bmbl-10k_20201231.htm

 

UNITED STATES

SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION

Washington, D.C. 20549

 

FORM 10-K

 

(Mark One)

ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2020

OR

TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934 FOR THE TRANSITION PERIOD FROM                      TO                     

Commission File Number 001-40054

 

Bumble Inc.

(Exact name of Registrant as specified in its Charter)

 

 

Delaware

85-3604367

(State or other jurisdiction of

incorporation or organization)

(I.R.S. Employer

Identification No.)

1105 West 41st Street

Austin, Texas

78756

(Address of principal executive offices)

(Zip Code)

Registrant’s telephone number, including area code: (512) 696-1409

 

Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:

 

Title of each class

 

Trading

Symbol(s)

 

Name of each exchange on which registered

Class A common stock, par value $0.01 per share

 

BMBL

 

The Nasdaq Stock Market LLC

Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act: None

Indicate by check mark if the Registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act. YES  NO 

Indicate by check mark if the Registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d) of the Act.  YES  NO 

Indicate by check mark whether the Registrant: (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the Registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days.  YES  NO 

Indicate by check mark whether the Registrant has submitted electronically every Interactive Data File required to be submitted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T (§232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the Registrant was required to submit such files).  YES  NO 

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, smaller reporting company, or an emerging growth company. See the definitions of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer,” “smaller reporting company,” and “emerging growth company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act.

 

Large accelerated filer

 

  

Accelerated filer

 

 

 

 

 

Non-accelerated filer

 

  

Smaller reporting company

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Emerging growth company

 

 

 

 

 

 

If an emerging growth company, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards provided pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act.  

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has filed a report on and attestation to its management’s assessment of the effectiveness of its internal control over financial reporting under Section 404(b) of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (15 U.S.C. 7262(b)) by the registered public accounting firm that prepared or issued its audit report.  

Indicate by check mark whether the Registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act).  YES  NO 

The aggregate market value of the voting and non-voting common equity held by non-affiliates as of the last business day of the registrant’s most recently completed second fiscal quarter was $0.

As of February 26, 2021, Bumble Inc. had 115,343,526 shares of Class A common stock, par value $0.01 per share, outstanding and 100 shares of Class B common stock, par value $0.01 per share, outstanding.

 

 


Table of Contents

 

 

 

 

Page

PART I

 

 

 

Item 1.

Business

 

7

Item 1A.

Risk Factors

 

14

Item 1B.

Unresolved Staff Comments

 

47

Item 2.

Properties

 

47

Item 3.

Legal Proceedings

 

47

Item 4.

Mine Safety Disclosures

 

48

 

 

 

 

PART II

 

 

 

Item 5.

Market for Registrant’s Common Equity, Related Stockholder Matters and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities

 

49

Item 6.

Selected Financial Data

 

50

Item 7.

Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations

 

51

Item 7A.

Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures About Market Risk

 

69

Item 8.

Financial Statements and Supplementary Data

 

70

Item 9.

Changes in and Disagreements With Accountants on Accounting and Financial Disclosure

 

107

Item 9A.

Controls and Procedures

 

107

Item 9B.

Other Information

 

108

 

 

 

 

PART III

 

 

 

Item 10.

Directors, Executive Officers and Corporate Governance

 

109

Item 11.

Executive Compensation

 

115

Item 12.

Security Ownership of Certain Beneficial Owners and Management and Related Stockholder Matters

 

128

Item 13.

Certain Relationships and Related Transactions, and Director Independence

 

132

Item 14.

Principal Accountant Fees and Services

 

138

 

 

 

 

PART IV

 

 

 

Item 15.

Exhibits, Financial Statement Schedules

 

140

Item 16.

Form 10-K Summary

 

142

 

 

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CAUTIONARY STATEMENT REGARDING Forward-Looking Statements

This Annual Report on Form 10-K, or this Annual Report, contains “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These forward-looking statements reflect the current views of management of Bumble Inc. with respect to, among other things, its operations, its financial performance, its industry and the impact of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (“COVID-19”) on its business. Forward-looking statements include all statements that are not historical facts. In some cases, you can identify these forward-looking statements by the use of words such as “outlook,” “believe(s),” “expect(s),” “potential,” “continue(s),” “may,” “will,” “should,” “could,” “would,” “seek(s),” “predict(s),” “intend(s),” “trends,” “plan(s),” “estimate(s),” “anticipates,” “projection,” “will likely result” and or the negative version of these words or other comparable words of a future or forward-looking nature. Such forward-looking statements are subject to various risks and uncertainties. Accordingly, there are or will be important factors that could cause actual outcomes or results to differ materially from those indicated in these statements. These factors include but are not limited to those described in Part I, “Item 1A—Risk Factors”. These factors should not be construed as exhaustive and should be read in conjunction with the other cautionary statements that are included in this Annual Report. Bumble Inc. undertakes no obligation to publicly update or review any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future developments or otherwise, except as required by law.

ABOUT THIS ANNUAL REPORT

Financial Statement Presentation

This Annual Report includes certain historical consolidated financial and other data for Buzz Holdings L.P., a Delaware limited partnership (“Bumble Holdings”). Bumble Holdings was formed primarily as a vehicle to finance the acquisition (the “Sponsor Acquisition”) on January 29, 2020 of a majority stake in Worldwide Vision Limited by a group of investment funds managed by The Blackstone Group Inc. (“Blackstone”). As Bumble Holdings did not have any previous operations, Worldwide Vision Limited, a Bermuda exempted limited company, and its subsidiaries (the “Predecessor”) is viewed as the predecessor to Bumble Holdings and its consolidated subsidiaries (the “Successor”).  

On January 29, 2020, Worldwide Vision Limited was merged via a solvent transfer of trade and assets into Buzz Merger Sub Limited, a Bermuda limited company and indirect subsidiary of Bumble Holdings, which carried forward and continued to operate the Worldwide Vision Limited trade as of that date. As a result, on January 29, 2020, Worldwide Vision Limited ceased to exist and Buzz Merger Sub Limited was subsequently renamed Worldwide Vision Limited. On September 9, 2020, Worldwide Vision Limited merged with and into Buzz Finco L.L.C., a Delaware limited liability company and an indirect subsidiary of Bumble Holdings., with Buzz Finco L.L.C. surviving such merger.

Bumble Inc. was incorporated as a Delaware corporation on October 5, 2020. Prior to the completion of its initial public offering (the “IPO”) on February 16, 2021, Bumble Inc. undertook certain reorganization transactions (the “Reorganization Transactions”) such that Bumble Inc. is now a holding company, and its sole material asset is a controlling equity interest in Bumble Holdings. As the general partner of Bumble Holdings, Bumble Inc. now operates and controls all of the business and affairs of Bumble Holdings, has the obligation to absorb losses and receive benefits from Bumble Holdings and, through Bumble Holdings and its subsidiaries, conduct its business. As a result, the consolidated financial statements of Bumble Inc. will recognize the assets and liabilities received in the Reorganization Transactions at their historical carrying amounts, as reflected in the historical financial statements of Bumble Holdings. Bumble Inc. will consolidate Bumble Holdings on its consolidated financial statements and record a non-controlling interest, related to the Common Units (as defined below) and the Incentive Units (as defined below) held by its pre-IPO owners, on its consolidated balance sheet and statement of operations.  

Bumble Inc. had no significant business transactions or activities prior to the Reorganization Transactions, and, as a result, the historical financial information reflects that of Bumble Holdings.

Certain Definitions

As used in this Annual Report, unless otherwise noted or the context requires otherwise:

 

“Badoo App and Other Average Revenue per Paying User” or “Badoo App and Other ARPPU” is a metric calculated based on Badoo App and Other Revenue in any measurement period, excluding any revenue generated from advertising and partnerships or affiliates, divided by Badoo App and Other Paying Users in such period divided by the number of months in the period.

 

a “Badoo App and Other Paying User” is a user that has purchased or renewed a subscription plan and/or made an in-app purchase on the Badoo app in a given month (or made a purchase on one of our other apps that we owned and operated in a given month, or purchase on other third-party apps that used our technology in the relevant period). We calculate Badoo App and Other Paying Users as a monthly average, by counting the number of Badoo App and Other Paying Users in each month and then dividing by the number of months in the relevant measurement period.

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“Badoo App and Other Revenue” is revenue derived from purchases or renewals of a Badoo subscription plan and/or in-app purchases on the Badoo app in the relevant period, purchases on one of our other apps that we owned and operated in the relevant period, purchases on other third party apps that used our technology in the relevant period and advertising, partnerships or affiliates revenue in the relevant period.

 

“Blocker Companies” refer to certain entities that are taxable as corporations for U.S. federal income tax purposes in which the Pre-IPO Shareholders held interests.

 

“Blocker Restructuring” refers to certain restructuring transactions that resulted in the acquisition by Pre-IPO Shareholders of shares of Class A common stock in exchange for their ownership interests in the Blocker Companies and Bumble Inc. acquiring an equal number of outstanding Common Units.

 

“Bumble,” the “Company,” “we,” “us” and “our” refer (1) prior to the consummation of the Sponsor Acquisition, to Worldwide Vision Limited, a Bermuda exempted limited company, and its consolidated subsidiaries, (2) after the Sponsor Acquisition but prior to the consummation of the Offering Transactions described under “Item 7―Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations―Factors Affecting the Comparability of Our Results of Operations―Initial Public Offering and Offering Transactions” to Buzz Holdings L.P., a Delaware limited partnership, and its consolidated subsidiaries and (3) after the Offering Transactions described under “Item 7―Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations―Factors Affecting the Comparability of Our Results of Operations―Initial Public Offering and Offering Transactions” to Bumble Inc. and its consolidated subsidiaries.

 

“Bumble App Average Revenue per Paying User” or “Bumble App ARPPU” is a metric calculated based on Bumble App Revenue in any measurement period, divided by Bumble App Paying Users in such period divided by the number of months in the period.

 

a “Bumble App Paying User” is a user that has purchased or renewed a Bumble subscription plan and/or made an in-app purchase on the Bumble app in a given month. We calculate Bumble App Paying Users as a monthly average, by counting the number of Bumble App Paying Users in each month and then dividing by the number of months in the relevant measurement period.

 

 

“Bumble App Revenue” is revenue derived from purchases or renewals of a Bumble subscription plan and/or in-app purchases on the Bumble app in the relevant period.

 

“Bumble BFF” or “Bumble for Friends” is a mode within the Bumble app that enables users to form platonic connections.

 

“Bumble Bizz” is a mode within the Bumble app that enables users to form professional connections.

 

“Bumble Date” is a mode within the Bumble app that enables users to form romantic connections.

 

“Bumble Holdings” refers to Buzz Holdings L.P., a Delaware limited partnership.

 

“Blackstone” or “our Sponsor” refer to investment funds associated with The Blackstone Group Inc.

 

“Co-Investor” or “Accel” refer to an affiliate of Accel Partners LP.

 

“Class B Units” refers to the interests in Bumble Holdings called “Class B Units” that were outstanding prior to the Reclassification.

 

“Common Units” refers to the new class of units of Bumble Holdings created by the Reclassification and does not include Incentive Units.

 

“Continuing Incentive Unitholders” refers to certain pre-IPO holders of Class B Units who hold Incentive Units following the consummation of the Reorganization Transactions and the Offering Transactions.

 

“Converting Class B Unitholder” refers to pre-IPO holders of Class B Units that are not Continuing Incentive Unitholders.

 

“Founder” refers to Whitney Wolfe Herd, the founder of Bumble, our Chief Executive Officer and member of our board of directors, together with entities beneficially owned by her.

 

“High Vote Termination Date” means the earlier to occur of (i) seven years from the closing of the IPO and (ii) the date the parties to the stockholders agreement cease to own in the aggregate 7.5% of the outstanding shares of Class A common stock, assuming exchange of all Common Units.

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“Incentive Units” refers to the new class of units of Bumble Holdings created by the reclassification of the Class B Units in the Reclassification. The Incentive Units are “profit interests” having economic characteristics similar to stock appreciation rights and having the right to share in any equity value of Bumble Holdings above specified participation thresholds. Vested Incentive Units may be converted to Common Units and be subsequently exchanged for shares of Class A common stock.

 

“Incentive Unitholders” refers collectively to our Continuing Incentive Unitholders and eligible service providers that received Incentive Units at the time of the IPO in connection with such individual’s employment or service.

 

“Offering Transactions” refers to the offering of Class A common stock in the IPO and certain related transactions, as defined in “Item 7―Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations―Factors Affecting the Comparability of Our Results of Operations―Initial Public Offering and Offering Transactions”.

 

“Pre-IPO Common Unitholders” refer to pre-IPO owners that hold Common Units following the Reclassification.

 

“pre-IPO owners” refer to our Founder, our Sponsor, Co-Investor and management and other equity holders who are the owners of Bumble Holdings immediately prior to the Offering Transactions.

 

“Pre-IPO Shareholders” refer to pre-IPO owners that received shares of Class A common stock of Bumble Inc. pursuant to the Blocker Restructuring.

 

“Principal Stockholders” refers collectively to our Founder and our Sponsor.

 

“Reclassification” refers to the reclassification of the limited partnership interests of Bumble Holdings in connection with the IPO pursuant to which certain outstanding Class A units were reclassified into a new class of limited partnership interests that we refer to as “Common Units” and certain outstanding Class B Units were reclassified into a new class of limited partnership interests that we refer to as “Incentive Units.”.

 

 

“Sponsor Acquisition” refers to the acquisition on January 29, 2020 by our Sponsor of a majority stake in Worldwide Vision Limited and certain transactions related thereto, as described in “Item 13―Certain Relationships and Related Transactions, and Director Independence —Sponsor Acquisition.”

 

“Successor Period” is the period from January 29, 2020 to December 31, 2020.

 

“Total Average Revenue per Paying User” or “Total ARPPU” is a metric calculated based on Total Revenue in any measurement period, excluding any revenue generated from advertising and partnerships or affiliates, divided by the Total Paying Users in such period divided by the number of months in the period.

 

“Total Paying Users” is the sum of Bumble App Paying Users and Badoo App and Other Paying Users.

 

“Total Revenue” is the sum of Bumble App Revenue and Badoo App and Other Revenue.

 

“user” is a user ID, a unique identifier assigned during registration.

 

RISK FACTOR SUMMARY

An investment in shares of our Class A common stock involves substantial risks and uncertainties that may materially adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations and cash flows. Some of the more significant challenges and risks relating to an investment in our Company are summarized below. The following is only a summary of the principal risks that may materially adversely affect our business, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows. The following should be read in conjunction with the more complete discussion of the risk factors we face, which are set forth in Part I, “Item 1A— Risk Factors” in this Annual Report.

 

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 dating industry is highly competitive, with low switching costs and a consistent stream of new products and entrants, and innovation by our competitors may disrupt our business.  

 

Distribution and marketing of, and access to, our products depends, in significant part, on a variety of third-party publishers and platforms. If these third parties limit, prohibit or otherwise interfere with or change the terms of the distribution, use or marketing of our products in any material way, it could materially adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.

 

Access to our products depends on mobile app stores and other third parties such as data center service providers, as well as third party payment aggregators, computer systems, internet transit providers and other communications systems and service providers. If third parties such as the Apple App Store or Google Play Store adopt and enforce policies that limit,

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prohibit or eliminate our ability to distribute or update our applications through their stores, it could materially adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.

 

If we are not able to maintain the value and reputation of our brands, our ability to expand our base of users may be impaired, and our business and financial results may be harmed.

 

Changes to our existing brands and products, or the introduction of new brands or products, could fail to attract or retain users or generate revenue and profits.

 

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.

 

If the security of personal and confidential or sensitive user information that we maintain and store is breached, or otherwise accessed by unauthorized persons, it may be costly to remediate such breach and our reputation could be harmed.

 

We are subject to a number of risks related to credit card payments, including data security breaches and fraud that we or third parties experience or additional regulation, any of which could materially adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.

 

If we are unable to obtain, maintain, protect and enforce intellectual property rights and successfully defend against claims of infringement, misappropriation or other violations of third-party intellectual property, it could materially adversely affect our business.

 

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.

 

Our business is subject to complex and evolving U.S. and international laws and regulations. Many of these laws and regulations are subject to change and uncertain interpretation, and could result in claims, changes to our business practices, monetary penalties, increased cost of operations, or declines in user growth or engagement, or otherwise harm our business.

 

The varying and rapidly-evolving regulatory framework on privacy and data protection across jurisdictions could result in claims, changes to our business practices, monetary penalties, increased cost of operations, or declines in user growth or engagement, or otherwise harm our business.

 

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.

 

Our Sponsor and our Founder control us and their interests may conflict with ours or yours in the future.

 

The outsized voting rights of our Principal Stockholders have the effect of concentrating voting control with our Principal Stockholders, limit or preclude your ability to influence corporate matters and may have a potential adverse effect on the price of our Class A common stock.

 

We are a “controlled company” within the meaning of Nasdaq rules and, as a result, we qualify for exemptions from certain corporate governance requirements. If we rely on such exemptions in the future, you will not have the same protections afforded to stockholders of companies that are subject to such requirements.

 

Market and Industry Data

This Annual Report includes market and industry data and forecasts that we have derived from independent consultant reports; publicly available information; various industry publications; other published industry sources, including Mixpanel; and our internal data and estimates. In addition, this Annual Report includes market and industry data derived from the following study published by Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (“PNAS”): Michael J. Rosenfeld, Reuben J. Thomas, and Sonia Hausen. 2019. “Disintermediating your Friends: How online dating in the United States displaces other ways of meeting.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 116:17753–17758. Independent consultant reports, industry publications and other published industry sources generally indicate that the information contained therein was obtained from sources believed to be reliable.

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Although we believe that these third-party sources are reliable, we do not guarantee the accuracy or completeness of this information, and we have not independently verified this information. Some market data and statistical information are also based on our good faith estimates, which are derived from management’s knowledge of our industry and such independent sources referred to above. Certain market, ranking and industry data included elsewhere in this Annual Report, including the size of certain markets and our size or position and the positions of our competitors within these markets, including our services relative to our competitors, are based on estimates of our management. These estimates have been derived from our management’s knowledge and experience in the markets in which we operate, as well as information obtained from surveys, reports by market research firms, our customers, distributors, suppliers, trade and business organizations and other contacts in the markets in which we operate and have not been verified by independent sources. Unless otherwise noted, all of our market share and market position information presented in this Annual Report is an approximation. Our market share and market position in each of our lines of business, unless otherwise noted, is based on our sales relative to the estimated sales in the markets we served. References herein to our being a leader in a market or product category refer to our belief that we have a leading market share position in each specified market, unless the context otherwise requires. As there are no publicly available sources supporting this belief, it is based solely on our internal analysis of our sales as compared to our estimates of sales of our competitors. In addition, the discussion herein regarding our various end markets is based on how we define the end markets for our products, which products may be either part of larger overall end markets or end markets that include other types of products and services.

Our internal data and estimates are based upon information obtained from trade and business organizations and other contacts in the markets in which we operate and our management’s understanding of industry conditions. Although we believe that such information is reliable, we have not had this information verified by any independent sources.

Projections, assumptions and estimates of the future performance of the markets in which we operate and our future performance are necessarily subject to uncertainty and risk due to a variety of factors, including those described in Part I, “Item 1A— Risk Factors”. These and other factors could cause results to differ materially from those expressed in the estimates made by the independent sources and by us.

Trademarks, Service Marks and Copyrights

We own or have rights to trademarks, service marks or trade names that we use in connection with the operation of our businesses, including, but not limited to, Bumble and Badoo. In addition, our names, logos, website domain names and addresses are our service marks or trademarks. Other trademarks, service marks, trade names and copyrighted materials appearing in this Annual Report are the property of their respective owners. We do not intend our use or display of other companies’ trademarks, service marks, trade names, or copyrighted materials to imply a relationship with, endorsement or sponsorship of us by, any other companies.

Solely for convenience, certain trademarks, service marks, trade names and copyrights referred to in this Annual Report are listed without the ©, ® or symbols, but such references are not intended to indicate, in any way, that we will not assert, to the fullest extent under applicable law, our rights or the rights of the applicable licensors to these trademarks, service marks, trade names and copyrights.

 

 

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PART I

Item 1. Business

Who We Are

Bumble was founded because we noticed two different, yet related issues in our society: antiquated gender norms, and a lack of kindness and accountability on the internet. We observed that women were often treated unequally in society, especially in romantic relationships. At the same time, social networks created possibilities for connections, but they were focused on connections with people you already know and lacked guardrails to encourage better behavior online.

We created Bumble to change this. The Bumble brand was built with women at the center—where women make the first move. Our platform is designed to be safe and empowering for women, and, in turn, provides a better environment for everyone. We are leveraging innovative technology solutions to create a more inclusive, safe and accountable way to connect online for all users regardless of gender.

Our platform enables people to connect and build equitable and healthy relationships on their own terms. We believe there is a significant opportunity to extend our platform beyond online dating into healthy relationships across all areas of life: love, friendships, careers and beyond. By empowering women across all of their relationships, we believe that we have the potential to become a preeminent global women’s brand.

Today, Bumble operates two apps, Bumble and Badoo, where over 40 million users come on a monthly basis to discover new people and connect with each other in a safe, secure and empowering environment. We are a leader in the fast-growing online dating space, which has become increasingly popular over the last decade and is now the most common way for new couples to meet in the United States according to a study published by PNAS.

Bumble and Badoo ranked among the top five grossing iOS lifestyle apps in 30 and 91 countries, respectively, as of December 31, 2020.

 

The Bumble app, launched in 2014, is one of the first dating apps built with women at the center. On Bumble, women make the first move. Bumble is a leader in the online dating sector across several countries, including the United States, United Kingdom, Australia and Canada. We had approximately 1.1 million Bumble App Paying Users during the year ended December 31, 2020.

 

The Badoo app, launched in 2006, was one of the pioneers of web and mobile free-to-use dating products. Badoo’s mantra of “Date Honestly” extends our focus on building meaningful connections to everyone. Badoo continues to be a market leader in Europe and Latin America and is diversified across geographies as a top three grossing iOS lifestyle app in 59 countries as of December 31, 2020. We had approximately 1.4 million Badoo App and Other Paying Users during the year ended December 31, 2020.

Bumble is more than our apps—we are powering a movement. Our mission-first strategy ensures that values guide our business decisions and our business performance enables us to drive impact. Our strategy is anchored by our powerful brand, product leadership, operational excellence and impact initiatives. Examples of how our mission drives our business include:

 

We enhance our brand through impact initiatives beyond our apps, including initiatives such as policy advocacy to ban unwanted lewd images online and our commitment to invest in women founders through the Bumble Fund (our early-stage, corporate investing vehicle focused primarily on businesses founded and led by women of color).

 

We enhance our brand through marketing campaigns centered around elevating women, including the “Be the CEO Your Parents Wanted You to Marry” and “Believe Women” campaigns.

Our users connect deeply with our brand, making it a powerful marketing tool which generates word of mouth virality and strong, efficient user acquisition. As our community continues to grow, user engagement and monetization increase. These increases enable us to reinvest in product innovation and marketing and, in turn, attract more people to our platform. This results in powerful network effects, driving growth and strong unit economics.

We believe that the best way to compete in a world where people have multiple ways to connect is through product innovation. We uniquely design our products to facilitate engagement prioritizing safety and accountability across the user experience. We continuously collect user feedback, which informs our product development roadmap. The more we know about our community’s interests, the better we can innovate products that maximize their chances of making connections most likely to turn into the relationships they are looking for. The Bumble and Badoo apps share a common infrastructure, which allows insights to be shared between apps. Our shared infrastructure is also critical to providing our users with personalized and superior experiences. Our team has a strong track record of product leadership in online dating. We were among the first major dating apps to introduce automated photo verification as a safety feature and launch in-app video chat.

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We see significant upside in our core online dating market driven by the steady growth of the global singles population, increasing adoption of online dating both in the United States and globally and increasing propensity to pay for online dating. We started with online dating and now have insights from our community that have encouraged us to extend Bumble into many more areas of life. We have built our platform with the flexibility to pursue these opportunities in the future. For example, we are in the early stages of building products for platonic friendships and business networking with Bumble BFF and Bumble Bizz, respectively.

Our financial model is characterized by a rare combination of growth, scale, strong profitability and cash flow generation. Both the Bumble and Badoo apps monetize via a freemium model where the use of our service is free and a subset of our users pay for subscriptions or in-app purchases to access premium features. These features maximize our users’ probability and speed of developing meaningful connections.

On February 16, 2021, we completed our IPO of 57.5 million shares of our Class A common stock, par value $0.01 per share (“Class A Common Stock”).

Our Technology Has Transformed Online Dating

Technology is at the core of what differentiates our platform. We have a global team of software engineers and product managers who drive the development of our platform. We release live updates rapidly, often once a week to our mobile app and twice a day to our server backend, allowing us to run hundreds of tests simultaneously across the entire audience. The rapid nature of our testing framework allows us to optimize the user experience. Our technology and product teams work hand in hand from ideation to product launch, and this has allowed us to be at the forefront of releasing features geared towards improving the safety of our community.

Our technology platform is fueled by:

 

Shared infrastructure: The Bumble and Badoo apps share a common infrastructure, which allows insights to be shared between apps. This allows us to quickly test new features and migrate from one app to the other. For instance, we built the video chat feature on the Badoo app over a span of six months, but it took only two months to migrate that feature to the Bumble app. This provides us with flexibility to share features where appropriate and improves execution at scale by driving faster improvements in our apps, while simultaneously driving operating efficiencies by reducing the cost of launching new features. Given our shared infrastructure, we can also innovate and scale efficiently as we enter new geographies and new categories outside online dating.

 

 

Our data and machine learning capabilities: We are continually analyzing data from user interactions on our platform, allowing us to constantly optimize the user experience. We have machine and deep learning capabilities that we leverage to personalize the potential matches we display and to inform our product pipeline. We are able to also target users who are likely to purchase a subscription package or in-app feature and tailor the experience for them. Our machine and deep learning posture plays a key role in identity fraud prevention as well as blocking inappropriate behavior and content from polluting our platform.

 

Our data protection and privacy standards: We are both committed and mandated to adhere to strict privacy standards.

