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How dating and relationship app Bumble grew revenue by 26% and added 98,000 paying users this quarter, according to its CFO

Courtesy of Bumble

Good morning,

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“When I'm on the Bumble app, I introduce myself as the CFO of Bumble,” Anu Subramanian tells me of the dating app. “I've been married 18 years, so I'm definitely not looking for anybody on Bumble,” Subramanian quips. “It's fascinating to sort of see people's experiences, and our people give us great feedback on the app.”

All team members at the company need to use the Bumble app, Subramanian says. “If you don't want to use the dating function, we have a BFF mode where you can look up friends,” she says. “But you need to know how the app works because ultimately, that is our bread and butter.”

Subramanian joined Bumble Inc. as finance chief in 2020, coming from Univision, where she was a CFO leading digital assets that included its direct-to-consumer business. She was also CFO of Vice Media’s digital division, and CFO of digital at Scripps Networks Interactive. Earlier in her career, she worked in media investment banking at Citi.

I asked Subramanian what attracted her to finance. "My dad was a banker, and I was surrounded by a lot of people that worked in business and finance,” she says. Subramanian came to the U.S. to earn her MBA. "I've lived in the U.S. more than half of my life, but India is where my roots are," she says. "My parents still live there."

Regarding her career path, “I’ve spent a big chunk of my career at the intersection of media and technology," Subramanian says. "I've always been attracted to businesses that are using technology to solve an age-old problem.” Bumble seeks to provide a solution for people who’ve been looking for love and companionship in all the wrong places.

Bumble app revenue grew 25.9% to $194.3 million, and paying users increased 31% to 2.3 million, according to Bumble Inc.’s Q1 2023 earnings, reported on May 4. There were 98,000 paying users added to the Bumble app, which resulted from strong growth in monthly active users, as well as increases in payer penetration. The Badoo app, another dating service under parent company Bumble Inc., and other revenue were $49 million, down 13%. For the quarter, Bumble Inc. earned revenue of $243 million, up 16% year over year, and was at the high end of the company's guidance range.

Whitney Wolfe Herd founded Bumble in 2014 and serves as the CEO. “Bumble’s strength in attracting female users should help them defend their market share against competitors, as they differentiate themselves by empowering women to make the first move,” Nicholas Cauley, an analyst at Third Bridge said earlier this month, Reuters reported.

Women making the first move is “one of the most unique features of the app,” Subramanian says.

Converting users to paying customers

Despite high inflation and rising interest rates, people are still investing in finding a relationship. “The sector as a whole is continuing to grow,” Subramanian says.

Overall growth in users on the Bumble app is strong, she says. But how do you convert a user to a paying user? By optimizing the user journey, which is “actually the most important part of our job,” Subramanian says.

“At what point does someone using the app get a paywall?” she says. “How do you market your features to a free user? How do you think about pricing in a different market?” Answering such questions applies to driving growth in paying users, Subramanian says. “We focus heavily on making sure that product, marketing, and technology teams come to the table with their unique points of view,” she says.

Adding new features is another method to drive engagement. In one of the latest features, "compliments," “what we call ‘message before match’” users can send someone a compliment before they decide to connect, Subramanian says. “It's a limited number of words that you can send, and it has to be positive,” she says. “We are focused on making sure there is safety at the forefront of everything we do.”

So, when she's not running finance, what does she do in her downtime? In addition to traveling with her husband and their kids (ages 5 and 11), “I love cooking and entertaining,” Subramanian tells me. “It gives me joy to make food for people and to have people over.”

Luckily with Bumble, she'll never have a shortage of BFFs to entertain.

Sheryl Estrada

Upcoming event: Join us for Fortune’s Emerging CFO’s virtual conversation, in collaboration with Workday (a CFO Daily sponsor), “Maintaining a Growth Mindset In Turbulent Economic Waters,” Wednesday, June 21, from 11 a.m. to noon ET. Geoff Colvin, senior editor-at-large at Fortune, and I will talk with McKinsey & Company Senior Partner Ishaan Seth, and finance chiefs Dan Durn, CFO at Adobe, Mandy Fields, CFO at e.l.f. Beauty, and Xihao Hu, CFO at TD Bank in the U.S. We’ll hear from these experts how success can be significantly influenced by how we perceive our talents and abilities—our growth mindset—and how this applies to the role of the CFO. Click here to register!

This story was originally featured on Fortune.com

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