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

Bumble CFO Anu Subramanian.
Bumble CFO Anu Subramanian.
Courtesy of Bumble

Good morning,

“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!

Big deal

A new analysis by S&P Global Market Intelligence finds that private equity and venture capital firms invested $370 million into streaming media companies worldwide in 2022, down 73% from $1.38 billion of investments in 2021. During that period, the number of PE-backed transactions involving companies that provide video streaming service, audio streaming, and television shows decreased to 29 from 35. A report by Kagan, a media research group within Market Intelligence, found that many streamers today face growth and profitability challenges amid inflation and rising competition. "In the post-pandemic world, some subscription video-on-demand players now face customer retention issues and often incur operating losses," according to the report.

Courtesy of S&P Global Market Intelligence

Going deeper

A report by Accenture, "Reinventing Enterprise Operations," found 73% of companies surveyed are prioritizing A.I. over all other digital investments. Approximately 90% of business leaders surveyed are applying A.I. to tackle aspects of operational resilience, which spans data-driven capabilities, such as finance (89%) and supply chain (88%), to experimentation with generative A.I., according to the report. The findings assessed companies across six measures of operational maturity: A.I., data, processes, talent, collaboration, and stakeholder experiences. The findings are based on a survey of  1,700 executives, 72% of whom were C-suite, across 12 countries and 15 industries. 

“All CEOs are under pressure to digitize faster, put more resilience in the business, and find new pathways to growth,” Yusuf Tayob, group chief executive of Accenture Operations, said in a statement. “The right investments in technology while advancing talent, data and processes is what drives a new performance frontier.”


Terry Coelho was named CFO at Gamida Cell Ltd. (Nasdaq: GMDA), a cell therapy company, effective immediately. Shai Lankry, who has served as the company’s CFO for the past five years, stepped down on May 22 and will leave the company on June 2. The transition is part of a planned leadership change first shared with the investor community in August 2022. She most recently served as EVP, CFO, and chief business development officer at CinCor Pharma, Inc. Coelho’s experience also includes serving as EVP and CFO at BioDelivery Sciences International, Inc., and as CFO at Balchem Corporation and Diversey, Inc. She held a series of senior financial and executive roles at Sealed Air Corporation, Mars, Inc., and Novartis Pharmaceuticals.

Walter Jankovic was named CFO at Harmonic Inc. (Nasdaq: HLIT), effective immediately. Jankovic brings over 30 years of executive experience. He was most recently SVP and general manager of the datacom business unit at Lumentum. Before that, he served as president of optical connectivity at Oclaro, Inc. Previously, Jankovic served in several senior finance and leadership roles during his 13-year tenure at Celestica Inc., including VP of finance for various business segments; SVP of communications and internet service provider markets; and, most recently, SVP of advanced industrial and health tech markets.


“We estimate this is an $800 billion market opportunity over the next decade as this A.I. Game of Thrones plays out across the enterprise and consumer tech space.”

—Dan Ives, a tech analyst at Wedbush, wrote in a research note on Sunday, referencing the total addressable market for artificial intelligence. The A.I. boom has helped tech shares mount a turnaround this year—and Ives believes it’s still in the early innings, Fortune reported

This is the web version of CFO Daily, a newsletter on the trends and individuals shaping corporate finance. Sign up to get CFO Daily delivered free to your inbox.

Read More

CEO DailyCFO DailyBroadsheetData SheetTerm Sheet