularly heady time for new offerings, with investors embracing venture-backed IPOs throughout late 2020 and the start of 2021. Previously privately held companies like Airbnb, Affirm, and others have seen their fortunes soar on the back of prices that public investors are willing to pay, perhaps inducing more IPO filings than the market might have otherwise seen.

You can read its IPO filing here. TechCrunch will have its usual tear-down of the document later today, but we have pulled some top-line numbers for you to kick off your own research.

But before we do, the company’s board makeup, namely that it is over 70% women is already drawing plaudits. Now, into its numbers.

Inside Bumble’s IPO filing

Let’s consider Bumble from three perspectives: Usage, financial results, and ownership.

On the usage front, Bumble is popular, as you would imagine a dating would have to be to reach the scale required to go public. The company claims 42 million monthly active users (MAUs) as of Q3 2020 — many companies will try to get public on the strength of their third-quarter results from 2020, as it takes time to close Q4 and the full calendar year.

Those 42 million MAUs translated into 2.4 million total paying users through the first nine months of 2020; the percent, then, of paying users to MAUs is not 2.4 million divided by 42, but a smaller fraction.

Turning to the numbers, recall that Bumble sold a majority of itself a few years back. We bring that up as Bumble’s financial results are complicated thanks to its ownership structure.

After the IPO, Bumble Inc. will “be a holding company, and its sole material asset will be a controlling equity interest in Bumble Holdings,” per the S-1 filing. So, how is Bumble Holdings doing?

Medium? Doing the sums ourselves as the company’s S- 1 is fraught with accounting nuances, in the first nine months of 2019, Bumble managed the following:

  • Revenues of $362.6 million
  • Net income of $68.6 million

And then, combining two columns to provide a similar set of results for the same period of 2020, Bumble recorded:

  • Revenues of $416.6 million
  • Net income of -$116.7 million

For those following along, we’re using the “Net (loss) earnings” line, for profitability, and not the “Net (loss) earnings attributable to owners / shareholders” as that would require even more explanation and we’re keeping it simple in this first look.

While Bumble saw modest growth in 2020 through Q3 and a sharp swing to losses on a GAAP basis, the company’s adjusted profitability grew over the same time period. The company’s adjusted EBITDA, a very non-GAAP metric, expanded from $80.0 million in the first three quarters of 2019 to $108.3 million in the same period of 2020.

While we are generally willing to allow quickly-growing companies some leniency when it comes to adjusted metrics, the gap between Bumble’s GAAP losses and its EBITDA results is a stress-test of our compassion. Bumble also swung from free cash flow positivity during the first nine months of 2019 to the first quarters of 2020.

If you extrapolate Bumble’s Q1, Q2, and Q3 revenue to a full-year number, the company could manage $555.5 million in 2020 revenues. Even at a modest software-ish multiple, the company would be worth more than the $3 billion figure that we discussed before.

However, its sharp unprofitability in 2020 could damper its eventual valuation. More as we dig more deeply into the filing.

Finally, on the ownership question the company’s filing is surprisingly denuded of data. Its principal shareholder section looks like this:

When we know more, we’ll share more. Until then, happy S-1 reading.

Rapid growth in 2020 reveals OKR software market’s untapped potential

Last year, a number of startups building OKR-focused software raised lots of venture capital, drawing TechCrunch’s attention.

Why is everyone making software that measures objectives and key results? we wondered with tongue in cheek. After all, how big could the OKR software market really be?

It’s a sub-niche of corporate planning tools! In a world where every company already pays for Google or Microsoft’s productivity suite, and some big software companies offer similar planning support, how substantial could demand prove for pure-play OKR startups?


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Pretty substantial, we’re finding out. After OKR-focused Gtmhub announced its $30 million Series B the other day, The Exchange reached out to a number of OKR-focused startups we’ve previously covered and asked about their 2020 growth.

Gtmhub had released new growth metrics along with its funding news, plus we had historical growth data from some other players in the space. So let’s peek at new and historical numbers from Gthmhub, Perdoo, WorkBoard, Ally.io, Koan and WeekDone.

