Bumble is taking Match Group to court, says it’s pursuing an IPO

Bumble is officially serving the papers in the suit against Tinder parent, Match Group. Bumble had said in March it was filing a suit of $400 million against Match Group for fraudulently obtaining trade secrets, following Match’s suit filed only weeks before, which had claimed patent infringement and misuse of intellectual property.

Match’s original lawsuit said that Bumble had copied “Tinder’s world-changing, card-swipe-based, mutual opt-in premise,” and accused Tinder-turned-Bumble employees Chris Gulczynski and Sarah Mick of copying elements of the design.

Bumble was also founded by CEO Whitney Wolfe, who was also a co-founder at Tinder and had previously sued Tinder for sexual harassment.

Following Match’s suit, Bumble responded then filed a separate action that raised new allegations against Match Group. It said that when Bumble and Match Group were in acquisition talks, Match filed its suit to make Bumble look less attractive to other suitors. Bumble also said that Match Group fraudulently requested for Bumble to provide “confidential and trade secret information” which Match Group said they “needed to provide a higher offer for Bumble,” the suit alleged.

Bumble’s suit also said that no subsequent offer came, and Match Group instead requested and obtained this information solely for “the financial benefit of its dating app businesses.”

And it said that Match Group “published false or disparaging information about Bumble, including statements in the press falsely claiming that Bumble infringed Match’s intellectual property, as well as false statements in the Lawsuit.”

Bumble and Match Group had tried to come to some sort of settlement over the months since the lawsuits were filed, in hopes of finding another solution outside of having to take their claims to court. But with court papers now being served, it appears that’s not going to be the case.

Match Group has had Bumble on its radar as one of its top competitors and a threat to its dating app business led by Tinder. It has tried to acquire Bumble twice, and has been turned down. Last year, for example, Match was in discussions with Bumble over a deal that then valued it at over $1 billion.

In the months since, Bumble has grown significantly as its business continues to expand outside the U.S. The company is now available in English-language countries like Canada, Australia, and the U.K., and is investing in expansions into Germany and Mexico. Latin America and South America are also on the roadmap for 2019, and Asia is in the works, as well.

In addition, Bumble has now upped its revenue run rate to $200 million per year. That doesn’t mean Bumble is making $200 million in 2018, only that it has exceeded its original expectations of $150 million in revenue for the year.

The revenues come entirely from Bumble’s in-app subscription business – the app doesn’t run ads.

The app also recently passed 40 million users, Wolfe recently noted on stage at TechCrunch Disrupt SF 2018 alongside news of Bumble’s new “snooze” feature that allows users to take a time-out from the app. She also spoke of Bumble’s plans to invest in its non-dating businesses, grow its real-world footprint through an expansion of its “Hive” locations, and introduce advertising.

In terms of how this suit will impact Bumble, Wolfe said, “we’re focused on our growth. We’re focused on ending misogyny, and we’re actively pursuing an IPO.”