The Bumble App

Profile, Matching and Chatting

Setting up a profile on Bumble is easy. First, users input their name, age, gender identity, sexual orientation / who they are looking for, and a photo. In addition, we offer multiple ways for users to add customization and detail to their profiles. Users can also add Badges to their profiles, which allows a user to prominently display certain values or characteristics, ranging from religion, to preference around having children, to zodiac sign. We also enable enhanced personalization of your profile, through integration with Spotify and Instagram. The profile set up includes features geared towards our users’ safety—for example, by encouraging additional photographs, verifying their profile, and utilizing offering filters to search for other verified users to protect themselves from “catfishing” or profiles with false identities. We require all users to review our community guidelines which include items such as respecting all users regardless of their identity and only uploading your own photos.

 We use a matching algorithm combined with the preferences provided by users to recommend potential connections. Users can opt to use one of our filters to be more specific in the types of matches they see. A user can swipe right to vote “yes” to a potential match, or left to go to the next profile, or react with an emoji to a part of someone’s profile. When both users vote yes, a connection is made. After an initial match is formed, users on Bumble must initiate a chat within 24 hours or the connection disappears. As our motto implies, women make the first move by initiating a chat in a heterosexual connection. Free users can extend one match per day by adding another 24 hours to the countdown. We offer our users multiple mediums to engage with their matches, including through voice chat, video chatting, voice recordings, or GIFs—animated images. These features not only enrich the conversation but also improve safety by allowing added layers of verification and interactions prior to meeting in person. Users can also opt to play our Question Game which asks both users in a match the same question.

 

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Safety

The safety and security of our users is a key priority. In addition to prioritizing verification of users and offering communication like voice and video chat tools to allow interactions before or in lieu of in-person meeting without exchanging sensitive personal information, we have also engineered other safety features such as Private Detector, which uses machine learning to identify and flag potentially unwanted lewd images. Our Safety Center is an in-app section with advice around safety and security, standards of behavior, how to report unwanted behavior, and other information about how Bumble maintains safety. We also prioritize mental health by offering options such as Snooze, which temporarily hides a user’s profile to potential matches allowing users to take a break from the platform, without losing their match history or profile details.

 

 

Premium Features

Our subscription offerings, Bumble Boost and Bumble Premium, provide users with additional features to increase their success making a meaningful connection. We offer users flexible subscription plans, and the most common lengths are 7-day, 30-day and 90-day. The most popular features included in the subscription plans are:

 

Beeline: The Beeline shows you who likes you: potential suiters who have already voted yes on the user, but on which the user has not yet voted one way or another. Bumble Premium subscribers can not only see the Beeline, but they can also apply their filters for a more curated experience.

 

Rematch: Allows Bumble Boost and Bumble Premium subscribers to rematch with any of the prior matches that have already expired after a 24-hour period.

 

Extend: Bumble Boost and Bumble Premium subscribers have an unlimited number of 24-hour extensions on conversations.

There are also additional, in-app purchases that subscribers and non-subscribing users can purchase. Some of these features are included in Bumble Boost and Bumble Premium, whereas most are additional features we offer on top of the subscription platform. Some of these additional in-app purchases include:

 

SuperSwipe: Users can use SuperSwipe to inform potential matches that they are confidently interested in them, whereas typically a yes vote is anonymous until both matches vote yes.

 

Spotlight: Users can use Spotlight to advance their profile to the top of the list of potential matches so it is viewable by more potential matches instantly.

 

Travel Mode: Users can change their location to anywhere in the world, opening up potential matches in new geographies rather than just nearby.

 

Backtrack: Allows users to undo a “no” vote to revisit potential matches.

 

Bumble BFF and Bumble Bizz

In addition to dating, we offer users the opportunity to develop platonic connections through Bumble BFF for friendships and Bumble Bizz for professional networking and mentorship. Bumble BFF and Bumble Bizz have a format similar to Bumble Date, requiring users to set up profiles and matching users through “yes” and “no” votes, similar to the dating platform.

 

 

 

The Badoo App

Profile, Matching and Chatting

Badoo’s profile customizations include the ability to add photos, work or education background, and other personal information such as height, body type, and religion. We also allow profile videos on the Badoo app, which is not currently available on the Bumble app. Aligned with our Badoo mantra of dating honestly, users can answer the question of “What I Honestly Want,” encouraging users to express their genuine, true self and intentions for the app. Another unique feature of the Badoo app is the My Interests feature, which allows users to highlight certain topics by entering words or multiple words that are then displayed on the front screen of all users’ profiles. The My Interests feature is another opportunity for our users to bring their full genuine selves to the app.

 

The Badoo app has a similar matching algorithm to Bumble and the same vote “yes” or “no” methodology by swiping right and left, respectively. However, the Badoo app also has a “People Nearby” feature which allows users to see all potential connections nearby. Unlike on the Bumble app, where messaging is restricted until both users vote yes, Badoo allows users to directly message anyone who is of interest immediately without having to mutually vote yes. The Badoo app also has a Bumped Into feature, which connects people who are frequently in nearby vicinity. Badoo messaging capabilities include GIFs, gift giving, photos, audio, voice calls, and video calls.

 

 

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Premium Features

Our premium subscription offering on the Badoo app, Badoo Premium, includes additional features such as:

 

Liked You: Allows users to find out who has already liked them.

 

Extra Shows: Pushes the user’s profile to the front of the queue.

 

Undo Vote: Undoes a “no” vote on a potential match.

These subscription plans also offer flexible packages, similar to on the Bumble app. The Badoo app also offers Badoo Credits, which can be purchased in bundles and used to acquire in-app features such as one-off popularity boosts.

 

 

 

How We Grow Our Community

We are investing in growing our community by building Bumble and Badoo as distinct brands with complementary but unique user value propositions. For the Bumble app, we educate audiences on how women making the first move creates healthier relationships across love, friendship, and business. For Badoo, our “Date Honestly” mantra is about helping people overcome the self-doubt they might feel, to open themselves up to others, embrace the journey of meeting people to figure out what they want.

Our strategy to grow our community across both apps relies primarily on an organic user acquisition model. We benefit from a powerful brand that embraces a set of values and connects those values, not just with our community, but also with culture at large. Ultimately, we believe our brand connects deeply with our users, both existing users and those that have settled into relationships, which makes it a powerful marketing tool for us. We also benefit from the fact that people can download and use our apps for free. We share marketing learnings across our apps and geographies, which enable the broadest application of successful strategies.

 The efficiency of this strategy has resulted in a profitable and capital efficient model. Key elements of growing our community include:

 

Brand Marketing: We often put users at the center of our campaigns to showcase the connections they made on our platform. From time to time we have partnered with influential and globally visible leaders.

 

Field Marketing: We also target our efforts towards niche communities on a hyperlocal basis.

 

Paid Acquisition Marketing: We complement our primarily organic user acquisition model with a paid marketing strategy that focuses on ensuring strong return on investment of our spend and ensuring ecosystem health to maximize the total number of meaningful connections created at the geo and age-band level.

 

Global Expansion: We are focused on expanding into new markets through creating local communities around the world. We are often able to leverage deep data insights on Badoo to understand a new market before we enter with Bumble, and we are able to understand which neighborhoods have an existing Badoo community that mirrors what the Bumble community typically looks like.

Our Impact

Since the founding of the Bumble app, we have established, engaged in, and supported a wide range of social impact efforts to further our mission, primarily focused on women’s empowerment, healthy relationship education, and the reduction in toxicity on our platform and society at large. These include:

 

Engaging Experts to Make our Platform Safe: We leverage both internal and external experts to understand how toxicity manifests online and then create practical solutions. For example, we work closely with the Anti-Defamation League to continuously identify and create moderation policies to address hate speech.

 

In-App Integration of Bumble Initiatives: The Moves Making Impact product feature within the Bumble app allows users to select a cause that matters to them. Then, each time that user sends a first message, Bumble donates to a woman in the Vital Voices Global Partnership network aligned with that cause. In under two years, Bumble has donated to causes ranging from supporting transgender people in India to women in the U.S. workplace.

 

Policy Advocacy and Legislation Efforts: In 2019 we initiated bipartisan legislation—Texas House Bill 2789—in partnership with state senators that made the sending of a lewd photo without the recipient’s consent a Class C misdemeanor. We are supporting similar legislation in other states and nationwide.

 

Healthy Relationships: Bumble is the presenting sponsor of “Love is Respect,” a program of the National Domestic Violence Hotline that engages, educates and empowers young people to identify, prevent and end dating abuse.

 

Bumble Fund Investment Strategy: Bumble Fund is our early-stage, corporate investing vehicle focusing primarily on businesses founded and led by women of color. We invest in companies that solve problems disproportionately affecting women including exploratory investments in categories of interest.

 

Philanthropic Partnerships Program: We aim to build partnerships with non-profits that support our mission and connect with our business. Our main strategic philanthropic partners include the Anti-Defamation League, The National Domestic Violence Hotline, and Vital Voices.

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Human Capital

Our core values for our platforms are: growth, make the first move, honesty, kindness, accountability and inclusivity. As a result of our corporate culture, we attract a diverse team which enables us to execute on our mission. As of the date of this Annual Report on Form 10-K, 54% of our management team and 73% of our Board are women. We believe that the diversity of our management and workforce is key to our success. We have proven that this cultural shift can be not just supportive to our employees, but drive value to all stakeholders. We have a department called the Center of Excellence that is dedicated to promoting diversity, equity and inclusion (“DEI”) in and across our business and workplace and that solely focuses on DEI initiatives and training. We also have an employee network where employees can share information and ask questions on DEI topics.

As of December 31, 2020, we had over 700 full-time employees, of which approximately 600 are located outside of the United States; our largest workforces are in Austin, London, Moscow and Barcelona, with additional workforce based in New York, Los Angeles, Sydney, Mumbai, Berlin, Valletta and Toronto. We compete to attract and retain diverse and highly talented individuals, particularly people with expertise in engineering, product development, data science and machine learning. Our ability to recruit talent benefits from our mission-first orientation and brand. None of our employees are covered by collective bargaining agreements, and we consider our employee relations to be good. We invest in creating opportunities to help employees grow and build their careers. We sponsor numerous training, education and leadership development programs for our employees designed to provide them with the knowledge, attitudes, skills and habits necessary to succeed in their jobs.

The success of our business is fundamentally connected to the well-being of our people. Accordingly, we are committed to the health, safety and wellness of our employees. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we implemented significant changes that we determined were in the best interest of our employees, as well as the communities in which we operate, and which comply with government regulations. This includes having the vast majority of our employees work from home and providing equipment to optimize the home work space. Because we want our employees and their families to thrive, in 2020 we enhanced the ways we help our employees, especially in response to COVID-19:

 

Our Employee Support & Emergency Fund provides financial assistance to eligible employees who are unable to meet immediate, essential expenses due to temporary hardship related to an unforeseen COVID-19 emergency;

 

We provide free mental health resources, including access to a wellness coach, wellness tips and meditation sessions; and

 

We organize virtual team-building and social events for our employees in order to maintain and build our community while working from home.

Competition

The online dating industry is fast growing and highly competitive. We compete with a number of companies that provide dating products and services for the same markets in which we operate. However, online dating is not a winner-take-all market, with users on average using two different apps at the same time—and very few competitors operate at our scale or level of brand awareness. In addition, while we compete with other online dating platforms, offline forms of dating are sources of competition as well. We compete with offline dating services, such as in-person matchmakers, as well as more traditional forms of dating that involve people meeting offline without the use of dating products or services altogether. Because of the extensibility of the Bumble platform beyond dating, we also compete with social media and networking platforms.

 Intellectual Property

We believe that our rights in our intellectual property, including trademarks and domain names, as well as contractual provisions and restrictions on access to our proprietary technology, are important to our marketing efforts to develop brand recognition and differentiate our brand from our competitors. We own a number of trademarks that have been registered, or for which registration applications are pending, in the U.S. as well as in certain foreign jurisdictions. These trademarks include, among others, BUMBLE and BADOO. The current registrations of these trademarks are effective for varying periods of time and may be renewed periodically, provided that we, as the registered owner, or our licensees where applicable, comply with all applicable renewal requirements including, where necessary, the continued use of the trademarks in connection with similar services and goods. We expect to pursue additional trademark registrations to the extent we believe they would be beneficial and cost-effective.

In addition to trademark protection, we own numerous domain names, including www.bumble.com. We also enter into, and rely on, confidentiality and proprietary rights agreements with our employees, consultants, contractors and business partners to protect our trade secrets, proprietary technology and other confidential information. We further protect the use of our proprietary technology and intellectual property through provisions in both our customer terms of use on our website and in our vendor terms and conditions. For information regarding risks related to our intellectual property, please see “Item 1A—Risk Factors—Risks Related to Information Technology Systems and Intellectual Property.”

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Seasonality

We experience seasonality in user growth, user engagement, Paying User growth, and monetization on our platform. Historically, we see an increase in all of these metrics in the first quarter and during the Northern Hemisphere summer of the calendar year, and a slowdown in the rest of the calendar year. Our activity is also elevated in key seasonal calendar highs such as the January and February lead up to Valentine’s Day and the lead up to major holidays.

Licensing and Regulation

We are subject to a variety of laws and regulations in the United States and abroad that involve matters central to our business. Many of these laws and regulations are still evolving and being tested in courts, and could be interpreted in ways that could harm our business. These may involve privacy, data protection and personal information, rights of publicity, content, intellectual property, advertising, marketing, distribution, data security, data retention and deletion, electronic contracts and other communications, competition, protection of minors, consumer protection, telecommunications, taxation, economic or other trade prohibitions or sanctions, anti-corruption law compliance, securities law compliance, and online payment services. In particular, we are subject to federal, state, and foreign laws regarding privacy and protection of people’s data and we currently, and from time to time, may not be in technical compliance with all such laws. Foreign data protection, privacy, content, competition, and other laws and regulations can impose different obligations or be more restrictive than those in the United States. U.S. federal and state and foreign laws and regulations, which in some cases can be enforced by private parties in addition to government entities, are constantly evolving and can be subject to significant change. As a result, the application, interpretation, and enforcement of these laws and regulations are often uncertain, particularly in the new and rapidly-evolving industry in which we operate, and may be interpreted and applied inconsistently from country to country and inconsistently with our current policies and practices.

Proposed or new legislation and regulations could also significantly affect our business. For example, the European General Data Protection Regulation (“GDPR”) took effect in May 2018 and applies to all of our products and services. The GDPR includes operational requirements for companies that receive or process personal data of residents of the European Union (“EU”) that are different from those previously in place in the European Union, and includes significant penalties for non-compliance. Additionally, the United Kingdom has transposed the GDPR into domestic law with a United Kingdom version of the GDPR (combining the GDPR and the Data Protection Act of 2018) that took effect in January 2021, which could expose us to two parallel regimes, each of which potentially authorizes similar fines and other potentially divergent enforcement actions for certain violations. The Brazilian General Data Protection Law took effect in August 2020 and imposes requirements similar to the GDPR on products and services offered to users in Brazil. The California Consumer Privacy Act (“CCPA”), which took effect in January 2020, also establishes certain transparency rules and creates new data privacy rights for users, including rights to access and delete their personal information and new ways to opt-out of certain sales or transfers of their personal information, and provides users with additional causes of action. Additionally, California voters approved a new privacy law, the California Privacy Rights Act (“CPRA”), in the November 3, 2020 election. Effective starting on January 1, 2023 (with a look back to January 2022), the CPRA will significantly modify the CCPA, including by expanding consumers’ rights with respect to certain sensitive personal information. The CPRA also creates a new state agency that will be vested with authority to implement and enforce the CCPA and the CPRA. Similarly, there are a number of legislative proposals in the European Union, the United States, at both the federal and state level (including the Virginia Consumer Data Protection Act, which was signed into law in March 2021 and will take effect at the same time as the CPRA), as well as other jurisdictions that could impose new obligations or limitations in areas affecting our business. In addition, some countries are considering or have passed legislation implementing data protection requirements or requiring local storage and processing of data or similar requirements that could increase the cost and complexity of delivering our services. For information regarding risks related to these compliance requirements, please see “Item 1A—Risk Factors—Risks Related to Regulation and Litigation—The varying and rapidly-evolving regulatory framework on privacy and data protection across jurisdictions could result in claims, changes to our business practices, monetary penalties, increased cost of operations, or declines in user growth or engagement, or otherwise harm our business.”

The foregoing description does not include an exhaustive list of the laws and regulations governing or impacting our business. See the discussion contained in the “Risk Factors” section of this Annual Report on Form 10-K for information regarding how actions by regulatory authorities or changes in legislation and regulation in the jurisdictions in which we operate may have a material adverse effect on our business.

 

Additional Information

Bumble Inc. was incorporated in Delaware on October 5, 2020. Our principal executive offices are located at 1105 West 41st Street, Austin, Texas 78756, and our telephone number is (512) 696-1409.

 

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Our website address is www.bumble.com and our investor relations website is located at https://ir.bumble.com. The information posted on our website is not incorporated into this Annual Report on Form 10-K. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) maintains an Internet site that contains reports, proxy and information statements, and other information regarding issuers that file electronically with the SEC at www.sec.gov. Our Annual Report on Form 10-K, Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q, Current Reports on Form 8-K and amendments to reports filed or furnished pursuant to Sections 13(a) and 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, (the “Exchange Act”) are also available free of charge on our investor relations website as soon as reasonably practicable after we electronically file such material with, or furnish it to, the SEC.

 

We webcast our earnings calls and certain events we participate in or host with members of the investment community on our investor relations website. Additionally, we provide notifications of news or announcements regarding our financial performance, including SEC filings, investor events, press and earnings releases, as part of our investor relations website. The contents of these websites are not intended to be incorporated by reference into this report or in any other report or document we file.

   

Website and Social Media Disclosure

We use our websites (www.bumble.com and ir.bumble.com) and at times our corporate Twitter account (@bumble) to distribute company information. The information we post through these channels may be deemed material. Accordingly, investors should monitor these channels, in addition to following our press releases, SEC filings and public conference calls and webcasts. In addition, you may automatically receive e-mail alerts and other information about Bumble when you enroll your e-mail address by visiting the “E-mail Alerts” section of our website at ir.bumble.com. The contents of our website and social media channels are not, however, a part of this Annual Report on Form 10-K.

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Item 1A. Risk Factors

 

You should carefully consider the following risks and all of the other information set forth in this Annual Report, including without limitation “Item 7—Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” and our consolidated financial statements and related notes in “Item 8—Financial Statements and Supplementary Data.” The following risk factors have been organized by category for ease of use; however, many of the risks may have impacts in more than one category.

 

Risks Related to Our Brand, Products and 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 size of our user base and our users’ level of engagement are critical to our 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. We expect that the size of our user base will fluctuate or decline in one or more markets from time to time. If people do not perceive our products to be useful, reliable, and/or trustworthy, we may not be able to attract or retain users or otherwise maintain or increase the frequency and duration of their engagement. A number of other online dating companies that achieved early popularity have since experienced slower growth or declines in their user bases or levels of engagement. There is no guarantee that we will not experience a similar erosion of our user base or engagement levels. User engagement can be difficult to measure, particularly as we introduce new and different products and services. Any number of factors can negatively affect user retention, growth, and engagement, including if:

 

users increasingly engage with other competitive products or services;

 

user behavior on any of our products changes, including decreases in the quality of the user base and frequency of use of our products and services;

 

users feel that their experience is diminished as a result of the decisions we make with respect to the frequency, prominence, format, size and quality of ads that we display;

 

there are decreases in user sentiment due to questions about the quality of our user data practices or concerns related to privacy and the sharing of user data;

 

there are decreases in user sentiment due to questions about the quality or usefulness of our products or concerns related to safety, security, well-being or other factors;

 

users are no longer willing to pay for subscriptions or in-app purchases;

 

users have difficulty installing, updating or otherwise accessing our products on mobile devices as a result of actions by us or third parties that we rely on to distribute our products and deliver our services;

 

we fail to introduce new features, products or services that users find engaging or if we introduce new products or services, or make changes to existing products and services, that are not favorably received;

 

we fail to keep pace with evolving online, market and industry trends (including the introduction of new and enhanced digital services);

 

initiatives designed to attract and retain users and engagement are unsuccessful or discontinued, whether as a result of actions by us, third parties or otherwise;

 

there is a decrease in user retention as a result of users finding meaningful relationships on our platforms and no longer needing to engage with our products;

 

third-party initiatives that may enable greater use of our products, including low-cost or discounted data plans, are discontinued;

 

 

we adopt terms, policies or procedures related to areas such as user data or advertising that are perceived negatively by our users or the general public;

 

we fail to combat inappropriate or abusive activity on our platform;

 

users, particularly women, do not perceive our products as being safer than other competitive products or services;

 

we fail to provide adequate customer service to users, marketers or other partners;

 

we fail to protect our brand image or reputation;

 

we, our partners or companies in our industry are the subject of adverse media reports or other negative publicity, including as a result of our or their user data practices;

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technical or other problems prevent us from delivering our products in a rapid and reliable manner or otherwise affect the user experience, such as security breaches, distributed denial-of-service attacks or failure to prevent or limit spam or similar content;

 

there is decreased engagement with our products as a result of internet shutdowns or other actions by governments that affect the accessibility of our products in any of our markets;

 

there is decreased engagement with our products, or failure to accept our terms of service, as part of changes that we have implemented, or may implement, in the future in connection with regulations, regulatory actions or otherwise;

 

there is decreased engagement with the Bumble or Badoo apps, as applicable, as we expand the Bumble app internationally (into markets the Badoo app has historically operated in) and the Badoo app in North America (into markets the Bumble app has historically operated in);

 

there is decreased engagement with our products as a result of changes in prevailing social, cultural or political preferences in the markets where we operate; or

 

there are changes mandated by legislation, regulatory authorities or litigation that adversely affect our products or users.

From time to time, certain of these factors have negatively affected user retention, growth, and engagement to varying degrees. If we are unable to maintain or increase our user base and user engagement, our revenue and financial results may be materially adversely affected. In addition, we may not experience rapid user growth or engagement in countries where, even though mobile device penetration is high, due to the lack of sufficient cellular based data networks, consumers rely heavily on Wi-Fi and may not access our products regularly throughout the day. Any decrease in user retention, growth or engagement could render our products less attractive to users, which is likely to have a material and adverse impact on our revenue, business, financial condition and results of operations. If our user growth rate slows or declines, we will become increasingly dependent on our ability to maintain or increase levels of user engagement and monetization in order to drive revenue growth.

The dating industry is highly competitive, with low switching costs and a consistent stream of new products and entrants, and innovation by our competitors may disrupt our business.

The dating industry is highly competitive, with a consistent stream of new products and entrants. Some of our competitors may enjoy better competitive positions in certain geographical regions, user demographics or other key areas that we currently serve or may serve in the future. These advantages could enable these competitors to offer products that are more appealing to users and potential users than our products, or to respond more quickly and/or cost-effectively than us to new or changing opportunities.

In addition, within the dating industry generally, costs for consumers to switch between products are low, and consumers have a propensity to try new approaches to connecting with people and to use multiple dating products at the same time. As a result, new products, entrants and business models are likely to continue to emerge. It is possible that a new product could gain rapid scale at the expense of existing brands through harnessing a new technology, or a new or existing distribution channel, creating a new or different approach to connecting people or some other means.

Potential competitors include larger companies that could devote greater resources to the promotion or marketing of their products and services, take advantage of acquisition or other opportunities more readily or develop and expand their products and services more quickly than we do. Potential competitors also include established social media companies that may develop products, features, or services that may compete with ours or operators of mobile operating systems and app stores. For example, Facebook has introduced a dating feature on its platform, which it has rolled out in North America, Europe and other markets around the globe. These social media and mobile platform competitors could use strong or dominant positions in one or more markets, and ready access to existing large pools of potential users and personal information regarding those users, to gain competitive advantages over us. These may include offering different product features, services or pricing models that users may prefer, which may enable them to acquire and engage users at the expense of our user growth or engagement.

If we are not able to compete effectively against our current or future competitors and products that may emerge, the size and level of engagement of our user base may decrease, which could materially adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.

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Distribution and marketing of, and access to, our products depends, in significant part, on a variety of third-party publishers and platforms. If these third parties limit, prohibit or otherwise interfere with or change the terms of the distribution, use or marketing of our products in any material way, it could materially adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.

We market and distribute our products (including related mobile applications) through a variety of third-party publishers and distribution channels, including Facebook, which has rolled out its own dating product. Our ability to market our brands on any given property or channel is subject to the policies of the relevant third party. There is no guarantee that popular mobile platforms will continue to feature our products, or that mobile device users will continue to use our products rather than competing products. We are dependent on the interoperability of our products with popular mobile operating systems, networks, technologies, products, and standards that we do not control, such as the Android and iOS operating systems. Any changes, bugs, or technical issues in such systems, or changes in our relationships with mobile operating system partners, handset manufacturers, or mobile carriers, or in their terms of service or policies that degrade our products’ functionality, reduce or eliminate our ability to update or distribute our products, give preferential treatment to competitive products, limit our ability to deliver, target, or measure the effectiveness of ads, or charge fees related to the distribution of our products or our delivery of ads could materially adversely affect the usage of our products on mobile devices. For example, the release of iOS 14 brought with it a number of new changes, including the need for app users to opt in before their identifier for advertisers (“IDFA”) can be accessed by an app (which is currently expected to come into effect in 2021). Apple’s IDFA is a string of numbers and letters assigned to Apple devices which advertisers use to identify app users to deliver personalized and targeted advertising. As of December 14, 2020, according to Mixpanel, more than 80% of iOS devices were running on iOS 14. We expect that app users’ opt-in rate to grant IDFA access will ultimately be approximately 0 to 20%. As a consequence, the ability of advertisers to accurately target and measure their advertising campaigns at the user level may become significantly limited and app developers may experience increased cost per registration.

Further, certain publishers and channels have, from time to time, limited or prohibited advertisements for dating products for a variety of reasons, including as a result of poor behavior by other industry participants. There is no assurance that we will not be limited or prohibited from using certain current or prospective marketing channels in the future. If this were to happen in the case of a significant marketing channel and/or for a significant period of time, our business, financial condition and results of operations could be materially adversely affected.