Growth (and some caveats)

A startup growing 400% in a year from a $50,000 ARR base is not impressive. It would be much more impressive to grow 200% from $1 million ARR, or 150% from $5 million.

So, percentage growth is only so good, as metrics go. But it’s also one that private companies are more likely to share than hard numbers, as the market has taught startups that sharing real data is akin to drowning themselves. Alas.

As we view the following, bear in mind that a simply higher percentage growth number does not indicate that a company added more net ARR than another; it could be growing faster from a smaller base. And some companies in the mix did not share ARR growth, but instead disclosed other bits of data. We got what we could.

Gtmhub:

  • 400% ARR growth, 2019
  • 300% ARR growth, 2020
  • More: The company has seen strong ACV growth and its reportedly strong gross margins from 2019 held up in 2020, it said.
  • TechCrunch coverage

Perdoo:

  • 240% paid customer growth, 2020
  • 340% user base growth, 2020
  • Given strong market demand, a company representative told The Exchange that Perdoo had to restrict its free tier to 10 users.
  • TechCrunch coverage

WorkBoard:

A theory about the current IPO market

As expected, shares of Poshmark exploded this morning, blasting over 130% higher in afternoon trading from the company’s above-range IPO price of $42. The enormous and noisy debut of Poshmark comes a day after Affirm, another IPO, was treated similarly by the public markets.

Both explosive debuts were preceded by huge December debuts from C3.ai, Doordash and Airbnb. It seems today that any venture-backed company that can claim some sort of tech mantle is being treated to a strong IPO pricing run and a huge first-day result.

This is, of course, annoying to some people. Namely, certain elements of the venture capital community who would prefer to keep all outsized gains in their own pockets. But, no matter. You might be wondering what is going on. Let’s talk about it.

Here’s how you get a big first-day IPO pop

TechCrunch has covered the IPO window as closely as we can over the last few years. And the late-stage venture capital markets, along with the changing value of tech stocks and the huge boom in consumer (retail) investing.

Based on my participation in as much of that reporting as I could take part in here’s how you get a 130% first-day IPO pop in a company that has actually been around long enough for investors to math-out reasonable growth and profit expectations for the future:

  1. Exist in a climate of near-zero interest rates. This leads to super-cheap money, bonds being shit and no one wanting to hold cash. Lots of dollars go into more speculative assets, like stocks. And lots of money goes into exotic investments, like venture capital funds.

Poshmark prices IPO above range as public markets continue to YOLO startups

Here we are again. Again.

Yes, it’s another morning in which we have to discuss a venture-backed technology company going public at a price above its IPO range.

This time it’s Poshmark, which priced its IPO at $42 per share last night, comfortably ahead of its $35 to $39 range that already greatly boosted the company’s valuation. The consumer-to-consumer used fashion marketplace sold 6.6 million shares at its IPO price, raising a gross $277.2 million before other possible shares are sold.


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According to Crunchbase data, that’s the biggest round Poshmark has raised in its history.

The company was able to so greatly boost its valuation in the process that the resulting dilution is minute. This is the late-2020, early-2021 IPO market in action: Pick a private company, boost its worth greatly in its public offering when comparing to its last private valuation, send it to trade and watch its worth — usually — soar.

Then venture capitalists get to complain that Wall Street is underpricing their children while, from where I sit, it always appears that the VCs who put the last money into the company before its public offering tend to do even better than the bankers.

A useful question to ask: Who is underpricing whom?

But this morning we have some work to do. First, what are Poshmark’s final simple and diluted valuations, what revenue multiples does it sport today, and, what do we think its final pricing means for public markets in general?

A hint: Nothing that follows is bearish.

Poshmark’s IPO pricing

There are a few ways to consider Poshmark’s value. One is to use its simple share count, a figure that doesn’t include vested-yet-unexercised stock options and RSUs. Another is to include those shares.

Here are the resulting valuations:

Venture capitalists react to Visa-Plaid deal meltdown

Congratulations, you’re no longer selling your company for billions of dollars!

As strange as it sounds, that’s the leading perspective from venture capitalists concerning Plaid, now that its much-touted sale to Visa has fallen apart.

