By Sohini Podder
(Reuters) - Bumble Inc on Wednesday said it expects pent up demand from people who had been avoiding dating in person due to the COVID-19 pandemic, after it reported a bigger-than-expected rise in fourth-quarter revenue.
Dating apps have benefited from social distancing restrictions that made people yearn for company as casual gatherings with friends and family became a rarity.
The company said it will build its friendship product Bumble BFF beyond its minimum viable offering as it expects friendships and platonic relationships at large to be a massive opportunity going forward.
Texas-based Bumble expects current quarter revenue to be in the range of $163 million and $165 million.
Bumble boasted of 12.7% of the U.S. dating market, with close to 5.5 million average monthly active users and 2.2 million downloads in the United States alone, during the quarter, according to data from analytics firm Apptopia.
The company differentiates itself from competitors, biggest rival being Match Group's Tinder, by requiring women to make the first move. It also has verticals like Bumble BFF and Bumble Bizz that are dedicated to make friendships and professional connection.
Founded by Tinder co-founder Whitney Wolfe Herd, Bumble raised $2.2 billion in its initial public offering last month, following which Herd became the youngest female CEO to ever take a company public.
Bumble, which operates two major apps Badoo and Bumble, posted a 31.1% rise in revenue to $165.6 million in the fourth quarter, first earnings report since it went public. Analysts on average had expected a revenue of $163.3 million, according to Refinitiv IBES data.
Net loss widened to $26.1 million during the quarter, or 1 cent a share, from a net loss of $17.2 million a year ago.
(Reporting by Tiyashi Datta and Sohini Podder in Bengaluru; Additional reporting by Aditi Sebastian; Editing by Shinjini Ganguli)