 Finally, many users historically registered for (and logged into) the application through their Facebook profiles or their Apple IDs. While we have other methods that allow users to register for (and log into) our products, no assurances can be provided that users will use these other methods. Facebook and Apple have broad discretion to change their terms and conditions in ways that could limit, eliminate or otherwise interfere with our ability to use Facebook or Apple as a registration method or to allow Facebook or Apple to use such data to gain a competitive advantage. If Facebook or Apple did so, our business, financial condition and results of operations could be materially adversely affected. Additionally, if security on Facebook or Apple is compromised, if our users are locked out from their accounts on Facebook or Apple or if Facebook or Apple experiences an outage, our users may be unable to access our products. As a result, user growth and engagement on our service could be materially adversely affected, even if for a temporary period. We also rely on Facebook for targeted advertisement and performance marketing. In the event that we are no longer able to conduct targeted advertisement and performance marketing through Facebook, our user acquisition and revenue stream may be materially adversely affected. Any of these events could materially adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.

Access to our products depends on mobile app stores and other third parties such as data center service providers, as well as third party payment aggregators, computer systems, internet transit providers and other communications systems and service providers. If third parties such as the Apple App Store or Google Play Store adopt and enforce policies that limit, prohibit or eliminate our ability to distribute or update our applications through their stores, it could materially adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.

Our products depend on mobile app stores and other third parties such as data center service providers, as well as third party payment aggregators, computer systems, internet transit providers and other communications systems and service providers. Our mobile applications are almost exclusively accessed through and depend on the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store. While our mobile applications are generally free to download from these stores, we offer our users the opportunity to purchase subscriptions and certain à la carte features through these applications. We determine the prices at which these subscriptions and features are sold. Purchases of these subscriptions and features via our mobile applications are mainly processed through the in-app payment systems provided by Apple and Google. We pay Apple and Google, as applicable, a meaningful share (generally 30%) of the revenue we receive from transactions processed through in-app payment systems.

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Both Apple and Google have broad discretion to make changes to their operating systems or payment services or change the manner in which their mobile operating systems function and their respective terms and conditions applicable to the distribution of our applications, including the amount of, and requirement to pay, certain fees associated with purchases required to be facilitated by Apple and Google through our applications, and to interpret their respective terms and conditions in ways that may limit, eliminate or otherwise interfere with our products, our ability to distribute our applications through their stores, our ability to update our applications, including to make bug fixes or other feature updates or upgrades, the features we provide, the manner in which we market our in-app products, our ability to access native functionality or other aspects of mobile devices, and our ability to access information about our users that they collect. To the extent either or both of them do so, our business, financial condition and results of operations could be materially adversely affected. For example, Google has announced that they intend to enforce a policy, which came into effect on January 20, 2021 (with a grace period for existing apps currently using an alternative billing system), whereby only Google Play’s in-app billing system can be used for transactions in its store. Compliance with this new policy may materially adversely affect our revenue. In the event that we fail to maintain compliance by the end of September 2021, according to their policy, we may be removed from the Google Play store. If Google enforces this policy and removes our apps from the Google Play store, it would significantly reduce our ability to distribute our products to users, which would decrease the size of the user base we could convert into Paying Users, and would materially adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.

 If we are not able to maintain the value and reputation of our brands, our ability to expand our base of users may be impaired, and our business and financial results may be harmed.

We believe that our brands have significantly contributed to the success of our business. We also believe that maintaining, protecting and enhancing our brands is critical to expanding our base of users and, if we fail to do so, our business, financial condition and results of operations could be materially adversely affected. We believe that the importance of brand recognition will continue to increase, given the growing number of online dating sites and applications, or “apps,” and the low barriers to entry for companies offering online dating and other types of personal services. Many of our new users are referred by existing users. Maintaining our brands will depend largely on our ability to continue to provide useful, reliable, trustworthy and innovative products, which we may not do successfully.

Further, we may experience media, legislative, or regulatory scrutiny of our actions or decisions regarding user privacy, encryption, content, advertising and other issues, which may materially adversely affect our reputation and brands. In addition, we may fail to respond expeditiously or appropriately to objectionable practices by users, or to otherwise address user concerns, which could erode confidence in our brands. Maintaining and enhancing our brands will require us to make substantial investments and these investments may not be successful.

Changes to our existing brands and products, or the introduction of new brands or products, could fail to attract or retain users or generate revenue and profits.

Our ability to retain, increase, and engage our user base and to increase our revenue depends heavily on our ability to continue to evolve our existing brands and products and to create successful new brands and products, both independently and in conjunction with developers or other third parties. We may introduce significant changes to our existing brands and products, or acquire or introduce new and unproven brands, products and product extensions, including using technologies with which we have little or no prior development or operating experience. We have also invested, and expect to continue to invest, significant resources in growing our products to support increasing usage as well as new lines of business, new products, new product extensions and other initiatives to generate revenue. The launch of our Bumble BFF product extension in 2016 and our Bumble Bizz product extension in 2017, which have not yet generated significant revenue for us, are examples. There is no guarantee that investing in new lines of business, new products, new product extensions and other initiatives will succeed. If our new or enhanced brands, products or product extensions fail to engage users, marketers, or developers, or if our business plans are unsuccessful, we may fail to attract or retain users or to generate sufficient revenue, operating margin, or other value to justify our investments, and our business may be materially adversely affected.

We may also introduce new products, features or terms of service or policies, and seek to find new, effective ways to show our community new and existing products and alert them to events and meaningful opportunities to connect, that users do not like, which may negatively affect our brands. New products may provide temporary increases in engagement that may ultimately fail to attract and retain users such that they may not produce the long-term benefits that we expect.

We have grown rapidly in recent years and have limited operating experience at our current scale of operations. If we are unable to manage our growth effectively, our brand, company culture and financial performance may suffer.

We have experienced rapid growth and demand for our services since inception. We have expanded our operations rapidly and have limited operating experience at our current size. As we have grown, we have increased our employee headcount and we expect headcount growth to continue for the foreseeable future. Further, as we grow, our business becomes increasingly complex. To effectively manage and capitalize on our growth, we must continue to expand our sales and marketing, focus on innovative product and content development, upgrade our management information systems and other processes, and obtain more space for our expanding staff. Our continued growth could strain our existing resources, and we could experience ongoing operating difficulties in

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managing our business across numerous jurisdictions, including difficulties in hiring, training, and managing a diffuse and growing employee base. Failure to scale and preserve our company culture with growth could harm our future success, including our ability to retain and recruit personnel and to effectively focus on and pursue our corporate objectives. If our management team does not effectively scale with our growth, we may experience erosion to our brand, the quality of our products and services may suffer, and our company culture may be harmed. Moreover, we have been, and may in the future be, subject to legacy claims or liabilities arising from systems and controls in earlier periods of our rapid development. For example, we settled a claim for an immaterial sum with a former consultant whose right to payment in connection with the Sponsor Acquisition had not been sufficiently documented in our books and records.

Because we have a limited history operating our business at its current scale, it is difficult to evaluate our current business and future prospects, including our ability to plan for and model future growth. Our limited operating experience at this scale, combined with the rapidly-evolving nature of the market in which we operate, substantial uncertainty concerning how these markets may develop, and other economic factors beyond our control, reduces our ability to accurately forecast quarterly or annual revenue. Failure to manage our future growth effectively could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, and operating results.

We operate in various international markets, including certain markets in which we have limited experience. As a result, we face additional risks in connection with certain of our international operations.

Bumble and Badoo are available in 25 and 51 different languages, respectively, all over the world. Operating internationally, particularly in countries in which we have limited experience, exposes us to a number of additional risks, including:

 

operational and compliance challenges caused by distance, language and cultural differences;

 

difficulties in staffing and managing international operations;

 

differing levels of social and technological acceptance of our products or lack of acceptance of them generally;

 

foreign currency fluctuations;

 

restrictions on the transfer of funds among countries and back to the United States, as well as costs associated with repatriating funds to the United States;

 

differing and potentially adverse tax laws;

 

multiple, conflicting and changing laws, rules and regulations, and difficulties understanding and ensuring compliance with those laws by both our employees and our business partners, over whom we exert no control;

 

compliance challenges due to different laws and regulatory environments, particularly in the case of privacy, data security, and intermediary liability;

 

competitive environments that favor local businesses;

 

limitations on the level of intellectual property protection;

 

low usage and/or penetration of internet-connected consumer electronic devices;

 

political tension or social unrest and economic instability, particularly in countries in which we operate;

 

trade sanctions, political unrest, terrorism, war, health and safety epidemics (such as COVID-19) or the threat of any of these events; and

 

breaches or violation of any anti-corruption laws, rules or regulations applicable to our business, including but not limited to the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act of 1977, as amended.

Moreover, geopolitical tensions in countries in which we operate, such as Russia, may prevent us from operating in certain countries or increase our costs of operating in those countries. Additionally, if enforcement authorities demand access to our user data, our failure to comply could lead to our inability to operate in such country or other punitive acts. For example, in 2018, Russia blocked access to the messaging app Telegram after it refused to provide access to the Russian government to encrypted messages. Our office of approximately 130 employees in Moscow makes it easier for the Russian authorities to bring enforcement actions against us.

The occurrence or impact of any or all of the events described above could materially adversely affect our international operations, which could in turn materially adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.

Our growth and profitability rely, in part, on our ability to attract and retain users through cost-effective marketing efforts, including through our social media presence and use of sponsorships, brand ambassadors, spokespersons and social media influencers. Any failure in these efforts could materially adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.

Attracting and retaining users for our products involve considerable expenditures for online and offline marketing. Historically, we have had to increase our marketing expenditures over time in order to attract and retain users and sustain our growth. Evolving consumer behavior can affect the availability of profitable marketing opportunities. For example, as consumers communicate less via

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email and more via text messaging, messaging apps and other virtual means, the reach of email campaigns designed to attract new and repeat users (and retain current users) for our products is adversely impacted. To continue to reach potential users and grow our businesses, we must identify and devote our overall marketing expenditures to newer advertising channels, such as mobile and online video platforms as well as targeted campaigns in which we communicate directly with potential, former and current users via new virtual means. Generally, the opportunities in and sophistication of newer advertising channels are relatively undeveloped and unproven, and there can be no assurance that we will be able to continue to appropriately manage and fine-tune our marketing efforts in response to these and other trends in the advertising industry. Any failure to do so could materially adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.

In addition, from time to time, we use the success stories of our users, and utilize sponsorships, Bumble app brand ambassadors, spokespersons and social media influencers, including in some cases celebrities, in our advertising and marketing programs to communicate on a personal level with consumers. If these individuals act in a way that is contrary to our women-first mission or that harms their personal reputation or image, or if they stop using our services and products, it could have an adverse impact on the advertising and marketing campaigns in which they are featured and on our brand. We and our brand ambassadors, spokespersons and social media influencers also use social media channels as a means of communicating with consumers. Unauthorized or inappropriate use of these channels could result in harmful publicity or negative consumer experiences, which could have an adverse impact on the effectiveness of our marketing in these channels. In addition, substantial negative commentary by others on social media platforms could have an adverse impact on our reputation and ability to attract and retain users. If our advertising and marketing campaigns do not generate a sufficient number of users, our business, financial condition and results of operations will be materially affected.

We are subject to certain risks as a mission-based company.

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. 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. For example, providing a safe online community for users to build new relationships and to empower women is central to the Bumble app’s mission. As a result, our brands and reputation may be negatively affected by the actions of users that are deemed to be hostile or inappropriate to other users or disempowering to women or by the actions of users acting under false or inauthentic identities. Similarly, any negative publicity about activity in the business that is perceived to be disempowering to women would negatively affect our brands and reputation. The damage to our reputation may be greater than other companies that do not have similar values as us, and it may take us longer to recover from such an incident and gain back the trust of our users.

In addition, we may make decisions regarding our business and products in accordance with the Bumble app’s mission and values that may reduce our short- or medium-term operating results if we believe those decisions are consistent with the mission and will improve the aggregate user experience. Although we expect that our commitment to the Bumble app’s mission will, accordingly, improve our financial performance over the long term, these decisions may not be consistent with the expectations of investors and any longer-term benefits may not materialize within the time frame we expect or at all, which could harm our business, revenue and financial results.

Finally, we have in the past and may in the future be subjected to litigation by those that disagree with aspects of the Bumble app’s mission or features of our platforms that we have developed in support of our mission.

Our costs are continuing to grow, and some of our investments have the effect of reducing our operating margin and profitability. If our investments are not successful, our business and financial performance could be harmed.

Operating our business is costly. We anticipate that our expenses will continue to increase in the future as we broaden our user base, develop and implement new products, market new and existing products and promote our brands, continue to expand our technical infrastructure, and continue to hire additional employees and contractors to support our expanding operations, including our efforts to focus on privacy, safety, and security. In addition, from time to time we may be subject to settlements, judgments, fines, or other monetary penalties in connection with legal and regulatory developments that may be material to our business. We may invest in new platforms and technologies. Some of these investments may generate only limited revenue and reduce our operating margin and profitability. If our investments are not successful, our ability to grow revenue will be harmed, which could materially adversely affect our business and financial performance.

Our future success depends on the continuing efforts of our key employees and our ability to attract and retain highly skilled personnel and senior management.

We currently depend on the continued services and performance of our key personnel, including Whitney Wolfe Herd. If one or more of our executive officers or key employees were unable or unwilling to continue their employment with us, we might not be able to replace them easily, in a timely manner, or at all. The risk that competitors or other companies may poach our talent increases as we

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continue to build our brands and become more well-known. Our key personnel have been, and may continue to be, subject to poaching efforts by our competitors and other internet and high-growth companies, including well-capitalized players in the social media and consumer internet space. The loss of key personnel, including members of management as well as key engineering, product development, marketing, and sales personnel, could disrupt our operations and have a material adverse effect on our business. The success of our brand also depends on the commitment of our key personnel to our mission. To the extent that any of our key personnel act in a way that does not align with our mission, our reputation could be materially adversely affected. See “—Our employees could engage in misconduct that materially adversely affects us.”

 Our future success will depend upon our continued ability to identify, hire, develop, motivate and retain highly skilled individuals across the globe, with the continued contributions of our senior management being especially critical to our success. Competition for well-qualified, highly skilled employees in our industry is intense and our continued ability to compete effectively depends, in part, upon our ability to attract and retain new employees. While we have established programs to attract new employees and provide incentives to retain existing employees, particularly our senior management, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to attract new employees or retain the services of our senior management or any other key employees in the future. Additionally, we believe that our culture and core values have been, and will continue to be, a key contributor to our success and our ability to foster the innovation, creativity and teamwork we believe we need to support our operations. If we fail to effectively manage our hiring needs and successfully integrate our new hires, or if we fail to effectively manage remote work arrangements resulting from COVID-19, our efficiency and ability to meet our forecasts and our ability to maintain our culture, employee morale, productivity and retention could suffer, and our business, financial condition and results of operations could be materially adversely affected.

Finally, effective succession planning is also important to our future success. If we fail to ensure the effective transfer of senior management knowledge and smooth transitions involving senior management across our various businesses, our ability to execute short and long term strategic, financial and operating goals, as well as our business, financial condition and results of operations generally, could be materially adversely affected.

We may enter into “white label” or licensing agreements in collaboration with third parties that may take actions outside of our control that harm our brand.

We have entered into “white label” agreements and may, from time to time, enter into licensing agreements pursuant to which we license our brand or our product technology to third parties. For example, pursuant to our white label agreements, we agree to set up, operate and maintain a version of our product technology for a third party where the product is branded with such third-party partner’s trademarks and other content. If any of our white label partners provide unsatisfactory service to their users, fail to comply with applicable laws or regulations or engage in actions contrary to our mission and it is ascertained that we provide the product technology for such partners, our brands and reputation may be harmed as a result of our affiliation with such white label partner. In addition, from time to time we license our brand in collaborations with third parties where they, and not we, have primary control over day-to-day operations of the project and, as a result, we may have less control over its ultimate success or its impact on our brand. For example, we have announced our intention to partner with Delicious Hospitality Group to open “Bumble Brew,” a café and wine bar. While “Bumble Brew” will use our brand, we will not control the day-to-day operations of the café. Any harm to our reputation as a result of these partnerships could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations and cash flows.

Inappropriate actions by certain of our users could be attributed to us and damage our brands’ reputations, which in turn could materially adversely affect our business.

Users of our products have been, and may in the future be, physically, financially, emotionally or otherwise harmed by other individuals that such users have met or may meet through the use of one of our products. When one or more of our users suffers or alleges to have suffered any such harm either on our platform or in person after meeting on our products, we have in the past, and could in the future, experience negative publicity or legal action that could damage our brands and our brands’ reputation. Similar events affecting users of our competitors’ products have in the past, and could in the future, result in negative publicity for the dating industry generally, which could in turn negatively affect our business.

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In addition, the reputations of our brands may be materially adversely affected by the actions of our users that are deemed to be hostile, offensive, defamatory, inappropriate or unlawful. Furthermore, users have in the past and may in the future use our products for illegal or harmful purposes rather than for their intended purposes, such as romance scams, promotion of false or inaccurate information, financial fraud, drug trafficking, sex-trafficking, and recruitment to terrorist groups. While we have systems and processes in place that aim to monitor and review the appropriateness of the content accessible through our products, which include, in particular, reporting tools through which users can inform us of such behavior on the platform, and have adopted policies regarding illegal, offensive or inappropriate use of our products, our users have in the past, and could in the future, nonetheless engage in activities that violate our policies. Additionally, while our policies attempt to address illegal, offensive or inappropriate use of our products, we cannot control how our users engage if and when they meet in person after meeting on our products. These safeguards may not be sufficient to avoid harm to our reputation and brands, especially if such hostile, offensive or inappropriate use is well-publicized. Furthermore, to the extent that our users, particularly women, do not feel safe using our products, our reputation and “women-first” brand would be negatively affected, which may in turn materially adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.

Unfavorable media coverage could materially adversely affect our business, brand image or reputation.

We receive a high degree of media coverage globally. Unfavorable publicity and/or false media reports regarding us, our privacy practices, data security compromises or breaches, product changes, product quality, litigation or regulatory activity, including any intellectual property proceeding, or regarding the actions of our partners, our users, our employees or other companies in our industry, could materially adversely affect our brand image or reputation. For example, a third-party report identifying certain vulnerabilities related to the Bumble app was published in the fall of 2020. Although we believe we have remediated all such vulnerabilities, the report may have resulted in unfavorable publicity for us. If we fail to protect our brand image or reputation, we may experience material adverse effects to the size, demographics, engagement, and loyalty of our user base, resulting in decreased revenue, fewer app installs (or increased app uninstalls), or slower user growth rates. In addition, if securities analysts or investors perceive any media coverage of us to be negative, the price of our Class A common stock may be materially adversely affected. Any of the foregoing could materially adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations. See “—Our employees could engage in misconduct that materially adversely affects us;” “—From time to time, we are party to intellectual property-related litigations and proceedings that are expensive and time consuming to defend, and, if resolved adversely, could materially adversely impact our business, financial condition and results of operations;” and “—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.”

Our employees could engage in misconduct that materially adversely affects us.

Our employees could engage in misconduct that materially adversely affects us. It is not always possible to prevent or detect misconduct by our employees, either personal or in the course of their duties on behalf of the Company, and the precautions we take to prevent and detect this activity may not be effective in all cases. For example, in July 2019, Forbes published an article alleging that we maintained a misogynistic and hostile work environment for women. We hired a law firm specializing in employment law to investigate these allegations. Although the investigation found there to be a lack of credible evidence in relation to most of the allegations, the investigation did identify some current and former employees who felt that elements of sexism existed at our company. We have implemented a number of recommended changes with the aim of preventing misconduct and building an inclusive workplace culture. If any of our employees were to engage in or be accused of misconduct, we could be exposed to legal liability, our business and reputation could be materially adversely affected, and we could fail to retain key employees. See “—Unfavorable media coverage could seriously harm our business, brand image or reputation.”

 Our user metrics and other estimates are subject to inherent challenges in measurement, and real or perceived inaccuracies in those metrics may seriously harm and negatively affect our reputation and our business.

We regularly review metrics, including our Bumble App Paying Users, Badoo App and Other Paying Users, Total Paying Users, Bumble App ARPPU, Badoo App and Other ARPPU and Total ARPPU metrics, to evaluate growth trends, measure our performance, and make strategic decisions. These metrics are calculated using internal company data gathered on an analytics platform that we developed and operate and have not been validated by an independent third party. While these metrics are based on what we believe to be reasonable estimates of our user base for the applicable period of measurement, there are inherent challenges in measuring how our products are used across large populations globally. Our user metrics are also affected by technology on certain mobile devices that automatically runs in the background of our application when another phone function is used, and this activity can cause our system to miscount the user metrics associated with such account. The methodologies used to measure these metrics require significant judgment and are also susceptible to algorithm or other technical errors. In addition, we are continually seeking to improve our estimates of our user base, and such estimates may change due to improvements or changes in our methodology.

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Errors or inaccuracies in our metrics or data could also result in incorrect business decisions and inefficiencies. For instance, if a significant understatement or overstatement of active users were to occur, we may expend resources to implement unnecessary business measures or fail to take required actions to attract a sufficient number of users to satisfy our growth strategies. We continually seek to address technical issues in our ability to record such data and improve our accuracy, but given the complexity of the systems involved and the rapidly changing nature of mobile devices and systems, we expect these issues to continue, particularly if we continue to expand in parts of the world where mobile data systems and connections are less stable. If partners or investors do not perceive our user, geographic, or other demographic metrics to be accurate representations of our user base, or if we discover material inaccuracies in our user, geographic, or other demographic metrics, our reputation may be materially adversely impacted.

Risks Related to Information Technology Systems and Intellectual Property

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.

Our products and services and the operation of our business involve the collection, storage, processing, and transmission of data, including personal data. The information systems that store and process such data are susceptible to increasing threats of continually evolving cybersecurity risks. In particular, our industry is prone to cyber-attacks by third parties seeking unauthorized access to confidential or sensitive data, including user personal data, or to disrupt our ability to provide services. We face an ever-increasing number of threats to our information systems from a broad range of threat actors, including foreign governments, criminals, competitors, computer hackers, cyber terrorists and politically motivated groups or individuals, and we have previously experienced various attempts to access our information systems. These threats include physical or electronic break-ins, security breaches from inadvertent or intentional actions by our employees, contractors, consultants, and/or other third parties with otherwise legitimate access to our systems, website or facilities, or from cyber-attacks by malicious third parties which could breach our data security and disrupt our systems. The motivations of such actors may vary, but breaches that compromise our information technology systems can cause interruptions, delays or operational malfunctions, which in turn could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations, financial condition and prospects.

In addition, the risks related to a security breach or disruption, including through a distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack, computer malware, viruses, social engineering (predominantly spear phishing attacks), and general hacking, have become more prevalent in our industry and have generally increased as the number, intensity, and sophistication of attempted attacks and intrusions from around the world have increased. Such security breaches or disruptions have occurred on our systems in the past and will occur on our systems in the future. We also regularly encounter attempts to create false or undesirable user accounts and advertisements or take other actions on our platform for objectionable ends. As a result of our prominence, the size of our user base, the types and volume of personal data on our systems, and the evolving nature of our products and services (including our efforts involving new and emerging technologies), we may be a particularly attractive target for such attacks, including from highly sophisticated, state-sponsored, or otherwise well-funded actors. In addition, it is possible that we may be perceived as being vulnerable to cyber-attacks because a significant portion of our engineers are located in Russia, which has been known to use social media platforms as a means of media manipulation.

Our efforts to address undesirable activity on our platform also increase the risk of retaliatory attacks. Such breaches and attacks of us or our third-party service providers may cause interruptions to the services we provide, degrade the user experience, cause users or marketers to lose confidence and trust in our products and decrease the use of our products or stop using our products in their entirety, impair our internal systems, or result in financial harm to us. Any failure to prevent or mitigate security breaches and unauthorized access to or disclosure of our data or user data, including personal information, content, or payment information from users, or information from marketers, could result in the loss, modification, disclosure, destruction, or other misuse of such data, which could subject us to legal liability, harm our business and reputation and diminish our competitive position. We may incur significant costs in protecting against or remediating such incidents and as cybersecurity incidents continue to evolve, we may be required to expend significant additional resources to continue to modify or enhance our protective measure or to investigate and remediate any information security vulnerabilities. Our efforts to protect our confidential and sensitive data, the data of our users or other personal information we receive, and to disable undesirable activities on our platform, may also be unsuccessful due to software bugs or other technical malfunctions; employee, contractor, or vendor error or malfeasance, including defects or vulnerabilities in our service providers’ information technology systems or offerings; government surveillance; breaches of physical security of our facilities or technical infrastructure; or other threats that may surface or evolve.

In addition, third parties may attempt to fraudulently induce employees or users to disclose information in order to gain access to our data or our users’ data. Cyber-attacks continue to evolve in sophistication and volume, and may be difficult to detect for long periods of time. Although we have developed systems and processes that are designed to protect our data and user data, to prevent data loss, to disable undesirable accounts and activities on our platform, and to prevent or detect security breaches, we cannot assure you that such measures will be successful, that we will be able to anticipate or detect all cyber-attacks or other breaches, that we will be able to react to cyber-attacks or other breaches in a timely manner, or that our remediation efforts will be successful. We may also incur significant legal and financial exposure, including legal claims, higher transaction fees and regulatory fines and penalties as a result of any compromise or breach of our systems or data security, or the systems and data security of our third party providers. Any of the foregoing could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects.

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In addition, some of our partners may receive or store information provided by us or by our users through mobile or web applications integrated with our applications and we use third-party service providers to store, transmit and otherwise process certain confidential, sensitive or personal information on our behalf. If these third parties fail to adopt or adhere to adequate data security practices, or in the event of a breach of their networks, our data or our users’ data may be improperly accessed, used, or disclosed, which could subject us to legal liability. We cannot control such third parties and cannot guarantee that a security breach will not occur on their systems. Although we may have contractual protections with our third-party service providers, contractors and consultants, any actual or perceived security breach could harm our reputation and brand, expose us to potential liability or require us to expend significant resources on data security and in responding to any such actual or perceived breach. Any contractual protections we may have from our third-party service providers, contractors or consultants may not be sufficient to adequately protect us from any such liabilities and losses, and we may be unable to enforce any such contractual protections.