The $5.3 billion deal would have seen banking API startup Plaid join consumer payments and credit giant Visa. But the American government took a dim view of the deal, and according to Axios reporting, Plaid felt like it could be worth more money in time.

The TechCrunch team has collected views from venture capitalists, analysts and Anshu Sharma, CEO of another API-powered startup and a former VC to get a better view on the perspectives in the market concerning the blockbuster breakup.

From the venture capital side of things, most takes we received were bullish regarding Plaid’s chances now that it’s no longer being taken over by Visa. Amy Cheetham, for example, of Costanoa Ventures, said that the result is “good for the company, ultimately.” She added that Plaid may now see better “talent acquisition,” faster product decisions and a better eventual valuation.

“There is so much left for them to build in fintech infrastructure,” Cheetham said in an email, adding that she sees “Stripe-like scale potential” in Plaid. Stripe is reportedly raising capital at a valuation that could reach $100 billion.

Cheetham is not alone in her bullish perspective. Nico Berandi of Animo Ventures wrote to TechCrunch to say that he “still wishes” that his firm had been “around back then to have invested” in Plaid, adding a smiley face at the end of his missive.

Venture capitalists react to Visa-Plaid deal meltdown

Congratulations, you’re no longer selling your company for billions of dollars!

As strange as it sounds, that’s the leading perspective from venture capitalists concerning Plaid, now that its much-touted sale to Visa has fallen apart.

The $5.3 billion deal would have seen banking API startup Plaid join consumer payments and credit giant Visa. But the American government took a dim view of the deal, and according to Axios reporting, Plaid felt like it could be worth more money in time.

The TechCrunch team has collected views from venture capitalists, analysts and Anshu Sharma, CEO of another API-powered startup and a former VC to get a better view on the perspectives in the market concerning the blockbuster breakup.

From the venture capital side of things, most takes we received were bullish regarding Plaid’s chances now that it’s no longer being taken over by Visa. Amy Cheetham, for example, of Costanoa Ventures, said that the result is “good for the company, ultimately.” She added that Plaid may now see better “talent acquisition,” faster product decisions and a better eventual valuation.

“There is so much left for them to build in fintech infrastructure,” Cheetham said in an email, adding that she sees “Stripe-like scale potential” in Plaid. Stripe is reportedly raising capital at a valuation that could reach $100 billion.

Cheetham is not alone in her bullish perspective. Nico Berandi of Animo Ventures wrote to TechCrunch to say that he “still wishes” that his firm had been “around back then to have invested” in Plaid, adding a smiley face at the end of his missive.

Webflow raises $140M, pushing its valuation to $2.1 billion

This morning Webflow, a software company that helps businesses build no-code websites, announced that it has raised a $140 million Series B. The round, led by returning investors Accel and Silversmith, comes after the startup raised $72 million in an August, 2019 Series A.

The new funding values Webflow at more than $2.1 billion it said in a blog post that TechCrunch viewed before publication. Capital G, an Alphabet venture capital group, joined the Series B as well, with its investor Laela Sturdy joining the startup’s board.

Webflows offers a software that helps customers build websites without the need to write code; the company also offers hosting, and content-related capabilities.

Webflow’s product fits into a category of companies arguing that building software for the Internet should get easier over time, not harder. TechCrunch explored the no-code, low-code space 2020, including asking investors bullish on its market about their views concerning its future.

Webflow CEO Vlad Magdalin described the round as “opportunistic” for the company, telling TechCrunch that his company was not low on cash when the deal came together. Indeed, Magdalin said that his company ended 2020 cash-flow positive.

So why raise more money, let alone such a huge round? The CEO described the funds as “courage capital,” funds that will allow it to make investments into its business that may not have short-term revenue impacts. Magdalin said that the money may be spent on its enterprise products, support team, platform, and recruiting.

In an email, Accel investor, and Webflow board member Arun Mathew echoed the CEO’s comments, adding that the company doubled its customer base in 2020.

That Webflow managed to break into the realm of startup profitability is less surprising when we recall that the no-code software company bootstrapped for more than a half-decade before taking external funds; it’s done this before.

