By Sabrina Lynch
- Blackstone acquired a majority stake in the Bumble dating app
- Serena Williams is part of the Bumble Fund as an investor
Bumble has made a “dream match” with investment juggernaut Blackstone that acquired a majority stake in the dating app from MagicLab. As Bumble’s brand prides itself on putting ‘females first’, the move comes in a timely manner following the troubled, misogynic culture exposed at Badaoo -another MagicLab-owned dating app – and Grand Slam champion Serena Williams joining the Bumble Fund as an investor.
Why This Matters: The tennis icon’s investment fund “Serena Ventures” actively invests in companies that embrace diverse leadership, empowerment, creativity and future technology and Bumble Fund fit the bill. Given the experiences that people of color face when using dating apps, attributed to algorithms that reinforce biases or sexual racism, new investment in Bumble will be welcomed to help even the playing field for diversity in dating, networking and socializing. Especially since dating apps’ collective user base is estimated to grow by 5.3% in 2019.
The tennis icon’s investment fund “Serena Ventures” actively invests in companies that embrace diverse leadership, empowerment, creativity and future technology and Bumble Fund fit the bill
The deal values MagicLab at $3 billion and in turn will allow Blackstone to expand Bumble into more markets, bolstering its current customer base of 75 million users. With the company’s founder Whitney Wolfe Herd stepping into the role of CEO of MagicLab, Bumble is in a healthier position to recalibrate people of color’s interactions with the platform and help folks in different markets make connections without technologically-fueled prejudices.
Serena Williams’ involvement in the growth of Bumble Fund will not only open doors for female entrepreneurship but also influence better inclusion policies that impact the dynamics of their core product. Competition to snap up users has increased with the introduction of Facebook (FB +0.21%) Dating and The League Live, a speed-dating service that requires a LinkedIn profile, so Bumble needs to live up to its ethos of shaking up outdated norms.
Situational Awareness: With great growth comes great responsibility. Bumble was first founded to challenge the antiquated rules of dating. Now the brand needs to make changes to ensure the connections it seeks to facilitate beyond romantic liaisons are safe and respectful, avoiding the pitfalls of neglectful diversity.
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