 While our insurance policies include liability coverage for certain of these matters, if we experience a significant security incident, we could be subject to liability or other damages that exceed our insurance coverage and we cannot be certain that such insurance policies will continue to be available to us on economically reasonable terms, or at all, or that any insurer will not deny coverage as to any future claim. The successful assertion of one or more large claims against us that exceed available insurance coverage, or the occurrence of changes in our insurance policies, including premium increases or the imposition of large deductible or co-insurance requirements, could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations, financial condition and cash flows.

If the security of personal and confidential or sensitive user information that we maintain and store is breached, or otherwise accessed by unauthorized persons, it may be costly to remediate such breach and our reputation could be harmed.

We receive, process, store, and transmit a significant amount of personal user and other confidential or sensitive information, including credit card information, user-to-user communications and personal information of our employees and users, and enable our users to share their personal information with each other. In some cases, we engage third-party service providers to store this information. We continuously develop and maintain systems to protect the security, integrity and confidentiality of this information, but we have experienced past incidents and cannot guarantee that inadvertent or unauthorized use or disclosure of such information will not occur in the future or that third parties will not gain unauthorized access to such information despite our efforts. When such incidents occur, we may not be able to remedy them, we may be required by law to notify regulators and individuals whose personal information was used or disclosed without authorization, we may be subject to claims against us, including government enforcement actions or investigations, fines and litigation, and we may have to expend significant capital and other resources to mitigate the impact of such events, including developing and implementing protections to prevent future events of this nature from occurring. When breaches of our or our third-party service providers’ and partners’ information technology systems occur or unauthorized access to any of the confidential, sensitive or other personal information we collect or process occurs, the perception of the effectiveness of our security measures, the security measures of our partners and our reputation may be harmed, we may lose current and potential users and the recognition of our various brands and such brands’ competitive positions may be diminished, any or all of which might materially adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations. See “—The varying and rapidly-evolving regulatory framework on privacy and data protection across jurisdictions could result in claims, changes to our business practices, monetary penalties, increased cost of operations, or declines in user growth or engagement, or otherwise harm our business.”

We are subject to a number of risks related to credit card payments, including data security breaches and fraud that we or third parties experience or additional regulation, any of which could materially adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.

In addition to purchases through the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store, we accept payment from our users through credit card transactions, certain online payment service providers, telecom providers and mobile payment platforms. The ability to access credit card information on a real-time basis without having to proactively reach out to the consumer each time we process an auto-renewal payment or a payment for the purchase of a premium feature on any of our dating products is critical to our success and a seamless experience for our users.

When we or a third party experiences a data security breach involving credit card information, affected cardholders will often cancel their credit cards. In the case of a breach experienced by a third party, the more sizable the third party’s customer base and the greater the number of credit card accounts impacted, the more likely it is that our users would be impacted by such a breach. To the extent our users are ever affected by such a breach experienced by us or a third party, affected users would need to be contacted to obtain new credit card information and process any pending transactions. It is likely that we would not be able to reach all affected users, and even if we could, some users’ new credit card information may not be obtained and some pending transactions may not be processed, which could materially adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.

We work with our payment service providers to utilize tokenization tools to replace sensitive cardholder information with a stand-in token to help secure individual cardholder bank account details in credit card transactions and to reduce the number of systems that have access to our customers’ credit card information. While these tokenization tools can help limit the data security risks associated with credit card transactions, it does not eliminate those risks altogether.

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Even if our users are not directly impacted by a given data security breach, they may lose confidence in the ability of service providers to protect their personal information generally, which could cause them to stop using their credit cards online and choose alternative payment methods that are not as convenient for us or restrict our ability to process payments without significant cost or user effort.

Additionally, if we fail to adequately prevent fraudulent credit card transactions, we may face litigation, fines, governmental enforcement action, civil liability, diminished public perception of our security measures, significantly higher credit card-related costs and substantial remediation costs, or refusal by credit card processors to continue to process payments on our behalf, any of which could materially adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.

Finally, the passage or adoption of any legislation or regulation affecting the ability of service providers to periodically charge consumers for, among other things, recurring subscription payments may materially adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations. For example, under the Payment Services Regulation 2017, banks and other payment services providers are expected to develop and implement by September 14, 2021 strong customer authentication to check that the person requesting access to an account or trying to make a payment is permitted to do so. This could materially adversely affect our payment authorization rate and user journey. Legislation or regulation regarding the foregoing, or changes to existing legislation or regulation governing subscription payments, are being considered in many U.S. states. While we monitor and attempt to comply with these legal developments, we have been in the past, and may be in the future, subject to claims under such legislation or regulation.

Our success depends, in part, on the integrity of third-party systems and infrastructures and on continued and unimpeded access to our products and services on the internet.

We rely on third parties, primarily data center service providers (such as colocation providers), as well as third party payment aggregators, computer systems, internet transit providers and other communications systems and service providers, in connection with the provision of our products generally, as well as to facilitate and process certain transactions with our users. We have no control over any of these third parties, and while we actively reduce risk by minimizing reliance on any single third party or their operations, we cannot guarantee that such third-party providers will not experience system interruptions, outages or delays, or deterioration in the performance.

Problems or insolvency experienced by third-party data center service providers (such as colocation providers) and payment aggregators, upon whom we rely, the telecommunications network providers with whom we or they contract or with the systems through which telecommunications providers allocate capacity among their customers could also materially adversely affect us. Any changes in service levels at our data centers or payment aggregators or any interruptions, outages or delays in our systems or those of our third party providers, or deterioration in the performance of these systems, could impair our ability to provide our products or process transactions with our users, which could materially adversely impact our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects. Additionally, if we need to migrate our business to different third party data center service providers or payment aggregators as a result of any such problems or insolvency, it could delay our ability to process transactions with our users. See “—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.”

In addition, we depend on the ability of our users to access the internet. Currently, this access is provided by companies that have significant market power in the broadband and internet access marketplace, including incumbent telephone companies, cable companies, mobile communications companies, government-owned service providers, device manufacturers and operating system providers, any of whom could take actions that degrade, disrupt or increase the cost of user access to our products or services, which would, in turn, negatively impact our business. The adoption or repeal of any laws or regulations that adversely affect the growth, popularity or use of the internet, including laws or practices limiting internet neutrality, could decrease the demand for, or the usage of, our products and services, increase our cost of doing business and adversely affect our results of operations.

Our success depends, in part, on the integrity of our information technology systems and infrastructures and on our ability to enhance, expand and adapt these systems and infrastructures in a timely and cost-effective manner.

In order for us to succeed, our information technology systems and infrastructures must perform well on a consistent basis. Our products and systems rely on software and hardware that is highly technical and complex, and depend on the ability of such software and hardware to store, retrieve, process and manage immense amounts of data. We have in the past experienced, and we may from time to time in the future experience, system interruptions that make some or all of our systems or data temporarily unavailable and prevent our products from functioning properly for our users; any such interruption could arise for any number of reasons, including human errors. Further, our systems and infrastructures are vulnerable to damage from fire, power loss, hardware and operating software errors, cyber-attacks, technical limitations, telecommunications failures, acts of God and similar events. While we have backup systems in place for certain aspects of our operations, not all of our systems and infrastructures are fully redundant. Disaster recovery planning can never account for all possible eventualities and our property and business interruption insurance coverage may not be adequate to compensate us fully for any losses that we may suffer. Any interruptions or outages, regardless of the cause, could

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negatively impact our users’ experiences with our products, tarnish our brands’ reputations and decrease demand for our products, any or all of which could materially adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations. Moreover, even if detected, the resolution of such interruptions may take a long time, during which customers may not be able to access, or may have limited access to, the service. See “—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.”

We also continually work to expand and enhance the efficiency and scalability of our technology and network systems to improve the experience of our users, accommodate substantial increases in the volume of traffic to our various products, ensure acceptable load times for our products and keep up with changes in technology and user preferences. Any failure to do so in a timely and cost-effective manner could materially adversely affect our users’ experience with our various products and thereby negatively impact the demand for our products, and could increase our costs, either of which could materially adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.

 From time to time, we are party to intellectual property-related litigations and proceedings that are expensive and time consuming to defend, and, if resolved adversely, could materially adversely impact our business, financial condition and results of operations.

Our commercial success depends in part on avoiding infringement, misappropriation or other violations of the intellectual property rights of third parties. However, we may become party to disputes from time to time over rights and obligations concerning intellectual property held by third parties, and we may not prevail in these disputes. Companies in the internet, technology and social media industries are subject to frequent litigation based on allegations of infringement, misappropriation or other violations of intellectual property rights. Many companies in these industries, including many of our competitors, have substantially larger intellectual property portfolios than we do, which could make us a target for litigation as we may not be able to assert counterclaims against parties that sue us for infringement, misappropriation or other violations of patent or other intellectual property rights. In addition, various “non-practicing entities” that own patents and other intellectual property rights often attempt to assert claims in order to extract value from technology companies and, given that these patent holding companies or other adverse intellectual property rights holders typically have no relevant product revenue, our own issued or pending patents and other intellectual property rights may provide little or no deterrence to these rights holders in bringing intellectual property rights claims against us. From time to time we receive claims from third parties which allege that we have infringed upon their intellectual property rights and we are also a party to several patent infringement litigations from such third parties. Further, from time to time we may introduce new products, product features and services, including in areas where we currently do not have an offering, which could increase our exposure to patent and other intellectual property claims from competitors and non-practicing entities. In addition, some of our agreements with third-party partners require us to indemnify them for certain intellectual property claims against them, which could require us to incur considerable costs in defending such claims, and may require us to pay significant damages in the event of an adverse ruling. Such third-party partners may also discontinue their relationships with us as a result of injunctions or otherwise, which could result in loss of revenue and adversely impact our business operations.

Although we try to ensure that our employees and consultants do not use the proprietary information or know-how of others in their work for us, we may be subject to claims that we or our employees or consultants have inadvertently or otherwise used or disclosed intellectual property, including trade secrets, software code or other proprietary information, of a former employer or other third parties. Litigation may be necessary to defend against these claims and if we fail in defending any such claims, in addition to paying monetary damages, we may lose valuable intellectual property rights or personnel. Further, while it is our policy to require our employees and contractors who may be involved in the conception or development of intellectual property to execute agreements assigning such intellectual property to us, we may be unsuccessful in executing such an agreement with each party who, in fact, conceives or develops intellectual property that we regard as our own. Additionally, any such assignment of intellectual property rights may not be self-executing, or the assignment agreements may be breached, and we may be forced to bring claims against third parties, or defend claims that they may bring against us, to determine the ownership of what we regard as our intellectual property.

As we face increasing competition and develop new products, we expect the number of patent and other intellectual property claims against us may grow. There may be intellectual property or other rights held by others, including issued or pending patents, that cover significant aspects of our products and services, and we cannot be sure that we are not infringing or violating, and have not infringed or violated, any third-party intellectual property rights or that we will not be held to have done so or be accused of doing so in the future. For example, in April 2018, Match Group, Inc. filed a lawsuit against us for patent and trademark infringement, as well as trade secret misappropriation. In June 2020, we reached an agreement with Match Group, Inc. to settle such lawsuit. For additional information, please see Note 17, Commitments and Contingencies, to the audited consolidated financial statements included in “Item 8―Financial Statements and Supplementary Data”.

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Any claim or litigation alleging that we have infringed or otherwise violated intellectual property or other rights of third parties, with or without merit, and whether or not settled out of court or determined in our favor, could be time-consuming and costly to address and resolve, and could divert the time and attention of our management and technical personnel. Some of our competitors have substantially greater resources than we do and are able to sustain the costs of complex intellectual property litigation to a greater degree and for longer periods of time than we could. The outcome of any litigation is inherently uncertain, and there can be no assurances that favorable final outcomes will be obtained in all cases. In addition, third parties may seek, and we may become subject to, preliminary or provisional rulings in the course of any such litigation, including potential preliminary injunctions requiring us to cease some or all of our operations. We may decide to settle such lawsuits and disputes on terms that are unfavorable to us. Similarly, if any litigation to which we are a party is resolved adversely, we may be subject to an unfavorable judgment that may not be reversed upon appeal, including being subject to a permanent injunction and being required to pay substantial monetary damages, including treble damages and attorneys’ fees, if we are found to have willfully infringed a party’s intellectual property rights. The terms of such a settlement or judgment may require us to cease some or all of our operations or pay substantial amounts to the other party. In addition, we may have to seek a license to continue practices found to be in violation of a third-party’s rights. If we are required, or choose to enter into royalty or licensing arrangements, such arrangements may not be available on reasonable terms, or at all, and may significantly increase our operating costs and expenses. Such arrangements may also only be available on a non-exclusive basis such that third parties, including our competitors, could have access to the same licensed technology to compete with us. As a result, we may also be required to develop or procure alternative non-infringing technology, which could require significant effort, time and expense or discontinue use of the technology. There also can be no assurance that we would be able to develop or license suitable alternative technology to permit us to continue offering the affected products or services. If we cannot develop or license alternative technology for any allegedly infringing aspect of our business, we would be forced to limit our products and services and may be unable to compete effectively. Furthermore, because of the substantial amount of discovery required in connection with intellectual property litigation, there is a risk that some of our confidential information could be compromised by disclosure during this type of litigation. Any of the foregoing, and any unfavorable resolution of such disputes and litigation, would materially and adversely impact our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects.

We may fail to adequately obtain, protect and maintain our intellectual property rights or prevent third parties from making unauthorized use of such rights.

Our intellectual property is a material asset of our business and our success depends in part on our ability to protect our proprietary rights and intellectual property. For example, we rely heavily upon our trademarks, designs, copyrights, related domain names, social media handles and logos to market our brands and to build and maintain brand loyalty and recognition. We also rely upon proprietary technologies and trade secrets, as well as a combination of laws, and contractual restrictions, including confidentiality agreements with employees, customers, suppliers, affiliates and others, to establish, protect and enforce our various intellectual property rights. For example, we have generally registered and continue to apply to register and renew, or secure by contract where appropriate, trademarks and service marks as they are developed and used, and reserve, register and renew domain names and social media handles as we deem appropriate. If our trademarks and trade names are not adequately protected, then we may not be able to build and maintain name recognition in our markets of interest and our business may be adversely affected. Effective trademark protection may not be available or may not be sought in every country in which our products are made available, in every class of goods and services in which we operate, and contractual disputes may affect the use of marks governed by private contract. Our registered or unregistered trademarks or trade names may be challenged, infringed, circumvented or declared generic or determined to be infringing on other marks. For example, third parties have challenged our “BUMBLE” trademarks in the United Kingdom (“UK”) and the EU, and if such challenges are successful, we could lose valuable trademark rights. Further, at times, competitors may adopt trade names or trademarks similar to ours, thereby impeding our ability to build brand identity and possibly leading to market confusion. Similarly, not every variation of a domain name or social media handle may be available or be registered by us, even if available. The occurrence of any of these events could result in the erosion of our brands and limit our ability to market our brands using our various domain names and social media handles, as well as impede our ability to effectively compete against competitors with similar technologies or products, any of which could materially adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.

We cannot guarantee that our efforts to obtain and maintain intellectual property rights are adequate, that we have secured, or will be able to secure, appropriate permissions or protections for all of the intellectual property rights we use or rely on. Furthermore, even if we are able to obtain intellectual property rights, any challenge to our intellectual property rights could result in them being narrowed in scope or declared invalid or unenforceable. In addition, other parties may also independently develop technologies that are substantially similar or superior to ours and we may not be able to stop such parties from using such independently developed technologies from competing with us.

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We also rely upon unpatented proprietary information and other trade secrets to protect intellectual property that may not be registrable, or that we believe is best protected by means that do not require public disclosure. While it is our policy to enter into confidentiality agreements with employees and third parties to protect our proprietary expertise and other trade secrets, we cannot guarantee that we have entered into such agreements with each party that has or may have had access to our proprietary information or trade secrets and, even if entered into, these agreements may otherwise fail to effectively prevent disclosure of proprietary information, may be limited as to their term and may not provide an adequate remedy in the event of unauthorized disclosure or use of proprietary information. Monitoring unauthorized uses and disclosures is difficult, and we do not know whether the steps we have taken to protect our proprietary technologies will be effective. Enforcing a claim that a party illegally disclosed or misappropriated a trade secret can be difficult, expensive and time-consuming, and the outcome is unpredictable. Some courts inside and outside the United States are less willing or unwilling to protect trade secrets. In addition, trade secrets may be independently developed by others in a manner that could prevent legal recourse by us. If any of our confidential or proprietary information, such as our trade secrets, were to be disclosed or misappropriated, or if any such information was independently developed by a competitor, our competitive position would be materially adversely harmed.

Our intellectual property rights and the enforcement or defense of such rights may be affected by developments or uncertainty in laws and regulations relating to intellectual property rights. Moreover, many companies have encountered significant problems in protecting and defending intellectual property rights in foreign jurisdictions. The legal systems of certain countries, particularly certain developing countries, do not favor the enforcement of patents, trade secrets and other intellectual property protection, which could make it difficult for us to stop the infringement, misappropriation or other violation of our intellectual property or marketing of competing products in violation of our intellectual property rights generally.

We also may be forced to bring claims against third parties to determine the ownership of what we regard as our intellectual property or to enforce our intellectual property against its infringement, misappropriation or other violations by third parties. However, the measures we take to protect our intellectual property from unauthorized use by others may not be effective and there can be no assurance that our intellectual property rights will be sufficient to protect against others offering products or services that are substantially similar or superior to ours and that compete with our business. We may not prevail in any intellectual property-related proceedings that we initiate against third parties. Further, in such proceedings or in proceedings before patent, trademark and copyright agencies, our asserted intellectual property could be found to be invalid or unenforceable, in which case we could lose valuable intellectual property rights. In addition, even if we are successful in enforcing our intellectual property against third parties, the damages or other remedies awarded, if any, may not be commercially meaningful. Regardless of whether any such proceedings are resolved in our favor, such proceedings could cause us to incur significant expenses and could distract our personnel from their normal responsibilities. Accordingly, our efforts to enforce our intellectual property rights around the world may be inadequate to obtain a significant commercial advantage from the intellectual property that we develop or license.

Despite the measures we take to protect our intellectual property rights, our intellectual property rights may still not be adequate and protected in a meaningful manner, challenges to contractual rights could arise, third parties could copy or otherwise obtain and use our intellectual property without authorization, or laws and interpretations of laws regarding the enforceability of existing intellectual property rights may change over time in a manner that provides less protection. The occurrence of any of these events could impede our ability to effectively compete against competitors with similar technologies, any of which could materially adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations. See “—From time to time, we are party to intellectual property-related litigations and proceedings that are expensive and time consuming to defend, and, if resolved adversely, could materially adversely impact our business, financial condition and results of operations.”

Our use of “open source” software could subject our proprietary software to general release, adversely affect our ability to sell our products and services and subject us to possible litigation.

We use open source software in connection with a portion of our proprietary software and expect to continue to use open source software in the future. Under certain circumstances, some open source licenses require users of the licensed code to provide the user’s own proprietary source code to third parties upon request, or prohibit users from charging a fee to third parties in connection with the use of the user’s proprietary code. While we try to insulate our proprietary code from the effects of such open source license provisions, we cannot guarantee that we will be successful, that all open source software is reviewed prior to use in our products, that our developers have not incorporated open source software into our products, or that they will not do so in the future. Accordingly, we may face claims from others challenging our use of open source software, claiming ownership of, or seeking to enforce the license terms applicable to such open source software, including by demanding release of the open source software, derivative works or our proprietary source code that was developed or distributed with such software. Such claims could also require us to purchase a commercial license or require us to devote additional research and development resources to change our software, any of which would have a negative effect on our business and results of operations. In addition, if the license terms for the open source code change, we may be forced to re-engineer our software or incur additional costs. Additionally, the terms of many open source licenses to which we are subject have not been interpreted by U.S. or foreign courts. There is a risk that open source software licenses could be construed in a manner that imposes unanticipated conditions or restrictions on our ability to market or provide our products.

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Risks Related to Regulation and Litigation

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.

Other businesses have been criticized by consumer protection groups, privacy groups and governmental bodies for attempts to link personal identities and other information to data collected on the internet regarding users’ browsing and other habits. 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. In addition, if we were to disclose information and other data about our users in a manner that was objectionable to them, our business reputation could be materially adversely affected, and we could face potential legal claims that could impact our operating results. Internationally, we may become subject to additional and/or more stringent legal obligations concerning our treatment of customer and other personal information, such as laws regarding data localization and/or restrictions on data export. For example, in July 2020 the European Union Court of Justice struck down a permitted personal data transfer mechanism between the European Union and the United States, which may lead to uncertainty about the legal basis for other personal data transfers from the European Union to the United States or interruption of such transfers. In the event any court blocks personal data transfer to or from a particular jurisdiction this could give rise to operational interruption in the performance of services for customers, greater costs to implement alternative data transfer mechanisms that are still permitted, regulatory liabilities or reputational harm. Failure to comply with evolving privacy laws could subject us to liability, and to the extent that we need to alter our business model or practices to adapt to these obligations, we could incur additional expenses, which may in turn materially adversely affect our business, financial condition, and results of operations. See “—The varying and rapidly-evolving regulatory framework on privacy and data protection across jurisdictions could result in claims, changes to our business practices, monetary penalties, increased cost of operations, or declines in user growth or engagement, or otherwise harm our business.”

Additionally, privacy activist groups have previously and may continue to provide resources to support individuals who wish to pursue privacy claims or put pressure on companies to change data processing practices. High-profile brands such as ours risk being targeted by such groups and, due to the nature of the data that we hold, there is a risk that if a user became disgruntled with our data processing practices they could leverage support from such privacy activist groups to take legal action, initiate regulatory investigation or gain publicity for their cause. There is a risk that these groups will seek to challenge our practices, particularly in relation to targeted advertising or international data transfers. Any such campaign could require significant resources to mount a response and could lead to negative publicity and potential investigation from regulators, any of which may materially adversely affect our business, financial condition, and results of operations.

Our business is subject to complex and evolving U.S. and international laws and regulations. Many of these laws and regulations are subject to change and uncertain interpretation, and could result in claims, changes to our business practices, monetary penalties, increased cost of operations, or declines in user growth or engagement, or otherwise harm our business.

We are subject to a variety of laws and regulations in the United States and abroad that involve matters that are important to or may otherwise impact our business, including, among others, broadband internet access, online commerce, advertising, user privacy, data protection, intermediary liability, protection of minors, consumer protection, general safety, sex-trafficking, taxation and securities law compliance. The introduction of new products, expansion of our activities in certain jurisdictions, or other actions that we may take may subject us to additional laws, regulations or other government scrutiny. In addition, foreign laws and regulations can impose different obligations or be more restrictive than those in the United States.

These U.S. federal, state, and municipal and foreign laws and regulations, which in some cases can be enforced by private parties in addition to government entities, are constantly evolving and can be subject to significant change. For example, on April 11, 2018, the Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act became effective in the United States, which allows victims of sex trafficking crimes, as well as other state and local authorities, to seek redress from platforms in certain circumstances in connection with sex trafficking of individuals online.

In addition, the introduction of new brands and products, or changes to existing brands and products, may result in new or enhanced governmental or regulatory scrutiny. As a result, the application, interpretation, and enforcement of these laws and regulations are often uncertain, particularly in the new and rapidly-evolving industry in which we operate, and may be interpreted and applied inconsistently from state to state and country to country and inconsistently with our current policies and practices. These laws and regulations, as well as any associated inquiries or investigations or any other government actions, may be costly to comply with and may delay or impede the development of new products, require that we change or cease certain business practices, result in negative publicity, increase our operating costs, require significant management time and attention, and subject us to remedies that may harm our business, including fines, demands or orders that require us to modify or cease existing business practices. For example, a variety of laws and regulations govern the ability of users to cancel subscriptions and auto-payment renewals. We have in the past and may in the future be subject to claims under such laws and regulations that could materially adversely affect our business.

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The promulgation of new laws or regulations, or the new interpretation of existing laws and regulations, in each case, that restrict or otherwise unfavorably impact our business, or our ability to provide or the manner in which we provide our services, could require us to change certain aspects of our business and operations to ensure compliance, which could decrease demand for services, reduce revenues, increase costs and subject us to additional liabilities. For example, U.S. courts have increasingly interpreted Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (the “ADA”) to require websites and web-based applications to be made fully accessible to individuals with disabilities. As a result, we may become subject to claims that our apps are not compliant with the ADA, which may require us to make modifications to our products to provide enhanced or accessible services to, or make reasonable accommodations for, individuals, and could result in litigation, including class action lawsuits.

 In addition, concerns about harms and the use of dating products and social networking platforms for such illegal and harmful conduct have produced and could continue to produce future legislation or other governmental action. For example, in January 2020, the Committee on Oversight Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy of the U.S. House of Representatives launched an investigation into the online dating industry’s user safety policies, including certain practices of our businesses relating to the identification and removal of registered sex offenders and underage individuals from our platforms. The United Kingdom and European Union are also considering new legislation on this topic. For instance, the United Kingdom released its Online Harms White Paper and the European Union introduced proposed legislation referred to as the Digital Services Act and the Digital Markets Act. Proposed legislation could expose platforms to liability similar to existing legislation in other jurisdictions or, in some cases, more expansive liability. For instance, the Digital Services Act intends to limit or remove protections afforded technology platforms under the e-Commerce Directive. Similarly, in the United States, at the federal level, policymakers have discussed various legislative proposals that purport to limit or remove the protections afforded to technology platforms under the Communications Decency Act, which protect technology platforms from civil liability for certain type of content and actions of the platform’s users. If future legislation or governmental action is proposed or taken to address concerns regarding such harms, and if existing protections are limited or removed, changes could be required to our products that could restrict or impose additional costs upon the conduct of our business generally or cause users to abandon our products, which may in turn materially adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.

The adoption of any laws or regulations that adversely affect the popularity or growth in use of the internet or our services, including laws or regulations that undermine open and neutrally administered internet access, could decrease user demand for our service offerings and increase our cost of doing business. For example, in December 2017, the Federal Communications Commission adopted an order reversing net neutrality protections in the United States, including the repeal of specific rules against blocking, throttling or “paid prioritization” of content or services by internet service providers. To the extent internet service providers engage in such blocking, throttling or “paid prioritization” of content or similar actions as a result of this order and the adoption of similar laws or regulations, our business, financial condition and results of operations could be materially adversely affected.