Raising capital has other impacts on a business than the ability to raise spend. New capital, a higher valuation, and noise about a business can bolster recruiting efforts, and assuage customers concerned that the startup in question could either evaporate due to a lack of cash, or wind up bought, and either stripped by a private-equity firm, or subsumed by a tech giant.

Big companies don’t want to tie themselves to a product that could disappear. Webflow, now valued at $2.1 billion after its Series B closed, may have allayed those concerns for the time being.

Asked how 2020 went for the company, Magdalin said that its business doubled, which he described as an acceleration of its previous results.

It’s not clear from our vantage point if the company is in the eight, or nine-figure revenue range, so it’s hard to vet how strong a roughly 100% growth rate is for Webflow; that it appears to have bested its 2019 growth rate in 2020 is encouraging for its future IPO prospects.

The company could see strong growth in 2021. Webflow’s CEO told TechCrunch that his company’s move up-market is starting to bear fruit. After noting that average contract values, or ACV, for its larger accounts were several orders of magnitude bigger than its sales agreements with SMBs, Magdalin said that its enterprise customers only account for around 5% of its present-day business today.

However, the CEO said that his firm had only begun to target the enterprise cohort last year, and expects to grow its larger-account business by a factor of ten this year.

And the company has big product plans, including building out its service to support richer and more powerful website creation. In the CEO’s view, websites are merely part of the software world, and he expects no-code tooling to take on more and more complex software tasks over time.

That could expand the broader no-code market, in our view, perhaps creating more space for startups to build services that allow for non-developers to depend less on engineering teams over time.

Mathew shares Magdalin’s bullish view on the no-code market, saying in an email that “the market is moving very quickly to being bullish on no-code tooling,” adding that we are “still very early in the adoption curve.”

Given that take, it’s not hard to see why Accel would want to double-down on Webflow. Accel has a history of making large-dollar bets into companies that bootstrapped to scale, including Webflow and Qualtrics. In the Qualtrics example, Accel led its Series A, B, and C, rounds worth a combined total of $400 million.

To see Accel lead another round for Webflow, then, is in-keeping with prior investing patterns from the firm.

Capital G’s Sturdy, Webflow’s new board member, told TechCrunch in an email that her firm has been “bullish on the massive potential of no code for years,” leading it to hunt for “the most promising companies utilizing no code to transform sectors and democratize access to key tools.” Let’s see what it can do with another huge check and some time.

Visa will not acquire Plaid after running into regulatory wall

Visa and Plaid called off their agreement this afternoon, ending the consumer credit giant’s takeover of the data-focused fintech API startup.

The deal, valued at $5.3 billion at the time of its announcement, first broke cover on January 13th, 2020, or nearly one year ago to the day. However, the American Department of Justice filed suit to block the deal in November of 2020, arguing that the combination would “eliminate a nascent competitive threat that would likely result in substantial savings and more innovative online debit services for merchants and consumers.”

At the time Visa argued that the government’s point of view was “flawed.”

However, today the two companies confirmed the deal is officially off. In a release Visa wrote that it could have eventually executed the deal, but that “protracted and complex litigation” would take lots of time to sort out.

It all got too hard, in other words.

Plaid was a bit more upbeat in its own notes, writing that in the last year it has seen “an unprecedented uptick in demand for the services powered by Plaid.” Given the fintech boom that 2020 saw, as consumers flocked to free stock trading apps and neobanks, that Plaid saw growth last year is not surprising; after all, Plaid’s product sits between consumers and fintech companies, so if those parties were executing more transactions, the API startup likely saw more demand for its own offerings.

TechCrunch reached out to Plaid for comment on its plans as an independent company, also asking how quickly it grew during 2020.

While the Visa-Plaid deal was merely a single transaction, its scuttling doesn’t bode well for other fintech startups and unicorns that might have eyed an exit to a wealthy incumbent. The Department of Justice, in other words, may have undercut the chances of M&A exits for a number of fintech-focused startups – or at least created more skittishness around that possible exit path.

If so, expected exit valuations for fintech upstarts could fall. And that could ding both fintech-focused venture capital activity, and the price at which startups in the niche can raise funds. If the Visa-Plaid deal was a huge boon to fintech companies that used it as a signpost to help raise money at new, higher valuations, the inverse may also prove true.