Furthermore, we are subject to rules and regulations of the United States and abroad relating to export controls and economic sanctions, including, but not limited to, trade sanctions administered by the Office of Foreign Assets Control within the U.S. Department of the Treasury, as well as the Export Administration Regulations administered by the Department of Commerce. These regulations may limit our ability to market, sell, distribute or otherwise transfer our products or technology to prohibited countries or persons. While we have taken steps to comply with these rules and regulations, a determination that we have failed to comply, whether knowingly or inadvertently, may result in substantial penalties, including fines, enforcement actions, civil and/or criminal sanctions, the disgorgement of profits, and may materially adversely affect our business, results of operations and financial condition.

The varying and rapidly-evolving regulatory framework on privacy and data protection across jurisdictions could result in claims, changes to our business practices, monetary penalties, increased cost of operations, or declines in user growth or engagement, or otherwise harm our business.

As discussed above, we process a significant volume of personal information and other regulated information both from our employees and our users. There are numerous laws in the countries in which we operate regarding privacy and the storage, sharing, use, processing, disclosure and protection of this kind of information, the scope of which are constantly changing, and in some cases, inconsistent and conflicting and subject to differing interpretations, as new laws of this nature are proposed and adopted and we currently, and from time to time, may not be in technical compliance with all such laws. Such laws also are becoming increasingly rigorous and could be interpreted and applied in ways that may have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects. Therefore, enforcement practices are likely to remain uncertain for the foreseeable future. In recent years, there has been an increase in attention to and regulations of data protection and data privacy across the globe, including in the United States and the European Union. We are subject to the GDPR, which became effective in May 2018, the California Consumer Privacy Act (“CCPA”), which took effect on January 1, 2020, and the Brazilian General Data Protection Law, which took effect in August 2020 and imposes requirements similar to the GDPR on products and services offered to users in Brazil. Other comprehensive data privacy or data protection laws or regulations have been passed or are under consideration in other jurisdictions, including China, India and Japan. Laws such as these give rise to an increasingly complex set of compliance obligations on us, as well as on many of our service providers. These laws impose restrictions on our ability to gather personal data, provide individuals with the ability to opt out of personal data collection, impose obligations on our ability to share data with others, and potentially subject us to fines, lawsuits, and regulatory scrutiny.

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For example, the GDPR greatly increased the EU’s jurisdictional reach of its laws and added a broad array of requirements for handling personal data. EU member states are tasked under the GDPR to enact, and have enacted, certain implementing legislation that adds to and/or further interprets the GDPR requirements and potentially extends our obligations and potential liability for failing to meet such obligations. The GDPR includes obligations and restrictions concerning the consent and rights of individuals to whom the personal data relates, the transfer of personal data out of the European Economic Area, security breach notifications and the security and confidentiality of personal data.

Under the GDPR we may be subject to fines of up to €20 million or up to 4% of the total worldwide annual group turnover of the preceding financial year (whichever is higher), as well as face claims from individuals based on the GDPR’s private right of action. The GDPR will continue to be interpreted by EU data protection regulators, which may require that we make changes to our business practices, which could be time-consuming and expensive, and could generate additional risks and liabilities. The European Union is also considering an update to the EU’s Privacy and Electronic Communications (so-called “e-Privacy”) Directive, notably to amend rules on the use of cookies, electronic communications data and metadata. Brexit (as defined below) and ongoing developments in the United Kingdom have created uncertainty with regard to data protection regulation in the United Kingdom and could result in the application of new data privacy and protection laws and standards to our operations in the United Kingdom and our handling of personal data of users located in the United Kingdom. Additionally, the United Kingdom has transposed the GDPR into domestic law with a United Kingdom version of the GDPR (combining the GDPR and the Data Protection Act of 2018) that took effect in January 2021, which could expose us to two parallel regimes, each of which potentially authorizes similar fines and other potentially divergent enforcement actions for certain violations. Other countries have also passed or are considering passing laws requiring local data residency and/or restricting the international transfer of data.

Multiple legislative proposals concerning privacy and the protection of user information are being considered by the U.S. Congress. Various U.S. state legislatures have announced intentions to consider privacy legislation, and U.S. state legislatures such as California have already passed and enacted privacy legislation. For example, among other cases, the CCPA requires covered companies to provide new disclosures to California consumers and provide such consumers new data protection and privacy rights, including the ability to opt-out of certain sales of personal information. The CCPA provides for civil penalties for violations, as well as a private right of action for certain data breaches that result in the loss of personal information. This private right of action may increase the likelihood of, and risks associated with, data breach litigation. A ballot initiative from privacy rights advocates intended to augment and expand the CCPA called the California Privacy Rights Act (“CPRA”) was passed in November 2020 and will take effect in January 2023 (with a look back to January 2022). The CPRA will significantly modify the CCPA, including by expanding consumers’ rights with respect to certain sensitive personal information. The CPRA also creates a new state agency that will be vested with authority to implement and enforce the CCPA and the CPRA. New legislation proposed or enacted in a number of states (including the Virginia Consumer Data Protection Act, which was signed into law in March 2021 and will take effect at the same time as the CPRA) impose, or have the potential to impose additional obligations on companies that collect, store, use, retain, disclose, transfer and otherwise process confidential, sensitive and personal information, and will continue to shape the data privacy environment nationally. State laws are changing rapidly and there is discussion in Congress of a new federal data protection and privacy law to which we would become subject if it is enacted. Additionally, governmental agencies like the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the Federal Trade Commission have adopted, or are considering adopting, laws and regulations concerning personal information and data security. For example, the Federal Trade Commission has increased its focus on privacy and data security practices at digital companies, as evidenced by it levying, in July 2019, of a $5 billion fine against Facebook for privacy violations and increasing fines against companies found to be in violation of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (“COPPA”).

The myriad international and U.S. privacy and data breach laws are not consistent, and compliance in the event of a widespread data breach is difficult and may be costly. Moreover, states have been frequently amending existing laws, requiring attention to changing regulatory requirements. In addition to government regulation, privacy advocates and industry groups have and may in the future propose self-regulatory standards from time to time. These and other industry standards may legally or contractually apply to us, or we may elect to comply with such standards. We expect that there will continue to be new proposed laws and regulations concerning data privacy and security, and we cannot yet determine the impact such future laws, regulations and standards may have on our business. Because the interpretation and application of data protection laws, regulations, standards and other obligations are still uncertain, and often contradictory and in flux, it is possible that the scope and requirements of these laws may be interpreted and applied in a manner that is inconsistent with our practices and our efforts to comply with the evolving data protection rules may be unsuccessful.

We make public statements about our use and disclosure of personal information through our privacy policy, information provided on our website and press statements. Although we endeavor to comply with our public statements and documentation, we may at times fail to do so or be alleged to have failed to do so. We may be subject to potential government or legal action if such policies or statements are found to be deceptive, unfair or misrepresentative of our actual practices. In addition, from time to time, concerns may be expressed about whether our products and services compromise the privacy of our users and others. Any concerns about our data privacy and security practices (even if unfounded), or any failure, real or perceived, by us to comply with our posted privacy policies or with any legal or regulatory requirements, standards, certifications or orders or other privacy or consumer protection-related laws and regulations applicable to us, could cause our users to reduce their use of our products and services.

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While we believe that we comply with industry standards and applicable laws and industry codes of conduct relating to privacy and data protection in all material respects, there is no assurance that we will not be subject to claims that we have violated applicable laws or codes of conduct, that we will be able to successfully defend against such claims or that we will not be subject to significant fines and penalties in the event of non-compliance. Additionally, to the extent multiple state-level laws are introduced with inconsistent or conflicting standards and there is no federal law to preempt such laws, compliance with such laws could be difficult to achieve and we could be subject to fines and penalties in the event of non-compliance.

Furthermore, enforcement actions and investigations by regulatory authorities related to data security incidents and privacy violations continue to increase. For example, in January 2021, the Norwegian Data Protection Authority notified Grindr LLC of its preliminary decision that the app had failed to obtain valid consent to provide user data to third party advertisers in violation of the GDPR and its intention to issue an administrative fine. The United Kingdom’s Information Commissioner’s Office has also announced that it is focused on transparency and consent as it relates to the use of personal data and targeted advertising. This is an evolving area of privacy regulation, subject to significant judgment and differing interpretation. We have in the past received, and may continue to receive inquiries from regulators regarding our data privacy practices. Any failure or perceived failure by us (or the third parties with whom we have contracted to process such information) to comply with applicable privacy and security laws, policies or related contractual obligations, or any compromise of security that results in unauthorized access, or the use or transmission of, personal user information, could result in a variety of claims against us, including governmental enforcement actions and investigations, class action privacy litigation in certain jurisdictions and proceedings by data protection authorities. We could further be subject to significant fines, other litigation, claims of breach of contract and indemnity by third parties, and adverse publicity. When such events occur, our reputation may be harmed, we may lose current and potential users and the competitive positions of our various brands might be diminished, any or all of which could materially adversely affect our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects. In addition, if our practices are not consistent or viewed as not consistent with legal and regulatory requirements, including changes in laws, regulations and standards or new interpretations or applications of existing laws, regulations and standards, we may become subject to audits, inquiries, whistleblower complaints, adverse media coverage, investigations, loss of export privileges or severe criminal or civil sanctions, all of which may have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects.

We are subject to litigation and adverse outcomes in such litigation could have a material adverse effect on our financial condition.

We are, and from time to time may become, subject to litigation and various legal proceedings, including litigation and proceedings related to intellectual property matters, privacy and consumer protection laws, as well as stockholder derivative suits, class action lawsuits, actions from former employees and other matters, that involve claims for substantial amounts of money or for other relief or that might necessitate changes to our business or operations. Because we strive for gender equality in relationships and empower women to make the first move on our platforms, we have been, and may continue to be, subject to discrimination lawsuits. The defense of these actions is time consuming and expensive. We evaluate these litigation claims and legal proceedings to assess the likelihood of unfavorable outcomes and to estimate, if possible, the amount of potential losses. Based on these assessments and estimates, we may establish reserves and/or disclose the relevant litigation claims or legal proceedings, as and when required or appropriate. These assessments and estimates are based on information available to management at the time of such assessment or estimation and involve a significant amount of judgment. As a result, actual outcomes or losses could differ materially from those envisioned by our current assessments and estimates. Our failure to successfully defend or settle any of these litigations or legal proceedings could result in liability that, to the extent not covered by our insurance, could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations. Please see Note 17, Commitments and Contingencies, to the audited consolidated financial statements included in “Item 8―Financial Statements and Supplementary Data.”

Online applications are subject to various laws and regulations relating to children’s privacy and protection, which if violated, could subject us to an increased risk of litigation and regulatory actions.

A variety of laws and regulations have been adopted in recent years aimed at protecting children using the internet such as the COPPA and Article 8 of the GDPR. We implement certain precautions to ensure that minors do not gain access to our application. Despite our efforts, no assurances can be given that such measures will be sufficient to completely avoid allegations of COPPA violations, any of which could expose us to significant liability, penalties, reputational harm and loss of revenue, among other things. Additionally, new regulations are being considered in various jurisdictions to require the monitoring of user content or the verification of users’ identities and age. Such new regulations, or changes to existing regulations, could increase the cost of our operations.

We are subject to taxation related risks in multiple jurisdictions.

We are a U.S.-based multinational company subject to tax in multiple U.S. and foreign tax jurisdictions. Significant judgment is required in determining our global provision for income taxes, deferred tax assets or liabilities and in evaluating our tax positions on a worldwide basis. While we believe our tax positions are consistent with the tax laws in the jurisdictions in which we conduct our business, it is possible that these positions may be challenged by jurisdictional tax authorities, which may have a significant impact on our global provision for income taxes.

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Tax laws are being re-examined and evaluated globally. New laws and interpretations of the law are taken into account for financial statement purposes in the quarter or year that they become applicable. Tax authorities are increasingly scrutinizing the tax positions of companies. Many countries in the European Union, as well as a number of other countries and organizations such as the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development and the European Commission, are actively considering changes to existing tax laws that, if enacted, could increase our tax obligations in countries where we do business. These proposals include changes to the existing framework to calculate income tax, as well as proposals to change or impose new types of non-income taxes, including taxes based on a percentage of revenue. For example, several countries in the European Union have proposed or enacted taxes applicable to digital services, which includes business activities on social media platforms and online marketplaces, and would likely apply to our business. Many questions remain about the enactment, form and application of these digital services taxes. The interpretation and implementation of the various digital services taxes (especially if there is inconsistency in the application of these taxes across tax jurisdictions) could have a materially adverse impact on our business, results of operations and cash flows. Moreover, if the U.S. or other foreign tax authorities change applicable tax laws, our overall taxes could increase, and our business, financial condition or results of operations may be adversely impacted.

Action by governments to restrict access to Bumble in their countries could substantially harm our business and financial results.

Governments from time to time seek to censor content available on Bumble or our other products in their country, restrict access to our products from their country entirely, or impose other restrictions that may affect the accessibility of our products in their country for an extended period of time or indefinitely. For example, user access to Bumble and certain of our other products may be restricted in China. In addition, government authorities in other countries may seek to restrict user access to our products if they consider us to be in violation of their laws or a threat to public safety or for other reasons, such as considering the content on our platforms, or online dating services generally, immoral. For example, in September 2020 certain online dating platforms were banned in Pakistan for disseminating what it deemed to be “immoral and indecent” content. In the event that content shown on Bumble or our other products is subject to censorship, access to our products is restricted, in whole or in part, in one or more countries, we are required to or elect to make changes to our operations, or other restrictions are imposed on our products, or our competitors are able to successfully penetrate new geographic markets or capture a greater share of existing geographic markets that we cannot access or where we face other restrictions, our ability to retain or increase our user base, user engagement, or the level of advertising by marketers may be adversely affected, we may not be able to maintain or grow our revenue as anticipated, and our financial results could be materially adversely affected.

Legal, political and economic uncertainty surrounding the exit of the United Kingdom from the European Union, or Brexit, and the implementation of the trade and cooperation agreement between the United Kingdom and the European Union could have a material adverse effect on our business.

In June 2016, voters in the United Kingdom approved a referendum to withdraw the United Kingdom’s membership from the European Union, which is commonly referred to as “Brexit.” The United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union occurred on January 31, 2020, but the United Kingdom remained in the European Union’s customs union and single market for a transition period that expired on December 31, 2020. On December 24, 2020, the United Kingdom and the European Union entered into a trade and cooperation agreement (the “Trade and Cooperation Agreement”), which was applied on a provisional basis from January 1, 2021. While the economic integration does not reach the level that existed during the time the United Kingdom was a member state of the European Union, the Trade and Cooperation Agreement sets out preferential arrangements in areas such as trade in goods and in services, digital trade and intellectual property. Negotiations between the United Kingdom and the European Union are expected to continue in relation to the relationship between the United Kingdom and the European Union in certain other areas which are not covered by the Trade and Cooperation Agreement. The long term effects of Brexit will depend on the effects of the implementation and application of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement and any other relevant agreements between the United Kingdom and the European Union.

We have operations in the United Kingdom and the European Union and, as a result, we face risks associated with the potential uncertainty and disruptions that may follow Brexit and the implementation and application of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement, including with respect to volatility in exchange rates and interest rates, disruptions to the free movement of data, goods, services, people and capital between the United Kingdom and the European Union and potential material changes to the regulatory regime applicable to our operations in the United Kingdom. The uncertainty concerning the United Kingdom’s future legal, political and economic relationship with the European Union could adversely affect political, regulatory, economic or market conditions in the European Union, the United Kingdom and worldwide and could contribute to instability in global political institutions, regulatory agencies and financial markets. These developments, or the perception that any of them could occur, have had and may continue to have a material adverse effect on global economic conditions and the stability of global financial markets and could significantly reduce global market liquidity and limit the ability of key market participants to operate in certain financial markets. In particular, it could also lead to a period of considerable uncertainty in relation to the United Kingdom financial and banking markets, as well as to the regulatory process in Europe. Asset valuations, currency exchange rates and credit ratings may also be subject to increased market volatility.

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We may also face new regulatory costs and challenges as a result of Brexit that could have a material adverse effect on our operations. For example, as of January 1, 2021, the United Kingdom lost the benefits of global trade agreements negotiated by the European Union on behalf of its members, which may result in increased trade barriers that could make our doing business in areas that are subject to such global trade agreements more difficult. In addition, Brexit could lead to legal uncertainty and potentially divergent national laws and regulations as the United Kingdom determines which laws of the European Union to replace or replicate. There may continue to be economic uncertainty surrounding the consequences of Brexit that adversely impact customer confidence resulting in customers reducing their spending budgets on our services, which could materially adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.

The ongoing instability and uncertainty surrounding Brexit and the implementation and application of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement, could require us to restructure our business operations in the United Kingdom and the European Union and could have an adverse impact on our business and employees in the United Kingdom and European Union.

Risks Related to Our Indebtedness

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.

We have a substantial amount of debt, which requires significant interest and principal payments. In connection with the Sponsor Acquisition, in January 2020, we entered into a senior secured term loan facility (the “Initial Term Loan Facility”) in an original aggregate principal amount of $575.0 million and a senior secured revolving credit facility (the “Revolving Credit Facility”) in an aggregate principal amount of up to $50.0 million. In October 2020, we entered into an incremental senior secured term loan facility (the “Incremental Term Loan Facility” and, together with the Initial Term Loan Facility, the “Term Loan Facility”; the Term Loan Facility together with the Revolving Credit Facility, the “Senior Secured Credit Facilities”) in an original aggregate principal amount of $275.0 million. We intend to use a portion of the proceeds from our IPO to repay approximately $200.0 million in aggregate principal amount under the Term Loan Facility. Subject to the limits contained in the credit agreement entered into on January 29, 2020, among the Company and its wholly-owned subsidiaries, Buzz Bidco LLC, Buzz Merger Sub, and Buzz Finco LLC (as subsequently amended, the “Credit Agreement”) that governs our Senior Secured Credit Facilities, we may be able to incur substantial additional debt from time to time to finance working capital, capital expenditures, investments or acquisitions, or for other purposes. If we do so, the risks related to our high level of debt could increase. Specifically, our high level of debt could have important consequences, including the following:

 

it may be difficult for us to satisfy our obligations, including debt service requirements under our outstanding debt;

 

our ability to obtain additional financing for working capital, capital expenditures, debt service requirements, acquisitions or other general corporate purposes may be impaired;

 

 

a substantial portion of cash flow from operations are required to be dedicated to the payment of principal and interest on our indebtedness, therefore reducing our ability to use our cash flow to fund our operations, capital expenditures, future business opportunities and other purposes;

 

we could be more vulnerable to economic downturns and adverse industry conditions and our flexibility to plan for, or react to, changes in our business or industry is more limited;

 

our ability to capitalize on business opportunities and to react to competitive pressures, as compared to our competitors, may be compromised due to our high level of debt and the restrictive covenants in the Credit Agreement that governs our Senior Secured Credit Facilities;

 

our ability to borrow additional funds or to refinance debt may be limited; and

 

it may cause potential or existing customers to not contract with us due to concerns over our ability to meet our financial obligations under such contracts.

We are a holding company, and our consolidated assets are owned by, and our business is conducted through, our subsidiaries. Revenue from these subsidiaries is our primary source of funds for debt payments and operating expenses. If our subsidiaries are restricted from making distributions to us, our ability to meet our debt service obligations or otherwise fund our operations may be impaired. Moreover, there may be restrictions on payments by subsidiaries to their parent companies under applicable laws, including laws that require companies to maintain minimum amounts of capital and to make payments to stockholders only from profits. As a result, although a subsidiary of ours may have cash, we may not be able to obtain that cash to satisfy our obligation to service our outstanding debt or fund our operations.

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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. We cannot assure you that our business will generate sufficient cash flow from operations or that future borrowings will be available to us in an amount sufficient to enable us to service our debt, to refinance our debt or to fund our other liquidity needs. Any refinancing or restructuring of our indebtedness could be at higher interest rates and may require us to comply with more onerous covenants that could further restrict our business operations. Moreover, in the event of a default, the holders of our indebtedness could elect to declare such indebtedness be due and payable and/or elect to exercise other rights, such as the lenders under our Revolving Credit Facility terminating their commitments thereunder and ceasing to make further loans or the lenders under our Senior Secured Credit Facilities instituting foreclosure proceedings against their collateral, any of which could materially adversely affect our results of operations and financial condition.

Furthermore, all of the debt under our Senior Secured Credit Facilities bears interest at variable rates. If interest rates increase, our debt service obligations on our Senior Secured Credit Facilities would increase even though the amount borrowed remained the same, and our net income and cash flows, including cash available for servicing our indebtedness, would correspondingly decrease. In addition, our variable rate indebtedness uses the London Interbank Offered Rate (“LIBOR”) as a benchmark for establishing the rate of interest and may be hedged with LIBOR-based interest rate derivatives. LIBOR is the subject of recent national, international and other regulatory guidance and proposals for reform. These reforms and other pressures may cause LIBOR to be replaced with a new benchmark or to perform differently than in the past. The consequences of these developments cannot be entirely predicted, but could include an increase in the cost of our variable rate indebtedness.

 Certain of our debt agreements impose significant operating and financial restrictions on us and our subsidiaries, which may prevent us from capitalizing on business opportunities.

The Credit Agreement that governs our Senior Secured Credit Facilities imposes significant operating and financial restrictions on us. These restrictions will limit our ability and/or the ability of our subsidiaries to, among other things:

 

incur or guarantee additional debt or issue disqualified stock or preferred stock;

 

pay dividends and make other distributions on, or redeem or repurchase, capital stock;

 

make certain investments;

 

incur certain liens;

 

enter into transactions with affiliates;

 

merge or consolidate;

 

enter into agreements that restrict the ability of restricted subsidiaries to make dividends or other payments to the issuers or the guarantors;

 

prepay, redeem or repurchase any subordinated indebtedness or enter into amendments to certain subordinated indebtedness in a manner materially adverse to the lenders;

 

designate restricted subsidiaries as unrestricted subsidiaries; and

 

transfer or sell assets.

Furthermore, if our borrowings under the Revolving Credit Facility exceed certain thresholds, the Credit Agreement requires Buzz Finco L.L.C. to maintain, as of the last day of each four fiscal quarter periods, a maximum consolidated first lien net leverage ratio of 5.75 to 1.00 (subject to customary equity cure rights). As a result of these restrictions, we are limited as to how we conduct our business and we may be unable to raise additional debt or equity financing to compete effectively or to take advantage of new business opportunities. The terms of any future indebtedness we may incur could include similar or more restrictive covenants. We cannot assure you that we will be able to maintain compliance with these covenants in the future and, if we fail to do so, that we will be able to obtain waivers from the lenders and/or amend the covenants. Our failure to comply with the restrictive or financial covenants described above as well as the terms of any future indebtedness could result in an event of default, which, if not cured or waived, could result in us being required to repay these borrowings before their due date. If we are forced to refinance these borrowings on less favorable terms or are unable to refinance these borrowings, our results of operations and financial condition could be materially adversely affected.

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Risks Related to Our Organizational Structure

Bumble Inc. is a holding company and its only material asset is its interest in Bumble Holdings, and it is accordingly dependent upon distributions from Bumble Holdings to pay taxes, make payments under the tax receivable agreement and pay dividends.

Bumble Inc. is a holding company and has no material assets other than its ownership of Common Units. Bumble Inc. has no independent means of generating revenue. Bumble Inc. intends to cause Bumble Holdings to make distributions to holders of its Common Units, including Bumble Inc. and our Pre-IPO Common Unitholders, and Incentive Units in an amount sufficient to cover all applicable taxes at assumed tax rates, payments under the tax receivable agreement and dividends, if any, declared by it. Deterioration in the financial condition, earnings or cash flow of Bumble Holdings and its subsidiaries for any reason could limit or impair their ability to pay such distributions. Additionally, to the extent that Bumble Inc. needs funds, and Bumble Holdings is restricted from making such distributions under applicable law or regulation or under the terms of our financing arrangements, or is otherwise unable to provide such funds, such restriction could materially adversely affect our liquidity and financial condition.

 We anticipate that Bumble Holdings will continue to be treated as a partnership for U.S. federal income tax purposes and, as such, generally will not be subject to any entity-level U.S. federal income tax. Instead, taxable income will be allocated to holders of Common Units, including us, and Incentive Units. Accordingly, we will be required to pay income taxes on our allocable share of any net taxable income of Bumble Holdings. Legislation that is effective for taxable years beginning after December 31, 2017 may impute liability for adjustments to a partnership’s tax return to the partnership itself in certain circumstances, absent an election to the contrary. Bumble Holdings may be subject to material liabilities pursuant to this legislation and related guidance if, for example, its calculations of taxable income are incorrect. In addition, the income taxes on our allocable share of Bumble Holding’s net taxable income will increase over time as our Pre-IPO Common Unitholders and/or Incentive Unitholders exchange their Common Units (including Common Units issued upon conversion of vested Incentive Units) for shares of our Class A common stock. Such increase in our tax expenses may have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations, and financial condition.

Under the terms of the amended and restated limited partnership agreement, Bumble Holdings is obligated to make tax distributions to holders of Common Units, including us, and Incentive Units at certain assumed tax rates. These tax distributions may in certain periods exceed our tax liabilities and obligations to make payments under the tax receivable agreement. Our board of directors, in its sole discretion, will make any determination from time to time with respect to the use of any such excess cash so accumulated, which may include, among other uses, funding repurchases of Class A common stock; acquiring additional newly issued Common Units from Bumble Holdings at a per unit price determined by reference to the market value of the Class A common stock; paying dividends, which may include special dividends, on its Class A common stock; or any combination of the foregoing. We will have no obligation to distribute such cash (or other available cash other than any declared dividend) to our stockholders. To the extent that we do not distribute such excess cash as dividends on our Class A common stock or otherwise undertake ameliorative actions between Common Units, Incentive Units and shares of Class A common stock and instead, for example, hold such cash balances, holders of our Common Units (other than Bumble Inc.) and Incentive Units may benefit from any value attributable to such cash balances as a result of their ownership of Class A common stock following a redemption or exchange of their Common Units, notwithstanding that such holders of our Common Units (other than Bumble Inc.) and Incentive Units may previously have participated as holders of Common Units and Incentive Units in distributions by Bumble Holdings that resulted in such excess cash balances at Bumble Inc. See “Item 13—Certain Relationships and Related Transactions, and Director Independence—Bumble Holdings Amended and Restated Limited Partnership Agreement.”

Payments of dividends, if any, will be at the discretion of our board of directors after taking into account various factors, including our business, operating results and financial condition, current and anticipated cash needs, plans for expansion and any legal or contractual limitations on our ability to pay dividends. Our existing Senior Secured Credit Facilities include, and any financing arrangement that we enter into in the future may include, restrictive covenants that limit our ability to pay dividends. In addition, Bumble Holdings is generally prohibited under Delaware law from making a distribution to a limited partner to the extent that, at the time of the distribution, after giving effect to the distribution, liabilities of Bumble Holdings (with certain exceptions) exceed the fair value of its assets. Subsidiaries of Bumble Holdings are generally subject to similar legal limitations on their ability to make distributions to Bumble Holdings.

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Bumble Inc. will be required to pay certain of our pre-IPO owners for most of the benefits relating to tax depreciation or amortization deductions that we may claim as a result of Bumble Inc.’s allocable share of existing tax basis acquired in the IPO, Bumble Inc.’s increase in its allocable share of existing tax basis and anticipated tax basis adjustments we receive in connection with sales or exchanges of Common Units (including Common Units issued upon conversion of vested Incentive Units) in connection with or after the IPO and our utilization of certain tax attributes of the Blocker Companies.

We entered into a tax receivable agreement with certain of our pre-IPO owners that provides for the payment by Bumble Inc. to such pre-IPO owners of 85% of the benefits, if any, that Bumble Inc. realizes, or is deemed to realize (calculated using certain assumptions), as a result of (i) Bumble Inc.’s allocable share of existing tax basis acquired in the IPO, (ii) increases in Bumble Inc.’s allocable share of existing tax basis and adjustments to the tax basis of the tangible and intangible assets of Bumble Holdings as a result of sales or exchanges of Common Units (including Common Units issued upon conversion of vested Incentive Units) for shares of Class A common stock in connection with or after the IPO and (iii) Bumble Inc.’s utilization of certain tax attributes of the Blocker Companies (including the Blocker Companies’ allocable share of existing tax basis), and (iv) certain other tax benefits related to entering into the tax receivable agreement, including tax benefits attributable to payments under the tax receivable agreement. The existing tax basis, increases in existing tax basis and tax basis adjustments generated over time may increase (for tax purposes) the depreciation and amortization deductions available to Bumble Inc. and, therefore, may reduce the amount of tax that Bumble Inc. would otherwise be required to pay in the future, although the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) may challenge all or part of the validity of that tax basis, and a court could sustain such a challenge. Actual tax benefits realized by Bumble Inc. may differ from tax benefits calculated under the tax receivable agreement as a result of the use of certain assumptions in the tax receivable agreement, including the use of an assumed weighted-average state and local income tax rate to calculate tax benefits.

The payment obligation under the tax receivable agreement is an obligation of Bumble Inc. and not of Bumble Holdings. While the amount of existing tax basis and anticipated tax basis adjustments and utilization of tax attributes, as well as the amount and timing of any payments under the tax receivable agreement, will vary depending upon a number of factors, we expect the payments that Bumble Inc. may make under the tax receivable agreement will be substantial. The actual amounts payable will depend upon, among other things, the timing of purchases or exchanges, the price of shares of our Class A common stock at the time of such purchases or exchanges, the extent to which such purchases or exchanges are taxable and the amount and timing of our taxable income. We estimate the amount of existing tax basis with respect to which our pre-IPO owners will be entitled to receive payments under the tax receivable agreement (assuming all Pre-IPO Common Unitholders exchanged their Common Units for shares of Class A common stock on the date of the initial public offering, and assuming all vested Incentive Units were converted to Common Units and subsequently exchanged for shares of Class A common stock at the initial public offering price of $43.00 per share of Class A common stock) is approximately $2,562.0 million, which includes Bumble Inc.’s allocable share of existing tax basis acquired in the IPO, which we have determined to be approximately $1,675.2 million. In determining Bumble Inc.’s allocable share of existing tax basis acquired in the IPO, we have given retrospective effect to certain exchanges of Common Units for Class A shares that will occur following the IPO that were contemplated to have occurred pursuant to the Blocker Restructuring. The payments under the tax receivable agreement are not conditioned upon continued ownership of us by the pre-IPO owners. See “Item 13―Certain Relationships and Related Transactions, and Director Independence—Tax Receivable Agreement.”

In certain cases, payments under the tax receivable agreement may be accelerated and/or significantly exceed the actual benefits Bumble Inc. realizes in respect of the tax attributes subject to the tax receivable agreement.

Bumble Inc.’s payment obligations under the tax receivable agreement will be accelerated in the event of certain changes of control, upon a breach by Bumble Inc. of a material obligation under the tax receivable agreement or if Bumble Inc. elects to terminate the tax receivable agreement early. The accelerated payments required in such circumstances will be calculated by reference to the present value (at a discount rate equal to the lesser of (i) 6.5% per annum and (ii) one year LIBOR (or its successor rate) plus 100 basis points) of all future payments that holders of Common Units or other recipients would have been entitled to receive under the tax receivable agreement, and such accelerated payments and any other future payments under the tax receivable agreement will utilize certain valuation assumptions, including that Bumble Inc. will have sufficient taxable income to fully utilize the deductions arising from the increased tax deductions and tax basis and other benefits related to entering into the tax receivable agreement and sufficient taxable income to fully utilize any remaining net operating losses subject to the tax receivable agreement on a straight line basis over the shorter of the statutory expiration period for such net operating losses or the five-year period after the early termination or change of control. In addition, recipients of payments under the tax receivable agreement will not reimburse us for any payments previously made under the tax receivable agreement if the tax attributes or Bumble Inc.’s utilization of tax attributes underlying the relevant tax receivable agreement payment are successfully challenged by the IRS (although any such detriment would be taken into account as an offset against future payments due to the relevant recipient under the tax receivable agreement). Bumble Inc.’s ability to achieve benefits from any existing tax basis, tax basis adjustments or other tax attributes, and the payments to be made under the tax receivable agreement, will depend upon a number of factors, including the timing and amount of our future income. As a result, even in the absence of a change of control or an election to terminate the tax receivable agreement early, payments under the tax receivable agreement could be in excess of 85% of Bumble Inc.’s actual cash tax benefits.

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Accordingly, it is possible that the actual cash tax benefits realized by Bumble Inc. may be significantly less than the corresponding tax receivable agreement payments. It is also possible that payments under the tax receivable agreement may be made years in advance of the actual realization, if any, of the anticipated future tax benefits. There may be a material negative effect on our liquidity if the payments under the tax receivable agreement exceed the actual cash tax benefits that Bumble Inc. realizes in respect of the tax attributes subject to the tax receivable agreement and/or if distributions to Bumble Inc. by Bumble Holdings are not sufficient to permit Bumble Inc. to make payments under the tax receivable agreement after it has paid taxes and other expenses. Based upon certain assumptions described in greater detail below under “Item 13―Certain Relationships and Related Transactions, and Director Independence—Tax Receivable Agreement,” we estimate that if Bumble Inc. had exercised its termination right immediately following the IPO, the aggregate amount of the early termination payments required under the tax receivable agreement would have been approximately $1,220.5 million. In determining this estimated early termination payment, we have given retrospective effect to certain exchanges of Common Units for Class A shares that will occur following the IPO that were contemplated to have occurred pursuant to the Blocker Restructuring. The foregoing number is merely an estimate and the actual payments could differ materially. We may need to incur additional indebtedness to finance payments under the tax receivable agreement to the extent our cash resources are insufficient to meet our obligations under the tax receivable agreement as a result of timing discrepancies or otherwise, and these obligations could have the effect of delaying, deferring or preventing certain mergers, asset sales, other forms of business combinations or other changes of control.

The acceleration of payments under the tax receivable agreement in the case of certain changes of control may impair our ability to consummate change of control transactions or negatively impact the value received by owners of our Class A common stock.

In the case of certain changes of control, payments under the tax receivable agreement will be accelerated and may significantly exceed the actual benefits Bumble Inc. realizes in respect of the tax attributes subject to the tax receivable agreement. We expect that the payments that we may make under the tax receivable agreement in the event of a change of control will be substantial. As a result, our accelerated payment obligations and/or the assumptions adopted under the tax receivable agreement in the case of a change of control may impair our ability to consummate change of control transactions or negatively impact the value received by owners of our Class A common stock in a change of control transaction.

Risks Related to Ownership of our Class A Common Stock

Our Principal Stockholders control us and their interests may conflict with ours or yours in the future.

As of the date of this Annual Report on Form 10-K, our Principal Stockholders beneficially own approximately 95% of the combined voting power of our Class A and Class B common stock. Moreover, we nominate to our board individuals designated by our Principal Stockholders in accordance with the stockholders agreement. Our Principal Stockholders have the right to designate directors subject to the maintenance of certain ownership requirements in us. See “Item 13―Certain Relationships and Related Transactions, and Director Independence—Stockholders Agreement.” Even when our Principal Stockholders cease to own shares of our stock representing a majority of the total voting power, for so long as our Principal Stockholders continue to own a significant percentage of our stock, they will still be able to significantly influence or effectively control the composition of our board of directors and the approval of actions requiring stockholder approval through their voting power. Accordingly, for such period of time, our Principal Stockholders will have significant influence with respect to our management, business plans and policies, including the appointment and removal of our officers. In particular, for so long as our Sponsor continues to own a significant percentage of our stock, our Sponsor will be able to cause or prevent a change of control of our company or a change in the composition of our board of directors and could preclude any unsolicited acquisition of our company. The concentration of ownership could deprive you of an opportunity to receive a premium for your shares of Class A common stock as part of a sale of our company and ultimately might affect the market price of our Class A common stock.

In addition, as of the date of this Annual Report on Form 10-K, the Pre-IPO Common Unitholders (which include our Sponsor and our Founder) own 38% of the Common Units. Because they hold their ownership interest in our business directly in Bumble Holdings, rather than through Bumble Inc., the Pre-IPO Common Unitholders may have conflicting interests with holders of shares of our Class A common stock. For example, if Bumble Holdings makes distributions to Bumble Inc., the Pre-IPO Common Unitholders and participating Incentive Unitholders (as described below) will also be entitled to receive such distributions pro rata in accordance with the percentages of their respective Common Units or Incentive Units, as applicable, in Bumble Holdings and their preferences as to the timing and amount of any such distributions may differ from those of our public stockholders. Incentive Units initially will not be entitled to receive distributions (other than tax distributions) until holders of Common Units have received a minimum return as provided in the amended and restated limited partnership agreement of Bumble Holdings. However, Incentive Units will have the benefit of adjustment provisions that will reduce the participation threshold for distributions in respect of which they do not participate until there is no participation threshold, at which time the Incentive Units would participate pro rata with distributions on Common Units. Our pre-IPO owners may also have different tax positions from us which could influence their decisions regarding whether and when to dispose of assets, especially in light of the tax receivable agreement, whether and when to incur new or refinance existing indebtedness, and whether and when Bumble Inc. should terminate the tax receivable agreement and accelerate its obligations thereunder. In addition, the structuring of future transactions may take into consideration our pre-IPO owners’ tax or other considerations even where no similar benefit would accrue to us. See “Item 13―Certain Relationships and Related Transactions, and Director Independence—Tax Receivable Agreement.”

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Our amended and restated certificate of incorporation does not limit the ability of our Principal Stockholders to compete with us and they may have investments in businesses whose interests conflict with ours.

Our Principal Stockholders and their respective affiliates engage in a broad spectrum of activities, including investments in businesses that may compete with us. In the ordinary course of their business activities, our Principal Stockholders and their respective affiliates may engage in activities where their interests conflict with our interests or those of our stockholders. Our amended and restated certificate of incorporation provides that none of our Principal Stockholders or any of their respective affiliates or any of our directors who are not employed by us (including any non-employee director who serves as one of our officers in both his or her director and officer capacities) or his or her affiliates will have any duty to refrain from engaging, directly or indirectly, in the same business activities or similar business activities or lines of business in which we operate. Our Principal Stockholders and their respective affiliates also may pursue acquisition opportunities that may be complementary to our business, and, as a result, those acquisition opportunities may not be available to us. In addition, our Principal Stockholders may have an interest in our pursuing acquisitions, divestitures and other transactions that, in their judgment, could enhance their investment, even though such transactions might involve risks to us and our stockholders.

We are a “controlled company” within the meaning of Nasdaq rules and, as a result, we qualify for exemptions from certain corporate governance requirements. If we rely on such exemptions in the future, you will not have the same protections afforded to stockholders of companies that are subject to such requirements.

Our Principal Stockholders are parties to a stockholders agreement described in “Item 13―Certain Relationships and Related Transactions, and Director Independence—Stockholders Agreement” and, as of the date of this Annual Report on Form 10-K, beneficially own approximately 95% of the combined voting power of our Class A and Class B common stock. As a result, we are a “controlled company” within the meaning of the Nasdaq corporate governance standards. Under these corporate governance standards, a company of which more than 50% of the voting power in the election of directors is held by an individual, group or another company is a “controlled company” and may elect not to comply with certain corporate governance requirements. For example, controlled companies:

 

are not required to have a board that is composed of a majority of “independent directors,” as defined under Nasdaq rules;

 

are not required to have a compensation committee that is composed entirely of independent directors; and

 

are not required to have director nominations be made, or recommended to the full board of directors, by its independent directors or by a nominations committee that is composed entirely of independent directors.

Although we do not currently rely on the exemptions from these corporate governance requirements, if we do rely on such exemptions in the future, you will not have the same protections afforded to stockholders of companies that are subject to all of the corporate governance requirements of Nasdaq.

We are an “emerging growth company,” and we cannot be certain if the reduced reporting requirements applicable to emerging growth companies will make our common stock less attractive to investors.

We are an “emerging growth company” as defined in the Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act (the “JOBS Act”). We will remain an “emerging growth company” until the earliest to occur of:

 

the last day of the fiscal year during which our total annual revenue equals or exceeds $1.07 billion (subject to adjustment for inflation);

 

December 31, 2026;

 

the date on which we have, during the previous three-year period, issued more than $1 billion in non-convertible debt; or

 

the date on which we are deemed to be a “large accelerated filer” under the Exchange Act.

We may take advantage of exemptions from various reporting requirements that are applicable to other public companies that are not emerging growth companies, including but not limited to, reduced disclosure obligations regarding executive compensation in our periodic reports and proxy statements and exemptions from the requirements of holding a nonbinding advisory vote on executive compensation and stockholder approval of any golden parachute payments not previously approved.

 In addition, the JOBS Act permits an emerging growth company like us to take advantage of an extended transition period to comply with new or revised accounting standards applicable to public companies. We have elected to use this extended transition period until we are no longer an emerging growth company or until we affirmatively and irrevocably opt out of the extended transition period. Accordingly, this election allows us to delay the adoption of new or revised accounting standards that have different effective dates for public and private companies. When a standard is issued or revised and it has different application dates for public or private companies, we, as an emerging growth company, will adopt the new or revised standard at the time private companies adopt the new or revised standard, unless early adoption is permitted by the standard. As a result, our consolidated financial statements may not be comparable to the financial statements of companies that comply with new or revised accounting pronouncements as of public company effective dates.

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Investors may find our Class A common stock less attractive because we may rely on these exemptions. If some investors find our common stock less attractive as a result, there may be a less active trading market for our Class A common stock and our per share trading price may be materially adversely affected and more volatile.

We will incur increased costs and have become subject to additional regulations and requirements as a result of becoming a public company, which could lower our profits, make it more difficult to run our business or divert management’s attention from our business.

As a public company, we are required to commit significant resources and management time and attention to the requirements of being a public company, which causes us to incur significant legal, accounting and other expenses that we had not incurred as a private company, including costs associated with public company reporting requirements. We also incur costs associated with the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 (the “Sarbanes- Oxley Act”) and related rules implemented by the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”) and Nasdaq, and compliance with these requirements place significant demands on our legal, accounting and finance staff and on our accounting, financial and information systems. In addition, we might not be successful in implementing these requirements. The expenses incurred by public companies generally for reporting and corporate governance purposes have been increasing. We expect these rules and regulations to increase our legal and financial compliance costs and to make some activities more time-consuming and costly, although we are currently unable to estimate these costs with any degree of certainty. These laws and regulations also could make it more difficult or costly for us to obtain certain types of insurance, including director and officer liability insurance, and we may be forced to accept reduced policy limits and coverage, higher retention, or incur substantially higher costs to obtain the same or similar coverage. These laws and regulations could also make it more difficult for us to attract and retain qualified persons to serve on our board of directors, our board committees or as our executive officers. Furthermore, if we are unable to satisfy our obligations as a public company, we could be subject to delisting of our Class A common stock, fines, sanctions and other regulatory action and potentially civil litigation.

We have identified a material weakness in our internal control over financial reporting. If our remediation of the material weakness is not effective, or we fail to develop and maintain effective internal control over financial reporting, our ability to produce timely and accurate financial statements or comply with applicable laws and regulations could be impaired.

Our management has determined that we have a material weakness in our internal control over financial reporting. A material weakness is a deficiency, or combination of deficiencies, in internal control over financial reporting such that there is a reasonable possibility that a material misstatement of our annual or interim consolidated financial statements will not be prevented or detected on a timely basis.

Specifically, the deficiency we identified relates to a lack of defined processes and controls over information technology.

These information technology control deficiencies, when aggregated, are a material weakness and could result in a material misstatement to our financial statements that may not be prevented or detected. Given we operated as a private company prior to the IPO, we did not have the necessary processes and controls formalized to effectively implement information technology controls within key financial systems.

We are taking the following actions to remediate this material weakness:

 

Broadening the scope of existing information technology general controls for user access and segregation of duties, change management, computer operations, and program development. We are also reviewing and strengthening policies related to each of these IT domains.

 

Engaged an external advisor to assist us with documenting our internal controls, gaps in internal controls, assisting with remediation, and monitoring remediation progress.

 

Delivering periodic training to our team members on internal controls over financial reporting.

 

Strengthening our compliance and accounting functions with additional experienced hires to assist in our risk assessment process and the design and implementation of controls responsive to those deficiencies.

We cannot assure you the measures we are taking to remediate the material weakness will be sufficient or that they will prevent future material weaknesses. Additional material weaknesses or failure to maintain effective internal control over financial reporting could cause us to fail to meet our reporting obligations as a public company and may result in a restatement of our financial statements for prior periods.

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Our independent registered public accounting firm is not required to formally attest to the effectiveness of our internal control over financial reporting until after we are no longer an “emerging growth company” as defined in the JOBS Act. At such time, our independent registered public accounting firm may issue a report that is adverse in the event it is not satisfied with the level at which our internal control over financial reporting is documented, designed, or operating. If we are not able to complete our initial assessment of our internal controls and otherwise implement the requirements of Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act in a timely manner or with adequate compliance, our independent registered public accounting firm may not be able to certify as to the adequacy of our internal controls over financial reporting. Any failure to implement and maintain effective internal control over financial reporting also could adversely affect the results of periodic management evaluations and annual independent registered public accounting firm attestation reports regarding the effectiveness of our internal control over financial reporting that we will eventually be required to include in our periodic reports that are filed with the SEC. Ineffective disclosure controls and procedures and internal control over financial reporting could also cause investors to lose confidence in our reported financial and other information, which would likely have a negative effect on the trading price of our Class A common stock. In addition, if we are unable to continue to meet these requirements, we may not be able to remain listed on Nasdaq.

 We cannot predict the impact our dual class structure may have on the market price of our Class A common stock.

We cannot predict whether our dual class structure will result in a lower or more volatile market price of our Class A common stock, in adverse publicity or other adverse consequences. Certain index providers have announced restrictions on including companies with multiple class share structures in certain of their indices. For example, S&P Dow Jones has stated that companies with multiple share classes will not be eligible for inclusion in the S&P Composite 1500 (composed of the S&P 500, S&P MidCap 400 and S&P SmallCap 600), although existing index constituents in July 2017 were grandfathered. Under the announced policies, our dual class capital structure would make us ineligible for inclusion in any of these indices. Given the sustained flow of investment funds into passive strategies that seek to track certain indices, exclusion from stock indices would likely preclude investment by many of these funds and could make our Class A common stock less attractive to other investors. As a result, the market price of our Class A common stock could be materially adversely affected.

The outsized voting rights of our Principal Stockholders have the effect of concentrating voting control with our Principal Stockholders, limit or preclude your ability to influence corporate matters and may have a potential adverse effect on the price of our Class A common stock.

In general, each share of our Class A common stock entitles its holder to one vote on all matters on which stockholders of Bumble Inc. are entitled to vote generally. Shares of Class B common stock have no economic rights but each share generally entitles each holder, without regard to the number of shares of Class B common stock held by such holder, to a number of votes that is equal to the aggregate number of Common Units held by such holder on all matters on which stockholders of Bumble Inc. are entitled to vote generally. Holders of shares of our Class B common stock vote together with holders of our Class A common stock as a single class on all matters on which stockholders are entitled to vote generally, except as otherwise required by law. Notwithstanding the foregoing, unless they elect otherwise, each of our Principal Stockholders is entitled to outsized voting rights as follows. Until the High Vote Termination Date, each share of Class A common stock held by a Principal Stockholder entitles such Principal Stockholder to ten votes and each Principal Stockholder that holds Class B common stock is entitled, without regard to the number of shares of Class B common stock held by such Principal Stockholder, to a number of votes equal to 10 times the aggregate number of Common Units (including Common Units issued upon conversion of vested Incentive Units) of Bumble Holdings held by such Principal Stockholder. In addition, if, at any time, our Founder is neither an employee nor a director, any Class A common stock or Class B common stock held by our Founder will be entitled to one vote per share (in the case of the Class A common stock) or a number of votes that is equal to the aggregate number of Common Units (including Common Units issued upon conversion of vested Incentive Units) of Bumble Holdings held by our Founder (in the case of the Class B common stock), in each case on all matters on which stockholders of Bumble Inc. are entitled to vote generally. The difference in voting rights subject us to numerous risks that could adversely affect the value of our Class A common stock by, for example, delaying or deferring a change of control or if investors view, or any potential future purchaser of our company views, the superior voting rights of our Principal Stockholders to have value. Because of the ten-to-one voting ratio between our Class A and Class B common stock held by our Principal Stockholders, on the one hand, and Class A and Class B common stock held by individuals other than our Principal Stockholders, on the other hand, the Principal Stockholders collectively control a majority of the combined voting power of our common stock and therefore are able to control all matters submitted to our shareholders. This concentrated control limits or precludes the ability of other holders of Class A common stock to influence corporate matters for the foreseeable future, which, in turn increases the risk of divergent views over strategy or business combination and an increased risk of conflict or litigation caused by such divergent views.

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In addition, any shares of Class A common stock or Common Units purchased or otherwise acquired by the Principal Stockholders after the IPO would also entitle the Principal Stockholders to outsized voting rights until the High Vote Termination Date. Consequently, the voting power of our Principal Stockholders, and the disparity between the voting power held by our Principal Stockholders and the level of their economic interest, would increase if they acquire additional shares of Class A common stock or Common Units following the IPO. Moreover, our Principal Stockholders would retain this disparate voting power even if they have engaged in hedging or other transactions that have offset their economic exposure. Further, our voting structure poses a risk that even if our Principal Stockholders hold relatively small economic interests, prior to the High Vote Termination Date they could potentially use their outsized voting control to approve further changes in governance to the detriment of non-controlling holders of Class A common stock, which could result in delisting under Nasdaq listing requirements, resulting in reduced liquidity and loss of value for investors.

Furthermore, certain stock market index providers have implemented restrictions on including companies with multiple class share structures in certain of their indices, which would preclude investment by certain investors and could make our Class A common stock less attractive to other investors. As a result, the market price of our Class A common stock could be adversely affected. See “—We cannot predict the impact our dual class structure may have on the market price of our Class A common stock.”

You may be diluted by the future issuance of additional Class A common stock or Common Units in connection with our incentive plans, acquisitions or otherwise.

As of February 26, 2021, we have 5,884,656,474 shares of Class A common stock authorized but unissued, including 69,269,941 shares of Class A common stock issuable upon exchange of Common Units that are held by the Pre-IPO Common Unitholders. Our certificate of incorporation authorizes us to issue these shares of Class A common stock and options, rights, warrants and appreciation rights relating to Class A common stock for the consideration and on the terms and conditions established by our board of directors in its sole discretion, whether in connection with acquisitions or otherwise. Similarly, the amended and restated limited partnership agreement of Bumble Holdings permits Bumble Holdings to issue an unlimited number of additional limited partnership interests of Bumble Holdings with designations, preferences, rights, powers and duties that are different from, and may be senior to, those applicable to the Common Units, and which may be exchangeable for shares of our Class A common stock. Additionally, we have reserved an aggregate of 45,674,762 shares of Class A common stock and Common Units for issuance under our Omnibus Incentive Plan, including shares of Class A common stock issuable following vesting and upon exchange for 11,095,500 as-converted Incentive Units held by the Incentive Unitholders with a weighted average participation threshold of $13.76 per unit. There are also 4,500,000 shares of Class A common stock reserved for issuance under our 2021 Employee Stock Purchase Plan (“ESPP”). In addition, as described further under “Item 13—Certain Relationships and Related Transactions, and Director Independence—Sponsor Acquisition—Loan to our Founder,” Beehive Holdings III, LP may be entitled to receive additional Common Units 30 days following the closing of our IPO related to the settlement of the loan to our Founder. Any Class A common stock that we issue, including under our Omnibus Incentive Plan, our ESPP or other equity incentive plans that we may adopt in the future, would dilute the percentage ownership held by investors who purchase Class A common stock.

 We may issue preferred stock whose terms could materially adversely affect the voting power or value of our Class A common stock.

Our amended and restated certificate of incorporation authorizes us to issue, without the approval of our stockholders, one or more classes or series of preferred stock having such designations, preferences, limitations and relative rights, including preferences over our Class A common stock respecting dividends and distributions, as our board of directors may determine. The terms of one or more classes or series of preferred stock could adversely impact the voting power or value of our Class A common stock. For example, we might grant holders of preferred stock the right to elect some number of our directors in all events or on the happening of specified events or the right to veto specified transactions. Similarly, the repurchase or redemption rights or liquidation preferences we might assign to holders of preferred stock could affect the residual value of the Class A common stock.