Visa will not acquire Plaid after running into regulatory wall

Visa and Plaid called off their agreement this afternoon, ending the consumer credit giant’s takeover of the data-focused fintech API startup.

The deal, valued at $5.3 billion at the time of its announcement, first broke cover on January 13th, 2020, or nearly one year ago to the day. However, the American Department of Justice filed suit to block the deal in November of 2020, arguing that the combination would “eliminate a nascent competitive threat that would likely result in substantial savings and more innovative online debit services for merchants and consumers.”

At the time Visa argued that the government’s point of view was “flawed.”

However, today the two companies confirmed the deal is officially off. In a release Visa wrote that it could have eventually executed the deal, but that “protracted and complex litigation” would take lots of time to sort out.

It all got too hard, in other words.

Plaid was a bit more upbeat in its own notes, writing that in the last year it has seen “an unprecedented uptick in demand for the services powered by Plaid.” Given the fintech boom that 2020 saw, as consumers flocked to free stock trading apps and neobanks, that Plaid saw growth last year is not surprising; after all, Plaid’s product sits between consumers and fintech companies, so if those parties were executing more transactions, the API startup likely saw more demand for its own offerings.

TechCrunch reached out to Plaid for comment on its plans as an independent company, also asking how quickly it grew during 2020.

While the Visa-Plaid deal was merely a single transaction, its scuttling doesn’t bode well for other fintech startups and unicorns that might have eyed an exit to a wealthy incumbent. The Department of Justice, in other words, may have undercut the chances of M&A exits for a number of fintech-focused startups – or at least created more skittishness around that possible exit path.

If so, expected exit valuations for fintech upstarts could fall. And that could ding both fintech-focused venture capital activity, and the price at which startups in the niche can raise funds. If the Visa-Plaid deal was a huge boon to fintech companies that used it as a signpost to help raise money at new, higher valuations, the inverse may also prove true.

Techstars names Maëlle Gavet CEO as the accelerator group looks to expand

This morning Techstars, a network of startup accelerators and a venture capital fund, announced that Maëlle Gavet is its new CEO. Former CEO and co-founder David Brown will stay on Techstars’ board, while the group’s other co-founder, David Cohen, will become the chairman of its board.

TechCrunch spoke with Gavet this morning about her new job, the timing of the change, the company’s plans for expansion and her goals in the role.

Gavet, who said she was brought aboard to help Techstars grow, detailed her work experience at prior roles in companies of greater scale and multiple geographies, including Compass and Booking.com.

TechCrunch was curious, given how large the startup market is, how much space there is left for Techstars to expand into new geographies and niches. Gavet said that she had asked the same question to Techstars when she was being recruited for her new role. She said there is a wealth of overlooked talent and underinvested geographies that could be empowered and unlocked with capital and help. Techstars wants to go find those founders and invest in them.

That means, we presume, more accelerators in more places investing in more founders.

Gavet told TechCrunch that Techstars has invested in over 2,300 companies and is putting capital into around 500 yearly.

The new CEO explained that she believes it is possible to generate strong returns for her investors while providing lots of support for entrepreneurs and having a positive social impact. That’s an ambitious list of things to execute at once, but if she succeeds her effort could help diversify the world of tech entrepreneurs, something that has long been needed.

Seeing a startup exchange leaders to optimize for different, and larger-scale, operating experience is not rare. For a meta-startup, an accelerator-and-investing concern, to do the same is not surprising.

TechCrunch regularly covers accelerator cohorts, including Techstars (some recent notes here) and Y Combinator, among other programs. Some of tech’s biggest names have come out of such accelerator groups, historically, including Airbnb (now public) from Michael Seibel-led Y Combinator, TalkDesk (worth over $3 billion) from Christine Tsai-led 500 Startups, and Techstars’ own SendGrid (bought by Twilio for $2 billion).

It will be interesting to see where Techstars takes its accelerator model next — the group sometimes partners with companies, or groups like the United States Air Force to sponsor and support tailored programs — in terms of location and focus. But if it can successfully help diversify the founder pool at the same time as making itself money, it will underscore how others in its market could do better.