If we or our pre-IPO owners sell additional shares of our Class A common stock or are perceived by the public markets as intending to sell them, the market price of our Class A common stock could decline.

The sale of substantial amounts of shares of our Class A common stock in the public market, or the perception that such sales could occur, could harm the prevailing market price of shares of our Class A common stock. These sales, or the possibility that these sales may occur, also might make it more difficult for us to sell shares of our Class A common stock in the future at a time and at a price that we deem appropriate. As of February 26, 2021, we have a total of 115,343,526 shares of our Class A common stock outstanding. All of the shares of our Class A common stock that were sold in the IPO are freely tradable without restriction or further registration under the Securities Act, by persons other than our “affiliates,” as that term is defined under Rule 144 of the Securities Act.

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In addition, we and the holders of our Common Units have entered into an exchange agreement under which they (or certain permitted transferees) have the right to exchange their Common Units (including Common Units issued upon conversion of vested Incentive Units) for shares of our Class A common stock on a one-for-one basis, subject to customary conversion rate adjustments. Subject to the terms of the exchange agreement, an aggregate of 69,269,941 Common Units may be exchanged for shares of our Class A common stock. Any shares we issue upon exchange of Common Units will be “restricted securities” as defined in Rule 144 and may not be sold in the absence of registration under the Securities Act unless an exemption from registration is available, including the exemptions contained in Rule 144. Under applicable SEC guidance, we believe that for purposes of Rule 144 the holding period in such shares will generally include the holding period in the corresponding Common Units exchanged. We, our directors, executive officers and holders of substantially all of our outstanding Common Units immediately prior to the IPO, including our Principal Stockholders and our Co-Investor, have agreed, subject to certain exceptions, not to dispose of or hedge any shares of our Class A common stock (including shares issued upon exchange of Common Units) or securities convertible into or exchangeable for shares of our Class A common stock for 180 days from February 10, 2021, except with the IPO underwriters’ prior written consent. As a result of the registration rights agreement, however, all of these shares of our Class A common stock (including shares issued upon exchange of Common Units) may be eligible for future sale without restriction, subject to applicable lock-up arrangements. See “Item 13—Certain Relationships and Related Transactions, and Director Independence—Registration Rights Agreement.”

Subject to certain limitations and exceptions, pursuant to the terms of the amended and restated limited partnership agreement of Bumble Holdings, the Incentive Unitholders, which hold 11,095,500 Incentive Units as of February 10, 2021, which have a weighted-average per unit participation threshold of $13.76 per Incentive Unit, will have the right to convert their vested Incentive Units into Common Units of Bumble Holdings, as described in “Item 13—Certain Relationships and Related Transactions, and Director Independence—Bumble Holdings Amended and Restated Limited Partnership Agreement.” Common Units received upon conversion will be exchangeable on a one-for-one basis for shares of Class A common stock of Bumble Inc. in accordance with the terms of the exchange agreement. Assuming such Incentive Units are fully vested, as of February 10, 2021, 7,545,473 shares of Class A common stock would be issuable upon the exchange of an equivalent number of Common Units into which outstanding Incentive Units (assuming such Incentive Units are converted to Common Units) that are held by the Incentive Unitholders may be converted. The delivery of shares of Class A common stock upon exchange of Common Units received in conversion of Incentive Units will be registered on one or more registration statements on Form S-8.

Upon the expiration of the lock-up agreements described above, all of such shares will be eligible for resale in the public market, subject, in the case of shares held by our affiliates, to volume, manner of sale and other limitations under Rule 144. We expect that our Sponsor will continue to be considered an affiliate following the expiration of the lock-up period based on its expected share ownership and its board nomination rights. Certain other of our stockholders may also be considered affiliates at that time. However, subject to the expiration or waiver of the 180-day lock-up period, the holders of these shares of Class A common stock will have the right, subject to certain exceptions and conditions, to require us to register their shares of Class A common stock under the Securities Act, and they will have the right to participate in future registrations of securities by us. Registration of any of these outstanding shares of Class A common stock would result in such shares becoming freely tradable without compliance with Rule 144 upon effectiveness of the registration statement.

We have filed a registration statement on Form S-8 under the Securities Act to register shares of our Class A common stock or securities convertible into or exchangeable for shares of our Class A common stock issued pursuant to our Omnibus Incentive Plan and our ESPP. Accordingly, shares registered under such registration statements will be available for sale in the open market.

In the future, we may also issue our securities in connection with investments or acquisitions. The amount of shares of our Class A common stock issued in connection with an investment or acquisition could constitute a material portion of our then outstanding shares of Class A common stock. As restrictions on resale end, the market price of our shares of common stock could drop significantly if the holders of these restricted shares sell them or are perceived by the market as intending to sell them. These factors could also make it more difficult for us to raise additional funds through future offerings of our Class A common stock or other securities or to use our Class A common stock as consideration for acquisitions of other businesses, investments or other corporate purposes.

Anti-takeover provisions in our organizational documents and Delaware law might discourage or delay acquisition attempts for us that you might consider favorable.

Our amended and restated certificate of incorporation and amended and restated bylaws contain provisions that may make the merger or acquisition of our company more difficult without the approval of our board of directors. Among other things, these provisions:

 

provide that our board of directors will be divided into three classes, as nearly equal in size as possible, which directors in each class serving three-year terms and with terms of the directors of only one class expiring in any given year;

 

provide for the removal of directors only for cause and only upon the affirmative vote of the holders of at least 6623% in voting power of the outstanding shares of our capital stock entitled to vote, if our Principal Stockholders and our Co-Investor beneficially own less than 30% of the total voting power of all then outstanding shares of our capital stock entitled to vote generally in the election of directors and provide that specified directors designated pursuant to the stockholders agreement may not be removed without cause without the consent of the specified designating party;

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provide that subject to the rights of the holders of any preferred stock and the rights granted pursuant to the stockholders agreement, vacancies and newly created directorships may be filled only by the remaining directors at any time the Principal Stockholders and our Co-Investor beneficially own less than 30% of the total voting power of all then outstanding shares of our capital stock entitled to vote generally in the election of directors;

 

would allow us to authorize the issuance of shares of one or more series of preferred stock, including in connection with a stockholder rights plan, financing transactions or otherwise, the terms of which series may be established and the shares of which may be issued without stockholder approval, and which may include super voting, special approval, dividend, or other rights or preferences superior to the rights of the holders of common stock;

 

prohibit stockholder action by written consent from and after the date on which our Principal Stockholders and our Co-Investor beneficially own at least 30% of the total voting power of all then outstanding shares of our capital stock entitled to vote generally in the election of directors unless such action is recommended by all directors then in office;

 

provide for certain limitations on convening special stockholder meetings;

 

provide that the board of directors is expressly authorized to make, alter, or repeal our bylaws and that our stockholders may only amend our bylaws with the approval of 6623% or more of all of the outstanding shares of our capital stock entitled to vote, if our Principal Stockholders and our Co-Investor beneficially own less than 30% of the total voting power of all then outstanding shares of our capital stock entitled to vote generally in the election of directors;

 

provide that certain provisions of our amended and restated certificate of incorporation may be amended only by the affirmative vote of the holders of at least 6623% in voting power of the outstanding shares of our capital stock entitled to vote, if our Principal Stockholders and our Co-Investor beneficially own less than 30% of the total voting power of all then outstanding shares of our capital stock entitled to vote generally in the election of directors; and

 

establish advance notice requirements for nominations for elections to our board or for proposing matters that can be acted upon by stockholders at stockholder meetings.

Further, as a Delaware corporation, we are also subject to provisions of Delaware law, which may impede or discourage a takeover attempt that our stockholders may find beneficial. These anti-takeover provisions and other provisions under Delaware law could discourage, delay or prevent a transaction involving a change in control of our company, including actions that our stockholders may deem advantageous, or negatively affect the trading price of our Class A common stock. These provisions could also discourage proxy contests and make it more difficult for you and other stockholders to elect directors of your choosing and to cause us to take other corporate actions you desire.

 Our amended and restated certificate of incorporation designates the Court of Chancery of the State of Delaware or the federal district courts of the United States of America, as applicable, as the sole and exclusive forum for certain types of actions and proceedings that may be initiated by our stockholders, which could limit our stockholders’ ability to obtain a favorable judicial forum for disputes with the Company or the Company’s directors, officers or other employees.

Our amended and restated certificate of incorporation provides that, unless we consent to the selection of an alternative forum, the Court of Chancery of the State of Delaware will, to the fullest extent permitted by law, be the sole and exclusive forum for: (i) any derivative action or proceeding brought on our behalf; (ii) any action asserting a breach of fiduciary duty owed by any current or former director, officer, stockholder or employee of the Company to the Company or our stockholders; (iii) any action asserting a claim against us arising under the Delaware General Corporation Law (the “DGCL”), our certificate of incorporation or our bylaws or as to which the DGCL confers jurisdiction on the Court of Chancery of the State of Delaware; or (iv) any action asserting a claim against us that is governed by the internal affairs doctrine.

Our amended and restated certificate of incorporation further provides that, unless we consent in writing to the selection of an alternative forum, to the fullest extent permitted by law, the federal district courts of the United States of America will be the exclusive forum for the resolution of any complaint asserting a cause of action arising under the federal securities laws of the United States, including, in each case, the applicable rules and regulations promulgated thereunder.

Any person or entity purchasing or otherwise acquiring any interest in any shares of our capital stock shall be deemed to have notice of and to have consented to the forum provision in our amended and restated certificate of incorporation. This choice-of-forum provision may limit a stockholder’s ability to bring a claim in a different judicial forum, including one that it may find favorable or convenient for a specified class of disputes with the Company or the Company’s directors, officers, other stockholders or employees, which may discourage such lawsuits. Alternatively, if a court were to find this provision of our amended and restated certificate of incorporation inapplicable or unenforceable with respect to one or more of the specified types of actions or proceedings, we may incur additional costs associated with resolving such matters in other jurisdictions, which could materially adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations and result in a diversion of the time and resources of our management and board of directors.

43


 

General Risk Factors

We have a limited operating history and, as a result, our past results may not be indicative of future operating performance.

We have a limited operating history, which makes it difficult to forecast our future results. You should not rely on our past quarterly operating results as indicators of future performance. You should take into account and evaluate our prospects in light of the risks and uncertainties frequently encountered by companies in rapidly-evolving markets like ours.

Our quarterly operating results and other operating metrics may fluctuate from quarter to quarter, which makes these metrics difficult to predict.

Our quarterly operating results and other operating metrics have fluctuated in the past and may continue to fluctuate from quarter to quarter, which makes them difficult to predict. Our financial condition and operating results in any given quarter can be influenced by numerous factors, many of which we are unable to predict or are outside of our control, including, for example:

 

the timing, size and effectiveness of our marketing efforts;

 

the timing and success of new product, service and feature introductions by us or our competitors or any other change in the competitive landscape of our market;

 

 

fluctuations in the rate at which we attract new users, the level of engagement of such users and the propensity of such users to subscribe to our brands or to purchase à la carte features;

 

successful expansion into international markets;

 

errors in our forecasting of the demand for our products and services, which could lead to lower revenue or increased costs, or both;

 

increases in sales and marketing, product development or other operating expenses that we may incur to grow and expand our operations and to remain competitive;

 

the diversification and growth of our revenue sources;

 

our ability to maintain gross margins and operating margins;

 

fluctuations in currency exchange rates and changes in the proportion of our revenue and expenses denominated in foreign currencies;

 

changes in our effective tax rate;

 

changes in accounting standards, policies, guidance, interpretations, or principles;

 

our development and improvement of the quality of the Bumble and Badoo app experiences, including, enhancing existing and creating new products, services, technology and features;

 

the continued development and upgrading of our technology platform;

 

system failures or breaches of security or privacy;

 

our ability to obtain, maintain, protect and enforce intellectual property rights and successfully defend against claims of infringement, misappropriation or other violations of third-party intellectual property;

 

adverse litigation judgments, settlements, or other litigation-related costs;

 

changes in the legislative or regulatory environment, including with respect to privacy, intellectual property, consumer product safety, and advertising, or enforcement by government regulators, including fines, orders, or consent decrees; and

 

changes in business or macroeconomic conditions, including the impact of the current COVID-19 outbreak, lower consumer confidence in our business or in the online dating industry generally, recessionary conditions, increased unemployment rates, stagnant or declining wages, political unrest, armed conflicts or natural disasters.

Any one of the factors above or the cumulative effect of some of the factors above may result in significant fluctuations in our results of operations.

The variability and unpredictability of our quarterly operating results or other operating metrics could result in our failure to meet our expectations or those of analysts that cover us or investors with respect to revenue or other operating results for a particular period. If we fail to meet or exceed such expectations, the market price of our Class A common stock could fall substantially, and we could face costly lawsuits, including securities class action suits.

44


 

Our business and results of operations may be materially adversely affected by the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak or other similar outbreaks.

Our business could be materially adversely affected by the outbreak of a widespread health epidemic or pandemic, including the outbreak of the COVID-19, which was declared a “pandemic” by the World Health Organization. The COVID-19 outbreak has reached across the globe, resulting in the implementation of significant governmental measures, including lockdowns, closures, quarantines, and travel bans intended to control the spread of the virus. While some of these measures have been relaxed in certain parts of the world, ongoing social distancing measures, and future prevention and mitigation measures, as well as the potential for some of these measures to be reinstituted in the event of repeat waves or mutations of the virus, are likely to have an adverse impact on global economic conditions and consumer confidence and spending, and could materially adversely affect demand, or users’ ability to pay, for our products and services.

A public health epidemic or pandemic, including COVID-19, poses the risk that Bumble or its employees, contractors, vendors, and other business partners may be prevented or impaired from conducting ordinary course business activities for an indefinite period of time, including due to shutdowns necessitated for the health and wellbeing of our employees, the employees of business partners, or shutdowns that may be requested or mandated by governmental authorities. In addition, in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, we have taken several precautions that may adversely impact employee productivity, such as requiring employees to work remotely, imposing travel restrictions, and temporarily closing office locations.

A widespread epidemic, pandemic or other health crisis could also cause significant volatility in global markets. The COVID-19 outbreak has caused disruption in financial markets, which if it continues or intensifies, could reduce our ability to access capital and thereby negatively impact our liquidity.

We intend to continue to execute on our strategic plans and operational initiatives during the COVID-19 outbreak; however, the aforementioned uncertainties may result in delays or modifications to these plans and initiatives. Part of our growth strategy includes increasing the number of international users and expanding into additional geographies. The timing and success of our international expansion may be negatively impacted by COVID-19, which could impede our anticipated growth.

The ultimate extent of the impact of any epidemic, pandemic, or other health crisis on our business will depend on multiple factors that are highly uncertain and cannot be predicted, including its severity, location and duration, and actions taken to contain or prevent further its spread. Additionally, the COVID-19 outbreak could increase the magnitude of many of the other risks described in this Annual Report on Form 10-K, and may have other material adverse effects on our operations that we are not currently able to predict. If our business and the markets in which we operate experience a prolonged occurrence of adverse public health conditions, such as COVID-19, it could materially adversely affect our business, financial condition, and results of operations.

If securities or industry analysts do not publish research or reports about our business, or if they downgrade their recommendations regarding our Class A common stock, our stock price and trading volume could decline.

The trading market for our Class A common stock is and will be influenced by the research and reports that industry or securities analysts publish about us or our business. If any of the analysts who cover us downgrade our Class A common stock or publish inaccurate or unfavorable research about our business, our Class A common stock price may decline. If analysts cease coverage of us or fail to regularly publish reports on us, we could lose visibility in the financial markets, which in turn could cause our Class A common stock price or trading volume to decline and our Class A common stock to be less liquid.

The market price of shares of our Class A common stock may be volatile or may decline regardless of our operating performance, which could cause the value of your investment to decline.

The market price of our Class A common stock may be highly volatile and could be subject to wide fluctuations. Securities markets worldwide experience significant price and volume fluctuations. This market volatility, as well as general economic, market or political conditions, could reduce the market price of shares of our Class A common stock regardless of our operating performance. In addition, our operating results could be below the expectations of public market analysts and investors due to a number of potential factors, including variations in our quarterly operating results or dividends, if any, to stockholders, additions or departures of key management personnel, failure to meet analysts’ earnings estimates, publication of research reports about our industry, litigation and government investigations, changes or proposed changes in laws or regulations or differing interpretations or enforcement thereof affecting our business, adverse market reaction to any indebtedness we may incur or securities we may issue in the future, changes in market valuations of similar companies or speculation in the press or investment community, announcements by our competitors of significant contracts, acquisitions, dispositions, strategic partnerships, joint ventures or capital commitments, adverse publicity about the industries we participate in or individual scandals, and in response the market price of shares of our Class A common stock could decrease significantly.

45


 

Stock markets and the price of our Class A shares may experience extreme price and volume fluctuations. In the past, following periods of volatility in the overall market and the market price of a company’s securities, securities class action litigation has often been instituted against these companies. This litigation, if instituted against us, could result in substantial costs and a diversion of our management’s attention and resources.

An economic downturn or economic uncertainty may adversely affect consumer discretionary spending and demand for our products and services.

Our products and services may be considered discretionary items for consumers. Factors affecting the level of consumer spending for such discretionary items include general economic conditions, and other factors, such as consumer confidence in future economic conditions, fears of recession, the availability and cost of consumer credit, levels of unemployment, and tax rates. In recent years, the United States and other significant economic markets have experienced cyclical downturns and worldwide economic conditions remain uncertain. As global economic conditions continue to be volatile or economic uncertainty remains, including due to the COVID-19 outbreak, trends in consumer discretionary spending also remain unpredictable and subject to reductions. To date, our business has operated almost exclusively in a relatively strong economic environment and, therefore, we cannot be sure the extent to which we may be affected by recessionary conditions. Unfavorable economic conditions may lead consumers to delay or reduce purchases of our products and consumer demand for our products may not grow as we expect. Our sensitivity to economic cycles and any related fluctuation in consumer demand for our products and services could materially adversely affect our business, financial condition, and results of operations. In addition, political instability or adverse political developments could harm our business, financial condition and results of operations.

 Foreign currency exchange rate fluctuations could materially adversely affect our results of operations.

We operate in various international markets. During the period from January 29, 2020 to December 31, 2020, 44.3% of our total revenues were international revenues. We translate international revenues into U.S. dollar-denominated operating results and during periods of a strengthening U.S. dollar, our international revenues will be reduced when translated into U.S. dollars. In addition, as foreign currency exchange rates fluctuate, the translation of our international revenues into U.S. dollar-denominated operating results affects the period-over-period comparability of such results and can result in foreign currency exchange gains and losses. We have exposure to foreign currency exchange risk related to transactions carried out in a currency other than the U.S. dollar, and investments in foreign subsidiaries with a functional currency other than the U.S. dollar. See “Item 7―Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations—Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures About Market Risk—Foreign Currency Exchange Risk.”

Brexit has caused, and may continue to cause, volatility in currency exchange rates between the U.S. dollar and the British pound (“GBP”) and the full impact of Brexit remains uncertain. To the extent that the U.S. dollar strengthens relative the GBP, the translation of our international revenues into U.S. dollars will reduce our U.S. dollar denominated operating results and will affect their period-over-period comparability.

Significant foreign exchange rate fluctuations, in the case of one currency or collectively with other currencies, could materially adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.

We may experience operational and financial risks in connection with acquisitions.

We may seek potential acquisition candidates to add complementary companies, products or technologies. The identification of suitable acquisition candidates can be difficult, time-consuming and costly, and we may not be able to successfully complete identified acquisitions. We may experience operational and financial risks in connection with historical and future acquisitions if we are unable to:

 

properly value prospective acquisitions, especially those with limited operating histories;

 

accurately review acquisition candidates’ business practices against applicable laws and regulations and, where applicable, implement proper remediation controls, procedures, and policies;

 

successfully integrate the operations, as well as the accounting, financial controls, management information, technology, human resources and other administrative systems, of acquired businesses with our existing operations and systems;

 

overcome cultural challenges associated with integrating employees from the acquired company into our organization;

 

successfully identify and realize potential synergies among acquired and existing businesses;

 

fully identify potential risks and liabilities associated with acquired businesses, including intellectual property infringement claims, violations of laws, commercial disputes, tax liabilities, litigation or other claims in connection with the acquired company, including claims from terminated employees, former stockholders or other third parties, and other known and unknown liabilities;

46


 

 

retain or hire senior management and other key personnel at acquired businesses; and

 

successfully manage acquisition-related strain on our management, operations and financial resources and those of the various brands in our portfolio.

 Furthermore, we may not be successful in addressing other challenges encountered in connection with our acquisitions. The anticipated benefits of one or more of our acquisitions may not be realized or the value of goodwill and other intangible assets acquired could be impacted by one or more continuing unfavorable events or trends, which could result in significant impairment charges. The occurrence of any of these events could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

Additionally, the integration of acquisitions requires significant time and resources, and we may not manage these processes successfully. Our ability to successfully integrate complex acquisitions is unproven, particularly with respect to companies that have significant operations or that develop products with which we do not have prior experience. We may make substantial investments of resources to support our acquisitions, which would result in significant ongoing operating expenses and may divert resources and management attention from other areas of our business. We cannot assure you that these investments will be successful. If we fail to successfully integrate the companies we acquire, we may not realize the benefits expected from the transactions and our business may be harmed.

Item 1B. Unresolved Staff Comments

None.

Item 2. Properties

Our corporate headquarters is located in leased office space in Austin, Texas and consists of approximately 10,000 square feet spread out across various properties. In addition, we have material properties located outside of the United States, including leased office spaces in London and Moscow and a data center in Prague.

We also lease a number of operations, data centers and other facilities in several states and in international locations. We believe that our facilities are generally adequate for our current anticipated and future use, although we may from time to time lease additional facilities or vacate existing facilities as our operations require.

Item 3. Legal Proceedings

We are subject to various legal proceedings, claims, and governmental inspections, audits or investigations arising out of our business which cover matters such as general commercial, governmental regulations, product liability, environmental, intellectual property, employment and other actions that are incidental to our business, including a number of trademark proceedings, both offensive and defensive, regarding the BUMBLE mark. Although the outcomes of these claims cannot be predicted with certainty, in the opinion of management, the ultimate resolution of these matters will not have a material adverse effect on our financial position or results of operations.

On April 30, 2018, Match Group, Inc. filed a lawsuit in the Western District of Texas against Bumble Trading Inc. and Bumble Holding Limited for patent and trademark infringement, as well as trade secret misappropriation. In June 2020, we reached an agreement with Match Group, Inc. to settle such lawsuit.

On May 29, 2018, a plaintiff filed a class action complaint against Bumble Trading Inc. in the Superior Court of the State of California alleging that Bumble’s “women message first” feature discriminates against men and is therefore unlawful under California’s Unruh Civil Rights Act and Cal. Bus & Prof. Code Section 17200. The parties held a mediation on June 23, 2020 and signed a settlement agreement on November 20, 2020, subject to preliminary approval by the court.

On November 13, 2018, a class action lawsuit was filed against Bumble Trading Inc. in the Northern District of California. There are two elements to the lawsuit: New York Dating Services Law and California Auto-Renewal Law. The parties held a mediation on April 2, 2020 ultimately resulting in the plaintiffs and Bumble accepting the mediator’s settlement proposal. The settlement received preliminary approval by the court on July 15, 2020, and final approval was granted on December 18, 2020. The settlement became fully effective as of January 18, 2021. On August 26, 2020, the Company received an insurance reimbursement of $9.3 million related to the class action lawsuit, which has been recognized in the financial statements for the period from January 29, 2020 to December 31, 2020.

At December 31, 2020, management has assessed that provisions of $55.1 million are our best estimate of any probable future obligation, including legal costs incurred to date and expected to be incurred up to completion, for the ongoing litigations. For additional information, refer to Note 17, Commitments and Contingencies, within the audited consolidated financial statements included in “Item 8―Financial Statements and Supplementary Data” in this Annual Report on Form 10-K.

47


 

Item 4. Mine Safety Disclosures

Not applicable.

48


 

PART II

Item 5. Market for Registrant’s Common Equity, Related Stockholder Matters and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities

Market Information

Our Class A common stock began trading on the Nasdaq Global Select Market under the symbol "BMBL" on February 11, 2021. Prior to that date, there was no public trading market for our Class A common stock.

There is no established public trading market for our Class B common stock.

Holders of Record

As of February 26, 2021, there were 101 registered holders of our Class A common stock and 21 registered holders of our Class B common stock. Because many of our shares of Class A common stock are held by brokers and other institutions on behalf of stockholders, we are unable to estimate the total number of stockholders represented by these record holders.

Dividend Policy

The declaration, amount and payment of any future dividends on shares of our capital stock will be at the sole discretion of our board of directors and we may reduce or discontinue entirely the payment of such dividends at any time. Our board of directors may take into account general and economic conditions, our financial condition and operating results, our available cash and current and anticipated cash needs, capital requirements, contractual, legal, tax and regulatory restrictions and implications on the payment of dividends by us to our stockholders or by our subsidiaries to us, and such other factors as our board of directors may deem relevant.  

Recent Sales of Unregistered Securities

On October 5, 2020, Bumble Inc. issued 100 shares of its Class B common stock, par value $0.01 per share, to Buzz Holdings L.P., a Delaware limited partnership, for $1.00. The issuance of such shares of Class B common stock was not registered under the Securities Act, because the shares were offered and sold in a transaction by the issuer not involving any public offering exempt from registration under Section 4(a)(2) of the Securities Act.

Use of Proceeds

On February 16, 2021, we completed our initial public offering of our Class A common stock in which we issued and sold 57.5 million shares of Class A common stock (including shares issued pursuant to the exercise in full of the underwriters’ option to purchase additional shares). The shares sold in the offering were registered under the Securities Act pursuant to our Registration Statement on Form S-1 (File No. 333-252124) which was declared effective by the SEC on February 10, 2021. Our shares of Class A common stock were sold at an initial offering price of $43.00 per share, which generated net proceeds of approximately $2,361.2 million after deducting underwriting discounts and commissions of $111.3 million. We estimated that we incurred offering expenses of approximately $21.3 million. The Company used the proceeds (net of underwriting discounts) from the issuance of 9.0 million shares ($369.6 million) in the IPO to purchase an equivalent number of newly issued Common Units from Bumble Holdings, which Bumble Holdings in turn will use to repay outstanding indebtedness under our Term Loan Facility totaling approximately $200.0 million in aggregate principal amount and approximately $148.3 million for general corporate purposes, and to bear all of the expenses of the IPO. We used the proceeds from the issuance of 48.5 million shares ($1,991.6 million) in the IPO (including shares issued pursuant to the exercise in full of the underwriters’ option to purchase additional shares) to purchase or redeem an equivalent aggregate number of shares of Class A common stock and Common Units from certain entities affiliated with The Blackstone Group Inc.

Goldman Sachs & Co. LLC and Citigroup Global Markets Inc. acted as joint lead book-running managers and as representatives of the underwriters for the offering. Morgan Stanley & Co. LLC and J.P. Morgan Securities LLC acted as joint book-running managers for the offering. Jefferies LLC, RBC Capital Markets, LLC and Evercore Group L.L.C. acted as joint book-runners for the offering. Blackstone Securities Partners L.P., BMO Capital Markets Corp., Cowen and Company, LLC, Raymond James & Associates, Inc., Stifel, Nicolaus & Company, Incorporated, BTIG, LLC, Nomura Securities International, Inc., SMBC Nikko Securities America, Inc., AmeriVet Securities, Inc., C.L. King & Associates, Inc., Drexel Hamilton, LLC, Loop Capital Markets LLC, R. Seelaus & Co., LLC, Samuel A. Ramirez & Co., LLC, Siebert Williams Shank & Co., LLC and Telsey Advisory Group LLC acted as co-managers for the offering.

Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities

None.

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Item 6. Selected Financial Data

The selected financial data set forth in the table below for the period from January 29, 2020 to December 31, 2020, for the period from January 1, 2020 to January 28, 2020 and for the years ended December 31, 2019 and December 31, 2018 were derived from our consolidated financial statements. This selected financial data should be read in conjunction with the consolidated financial statements and accompanying notes, appearing elsewhere in this Annual Report on Form 10-K.

 

 

 

Successor

 

 

 

Predecessor

 

(in thousands, except percentages and per unit data)

 

Period from

January 29,

through

December 31,

2020

 

 

 

Period from

January 1,

through

January 28,

2020

 

 

Year Ended

December 31,

2019

 

 

Year Ended

December 31,

2018

 

Consolidated Statements of Operations Data:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Revenue

 

$

542,192

 

 

 

$

39,990

 

 

$

488,940

 

 

$

360,105

 

Net (loss) earnings

 

 

(110,186

)

 

 

 

(32,556

)

 

 

85,844

 

 

 

(23,669

)

Net (loss) earnings attributable to Buzz Holdings L.P. owners / Worldwide Vision Limited shareholders

 

 

(110,994

)

 

 

 

(34,473

)

 

 

66,146

 

 

 

(21,519

)

Net loss per unit attributable to Buzz Holdings L.P. owners

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Basic loss per unit

 

$

(0.05

)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Diluted loss per unit

 

$

(0.05

)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Other Data(1):

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Adjusted EBITDA

 

$

143,071

 

 

 

$

9,371

 

 

$

101,834

 

 

$

65,766

 

Adjusted EBITDA Margin

 

 

26.4

%

 

 

 

23.4

%

 

 

20.8

%

 

 

18.3

%

Free Cash Flow

 

$

45,629

 

 

 

$

(4,351

)

 

$

91,718

 

 

$

63,719

 

Free Cash Flow Conversion

 

 

31.9

%

 

 

 

(46.4

)%

 

 

90.1

%

 

 

96.9

%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

December 31,

2020

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

December 31,

2019

 

 

December 31,

2018

 

Consolidated Balance Sheets Data:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Total assets

 

$

3,637,268

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

$

210,298

 

 

$

116,729

 

Cash and cash equivalents

 

 

128,029

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

57,449

 

 

 

33,289

 

Long-term debt, net including current maturities

 

 

826,214

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(1)

See “Item 7―Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations―Non-GAAP Financial Measures” for more information and for reconciliations of our most directly comparable financial measures calculated and presented in accordance with GAAP, to non-GAAP measures.

50


 

Item 7. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations

You should read the following discussion and analysis of the financial condition and results of operations of Buzz Holdings L.P. (“Bumble Holdings” or the “Successor”) and Worldwide Vision Limited (the “Predecessor”), the accounting predecessor of Buzz Holdings L.P., in conjunction with our consolidated financial statements and the related notes included in Part II, “Item 8Financial Statements and Supplementary Data" of this Annual Report on Form 10-K. This discussion contains forward-looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties about our business and operations. Our actual results could differ materially from those discussed in the forward-looking statements. Factors that could cause or contribute to these differences include without limitation those discussed in this Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations and those identified in Part I, “Item 1ARisk Factors."

Overview

Today, Bumble operates two apps, Bumble and Badoo. We are a leader in the fast-growing online dating space, which has become increasingly popular over the last decade. We launched the Bumble app in 2014 to address antiquated gender norms and a lack of kindness and accountability on the internet. By placing women at the center – where women make the first move – we are building a platform that is designed to be safe and empowering for women, and in turn, provide a better environment for everyone. The Badoo app, launched in 2006, was one of the pioneers of web and mobile free-to-use dating products. Badoo’s mantra of “Date Honestly” extends our focus on building meaningful connections to everyone.

How We Generate Revenue

We monetize both the Bumble and Badoo apps via a freemium model where the use of our service is free and a subset of our users pay for subscriptions or in-app purchases to access premium features. These features maximize the probability of developing meaningful connections, improving their experience and saving them valuable time.

On the Bumble app, our subscription offerings are called Bumble Boost and Bumble Premium. These subscription plan offerings currently include 1-day, 7-day, 1-month, 3-month, 6-month, or lifetime packages. Bumble users, both subscribers and non-subscribing users, can also access additional features through in-app purchases. On the Badoo app, our subscription offering is called Badoo Premium. Badoo Premium subscription plan offerings currently include 1-day, 7-day, 1-month, 3-month, 6-month, or lifetime packages. In addition, Badoo users, both subscribers and non-subscribing users, can also purchase Badoo Credits which they can use to acquire in-app features such as one-off popularity boosts. We also selectively monetize through video and banner advertising.

Overview of Financial Results

For the period from January 29, 2020 to December 31, 2020, the period from January 1, 2020 to January 28, 2020 and the year ended December 31, 2019, we generated:

 

Total Revenue of $542.2 million, $40.0 million and $488.9 million, respectively;

 

Bumble App Revenue of $337.2 million, $23.3 million and $275.5 million, respectively;

 

Badoo App and Other Revenue of $205.0 million, $16.7 million and $213.4 million, respectively;

 

Net (Loss) Earnings of $(110.2) million, $(32.6) million and $85.8 million, respectively, representing Net (Loss) Earnings Margins of (20.3)%, (81.4)% and 17.6% respectively;

 

Adjusted EBITDA of $143.1 million, $9.4 million and $101.8 million respectively, representing Adjusted EBITDA Margins of 26.4%, 23.4% and 20.8%, respectively;

 

Net cash provided by (used in) operating activities of $56.3 million, $(3.3) million and $101.4 million, respectively, and Operating Cash Flow Conversion of (51.1%), 10.2% and 118.1%, respectively; and

 

Free Cash Flow of $45.6 million, $(4.4) million and $91.7 million, respectively, representing Free Cash Flow Conversion of 31.9%, (46.4)% and 90.1%, respectively

51


 

Key Operating Metrics

We regularly review a number of metrics, including the following key operating metrics, to evaluate our business, measure our performance, identify trends in our business, prepare financial projections and make strategic decisions. We believe these operational measures are useful in evaluating our performance, in addition to our financial results prepared in accordance with GAAP. Refer to the section “Certain Definitions” at the beginning of this Annual Report for the definitions of our Key Operating Metrics.

 

(in thousands, except ARPPU)

 

Year Ended

December 31,

2020

 

 

Year Ended

December 31,

2019

 

 

Year Ended

December 31,

2018

 

Key Operating Metrics

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bumble App Paying Users

 

 

1,142.1

 

 

 

855.6

 

 

 

574.1

 

Badoo App and Other Paying Users

 

 

1,363.4

 

 

 

1,195.0

 

 

 

1,319.0

 

Total Paying Users

 

 

2,505.5

 

 

 

2,050.6

 

 

 

1,893.1

 

Bumble App Average Revenue per Paying User

 

$

26.30

 

 

$

26.84

 

 

$

23.57

 

Badoo App and Other Average Revenue per Paying User

 

$

12.69

 

 

$

13.77

 

 

$

11.80

 

Total Average Revenue per Paying User

 

$

18.89

 

 

$

19.22

 

 

$

15.37

 

Key Factors Affecting our Performance

Our results of operations and financial condition have been, and will continue to be, affected by a number of factors that present significant opportunities for us but also pose risks and challenges, including those discussed below and elsewhere in this Annual Report on Form 10-K, particularly in Part I, “Item 1A—Risk Factors”.

Growth in Users

We acquire new users through investments in marketing and brand as well as through word of mouth from existing users and others. We convert these users to Paying Users by introducing premium features which maximize the probability of developing meaningful connections and improving their experience.

As we scale and our community grows larger, we are able to facilitate more meaningful connections as a result of the wider selection of potential matches. This in turn increases our brand awareness and increases conversion to one of our premium products.

Our revenue growth primarily depends on Paying Users. While we believe we are in the early days of our opportunity, at some point we may face challenges increasing our Paying Users, including competition from alternative products and a lack of appealing product features. We may also at some point find that growth in Paying Users slows due to saturation of the online dating market.

Expansion into New Geographic Markets

We are focused on growing our platform globally, including through entering new markets and investing in under-penetrated markets. As we introduce the Bumble app to new markets throughout Europe, Asia, and Latin America we can leverage the local insights, scale, and infrastructure of Badoo’s existing global footprint to efficiently enter new markets. The Badoo app can also leverage Bumble’s marketing expertise and strength in North America to support growth in that market.

Expanding into new geographies will require increased costs related to marketing, as well as localization of product features and services. Potential risks to our expansion into new geographies will include competition and compliance with foreign laws and regulations.

As we expand into certain new geographies, we may see an increase in users who prefer to access premium features through our in-app purchase options rather than through our subscription packages which could impact our ARPPU. We may also see a lower propensity to pay as we enter certain new markets.

Growth in Monetization

 

We continually develop new monetization features and improve existing features in order to increase adoption of in-app purchases and our subscription programs striking a balance between the number of Paying Users and ARPPU. We also test new pricing strategies, including different pricing tiers and user segmentation and share those insights across our apps to optimize monetization.

52


 

Many variables will impact our ARPPU, including the number of Paying Users and mix of monetization offerings on our platform, as well as the effect of demographic shifts and geographic differences on all of these variables. Our pricing is in local currency and may vary between markets. As foreign currency exchange rates change, translation of the statements of operations into U.S. dollars could negatively impact revenue and distort year-over-year comparability of operating results.

 

To the extent our ARPPU growth slows, our revenue growth will become increasingly dependent on our ability to increase our Paying Users. In addition, changes in mobile app store policies, including the recently announced change to Google Play’s in-app billing system policy, may adversely affect our results of operations over time.

Investing in Growth While Driving Long-Term Profitability

 

Our mission-first strategy ensures that values guide our business decisions and our business performance enables us to drive impact through investment in technology, marketing and product innovation, balancing growth with long-term margins.

We expect to continue to invest in technology, marketing and product innovation, while balancing driving growth with long-term margins. Key investment areas for our platform include machine learning capabilities, including continually improving our matching technology; features that prioritize security and privacy; and new premium offerings that add incremental value to Paying Users.

Attracting and Retaining Talent

Our business relies on our ability to attract and retain our talent, including engineers, data scientists, product designers and product developers. We believe that people want to work at a company that has purpose and aligns with their personal values, and therefore our ability to recruit talent is aided by our mission and brand reputation. We compete for talent within the technology industry.

Seasonality

We experience seasonality in user growth, user engagement, Paying User growth, and monetization on our platform. Historically, we see an increase in all of these metrics in the first quarter and during the Northern Hemisphere summer of the calendar year, and a slowdown in the rest of the calendar year. Our activity is also elevated in key seasonal calendar highs such as the January and February lead up to Valentine’s Day and the lead up to major holidays.

Impact of COVID-19

In March 2020, the World Health Organization declared the COVID-19 a global pandemic. The COVID-19 outbreak has reached across the globe, resulting in the implementation of significant governmental measures, including lockdowns, closures, quarantines, and travel bans intended to control the spread of the virus. While some of these measures have been relaxed in certain parts of the world, ongoing social distancing measures, and future prevention and mitigation measures, as well as the potential for some of these measures to be reinstituted in the event of repeat waves or mutations of the virus, are likely to have an adverse impact on global economic conditions and consumer confidence and spending, and could materially adversely affect demand, or users’ ability to pay, for our products and services.

In response to the COVID-19 outbreak, we have taken several precautions that may adversely impact employee productivity, such as requiring employees to work remotely, imposing travel restrictions, and temporarily closing office locations. We continue to monitor the rapidly-evolving situation and guidance from international and domestic authorities, including federal, state and local public health authorities, and there may be developments outside our control requiring us to adjust our operating plan. As such, given the unprecedented uncertainty around the duration and severity of the impact on market conditions and the business environment, we cannot reasonably estimate the full impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on our operating results in the future.

For additional information, see “Item 1A―Risk Factors—General Risk Factors—Our business and results of operations” may be materially adversely affected by the recent COVID-19 outbreak or other similar outbreaks

Factors Affecting the Comparability of Our Results of Operations

As a result of a number of factors, our historical results of operations may not be comparable from period to period or going forward. Set forth below is a brief discussion of the key factors impacting the comparability of our results of operations.

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The Sponsor Acquisition

On January 29, 2020, we completed the Sponsor Acquisition, pursuant to which, among other things, Bumble Holdings acquired Worldwide Vision Limited and its consolidated subsidiaries. For additional information, see Note 1, Organization and Basis of Preparation, within the audited consolidated financial statements appearing elsewhere in this Annual Report on Form 10-K.

The Sponsor Acquisition was accounted for as a business combination under Accounting Standards Codification 805, Business Combinations. The purchase consideration was allocated to the identifiable assets and liabilities of Worldwide Vision Limited measured at their fair value as of the effective date of the Sponsor Acquisition. Any excess of the purchase consideration over the fair value of the identifiable assets and liabilities of Worldwide Vision Limited was recognized as goodwill in our consolidated financial statements. In addition, we have recorded an increase in depreciation and amortization.

In connection with the Sponsor Acquisition, in January 2020, we entered into a 7-year senior secured term loan facility in an original aggregate principal amount of $575.0 million (the “Initial Term Loan Facility”) and a 5-year senior secured revolving credit facility in an aggregate principal amount of up to $50.0 million (the “Revolving Credit Facility”). The borrower under the Initial Term Loan Facility and the Revolving Credit Facility is a wholly owned subsidiary of Bumble Holdings, Buzz Finco L.L.C. Accordingly, in periods after the Sponsor Acquisition, we have recorded an increase in interest expense.

Concurrent with the Sponsor Acquisition, the Company also decided to no longer actively maintain and market certain platforms, including Chappy, Lumen and Huggle (“Inactive Platforms”). The decision to do so was based on the Company’s greater focus on, and decision to use its resources for strengthening, its brands Bumble and Badoo. During the period from January 29, 2020 to December 31, 2020, the period from January 1, 2020 to January 28, 2020 and the years ended December 31, 2019 and 2018, the revenue associated with the Inactive Platforms is deemed immaterial.

As a result of the Sponsor Acquisition, the Company incurred significant transaction costs such as legal, accounting, consulting, shadow equity and other expenses. These were incurred both in the period from January 1, 2020 to January 28, 2020 and the period from January 29, 2020 to December 31, 2020 and resulted primarily in an increase in general and administrative expense.

The Distribution Financing Transaction

In October 2020, we entered into an incremental senior secured term loan facility (the “Incremental Term Loan Facility” and, together with the Initial Term Loan Facility, the “Term Loan Facility”; the Term Loan Facility, together with the Revolving Credit Facility, the “Senior Secured Credit Facilities”) with the same maturity as the Initial Term Loan Facility in an original aggregate principal amount of $275.0 million. The Incremental Term Loan provides for additional senior secured term loans with substantially identical terms as the Initial Term Loan Facility (other than the applicable margin). The borrower under the Incremental Term Loan Facility is a wholly owned subsidiary of Bumble Holdings, Buzz Finco L.L.C.

Bumble Holdings used the proceeds from the incremental borrowings under the Incremental Term Loan Facility, together with available cash, to declare a distribution of $360.0 million, of which approximately $334.3 million was paid to our pre-IPO owners on October 28, 2020 and $25.6 million was used to partially repay the loan to our Founder, and to pay related fees and expenses in connection therewith.

Initial Public Offering and Offering Transactions

 

On February 10, 2021, our registration statement on Form S-1 relating to our initial public offering (“IPO”) was declared effective by the SEC, and our Class A common stock began trading on the NASDAQ on February 11, 2021. Our IPO closed on February 16, 2021. For additional information, see Note 1, Organization and Basis of Preparation, to our consolidated financial statements included in Part II, "Item 8—Financial Statements and Supplementary Data" of this Annual Report on Form 10-K.

 

Bumble Inc. issued and sold 57.5 million shares of its Class A common stock in the IPO, including 7.5 million shares sold pursuant to the exercise in full by the underwriters of their option to purchase additional shares. Bumble Inc. used the proceeds (net of underwriting discounts) from the issuance of 9 million shares ($369.6 million) to acquire an equivalent number of newly-issued Common Units from Buzz Holdings L.P, which Buzz Holdings L.P. will in turn use to repay outstanding indebtedness under our Term Loan Facility totaling approximately $200.0 million in aggregate principal amount and approximately $148.3 million for general corporate purposes, and to bear all of the expenses of the IPO. Bumble Inc. used the proceeds (net of underwriting discounts) from the issuance of 48.5 million shares ($1,991.6 million) to purchase or redeem an equivalent aggregate number of shares of Class A common stock and Common Units from our pre-IPO owners. We refer to the foregoing transactions as the “Offering Transactions”.

54


 

Reorganization Transactions

 

Prior to the completion of the IPO, we undertook certain reorganization transactions (the “Reorganization Transactions”) such that Bumble Inc. is now a holding company, and its sole material asset is a controlling equity interest in Bumble Holdings. As the general partner of Bumble Holdings, Bumble Inc. now operates and controls all of the business and affairs of Bumble Holdings, has the obligation to absorb losses and receive benefits from Bumble Holdings and, through Bumble Holdings and its subsidiaries, conduct our business. The Reorganization Transactions were accounted for as a reorganization of entities under common control. As a result, the consolidated financial statements of Bumble Inc. will recognize the assets and liabilities received in the Reorganization Transactions at their historical carrying amounts, as reflected in the historical financial statements of Bumble Holdings, the accounting predecessor. Bumble Inc. will consolidate Bumble Holdings on its consolidated financial statements and record a non-controlling interest, related to the Common Units and the Incentive Units held by our pre-IPO owners, on its consolidated balance sheet and statement of operations.

Bumble Inc. is a corporation for U.S. federal and state income tax purposes. Each of Bumble Inc.’s accounting predecessor, Bumble Holdings, and Bumble Holdings’ accounting predecessor, Worldwide Vision Limited, is, and has been since the Sponsor Acquisition, treated as a flow-through entity for U.S. federal income tax purposes, and as such, has generally not been subject to U.S. federal income tax at the entity level. Accordingly, the historical results of operations and other financial information set forth in this Annual Report do not include any material provisions for U.S. federal income tax. Following our initial public offering, Bumble Inc. pays U.S. federal and state income taxes as a corporation on its share of Bumble Holdings’ taxable income.

 

In addition, in connection with the Reorganizations Transactions and our IPO, we entered into the tax receivable agreement as described under “Item 13―Certain Relationships and Related Transactions, and Director Independence―Tax Receivable Agreement”.

Public Company Costs

In preparation for our IPO, we incurred significant one-off costs such as legal, accounting, consulting, investor relations and other expenses. Accordingly, in the period from January 29, 2020 to December 31, 2020, we have recorded an increase in general and administrative expense.

 

As a result of becoming a public company, we expect to incur additional costs such as personnel, legal, regulatory, insurance, accounting, investor relations and other expenses that we did not incur as a private company.

Components of Results of Operations

Our business is organized into a single reportable segment.

Revenue

We monetize both the Bumble and Badoo apps via a freemium model where the use of our service is free and a subset of our users pay for subscriptions or in-app purchases to access premium features. Subscription revenue is presented net of taxes, refunds and credit card chargebacks. This revenue is initially deferred and is recognized using the straight-line method over the term of the applicable subscription period. Revenue from lifetime subscriptions is deferred over the average estimated expected period of the subscriber relationship, which is currently estimated to be twelve months. Revenue from the purchase of in-app features is recognized based on usage.

We also earn revenue from online advertising and partnerships, which are not a significant part of our business. Online advertising revenue is recognized when an advertisement is displayed. Revenue from partnerships is recognized according to the contractual terms of the partnership.

Cost of revenue

Cost of revenue consists primarily of in-app purchase fees due on payments processed through the Apple App Store and Google Play Store. Purchases on Android, mobile web and desktop have additional payment methods, such as credit card or via telecom providers. These purchases incur fees which vary depending on payment method. Purchase fees are deferred and expensed over the same period as revenue.

55


 

Cost of revenue also includes data center expenses such as rent, power and bandwidth for running servers and associated employee costs. Expenses relating to customer care functions such as customer service, moderators and other auxiliary costs associated with providing services to customers such as fraud prevention are also included within cost of revenue.

Selling and marketing expense

Selling and marketing expense consists primarily of brand marketing, digital and social media spend, field marketing and compensation expense (including stock-based compensation) and other employee-related costs for personnel engaged in sales and marketing functions.

General and administrative expense

General and administrative expense consists primarily of compensation (including stock-based compensation) and other employee-related costs for personnel engaged in executive management, finance, legal, tax and human resources. General and administrative expense also consists of transaction costs, changes in fair value of contingent earn-out liability, expenses associated with facilities, information technology, external professional services, legal costs and settlement of legal claims and other administrative expenses.

Product development expense

Product development expense consists primarily of compensation (including stock-based compensation) and other employee-related costs for personnel engaged in the design, development, testing and enhancement of product offerings and related technology.

Depreciation and amortization expense

Depreciation and amortization expense is primarily related to computer equipment, leasehold improvements, furniture and fixtures, developed technology, user base, white label contracts, trademarks and other definite-lived intangible assets.

Interest (expense) income

Interest (expense) income consists of interest income received on related party loans receivables and interest expense incurred in connection with our long-term debt.

Other expense, net

Other expense, net consists of insurance reimbursement proceeds, fair value changes in derivatives and equity investments and impacts from foreign exchange transactions.

Income tax provision

Income tax provision represents the income tax expense associated with our operations based on the tax laws of the jurisdictions in which we operate. These foreign jurisdictions have different statutory tax rates than the United States. Our effective tax rates will vary depending on the relative proportion of foreign to domestic income, changes in the valuation of our deferred tax assets and liabilities, and changes in tax laws.

56


 

Results of Operations

The following table sets forth our consolidated statement of operations information for the periods presented:

 

 

 

Successor

 

 

 

Predecessor

 

(in thousands)

 

Period from

January 29,

through

December 31,

2020

 

 

 

Period from

January 1,

through

January 28,

2020

 

 

Year Ended

December 31,

2019

 

 

Year Ended

December 31,

2018

 

Revenue

 

$

542,192

 

 

 

$

39,990

 

 

$

488,940

 

 

$

360,105

 

Operating costs and expenses:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cost of revenue

 

 

146,629

 

 

 

 

10,790

 

 

 

139,767

 

 

 

110,259

 

Selling and marketing expense

 

 

152,588

 

 

 

 

11,157

 

 

 

142,902

 

 

 

93,605

 

General and administrative expense

 

 

178,615

 

 

 

 

44,907

 

 

 

67,079

 

 

 

128,981

 

Product development expense

 

 

46,994

 

 

 

 

4,087

 

 

 

39,205

 

 

 

37,517

 

Depreciation and amortization expense

 

 

91,767

 

 

 

 

408

 

 

 

6,734

 

 

 

5,957

 

Total operating costs and expenses

 

 

616,593

 

 

 

 

71,349

 

 

 

395,687

 

 

 

376,319

 

Operating (loss) income

 

 

(74,401

)

 

 

 

(31,359

)

 

 

93,253

 

 

 

(16,214

)

Interest (expense) income

 

 

(22,134

)

 

 

 

50

 

 

 

202

 

 

 

4

 

Other expense, net

 

 

(5,525

)

 

 

 

(882

)

 

 

(1,473

)

 

 

(4,428

)

(Loss) earnings before tax

 

 

(102,060

)

 

 

 

(32,191

)

 

 

91,982

 

 

 

(20,638

)

Income tax provision

 

 

(8,126

)

 

 

 

(365

)

 

 

(6,138

)

 

 

(3,031

)

Net (loss) earnings

 

 

(110,186

)

 

 

 

(32,556

)

 

 

85,844

 

 

 

(23,669

)

Net earnings (loss) attributable to noncontrolling interests

 

 

808

 

 

 

 

1,917

 

 

 

19,698

 

 

 

(2,150

)

Net (loss) earnings attributable to Buzz Holdings L.P.  owners / Worldwide Vision Limited shareholders

 

$

(110,994

)

 

 

$

(34,473

)

 

$

66,146

 

 

$

(21,519

)

 

The following table sets forth our consolidated statement of operations information as a percentage of revenue for the periods presented:

 

 

 

Successor

 

 

 

Predecessor

 

 

 

Period from

January 29,

through

December 31,

2020

 

 

 

Period from

January 1,

through

January 28,

2020

 

 

Year Ended

December 31,

2019

 

 

Year Ended

December 31,

2018

 

Revenue

 

 

100.0

%

 

 

 

100.0

%

 

 

100.0

%

 

 

100.0

%

Operating costs and expenses:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cost of revenue

 

 

27.0

%

 

 

 

27.0

%

 

 

28.6

%

 

 

30.6

%

Selling and marketing expense

 

 

28.1

%

 

 

 

27.9

%

 

 

29.2

%

 

 

26.0

%

General and administrative expense

 

 

32.9

%

 

 

 

112.3

%