Bumble, the female-centric dating app, has filed a confidential S-1 with the Securities and Exchange Commission in the earliest steps toward its initial public offering (IPO), as first reported by Bloomberg. Due to the confidential nature of its filing, the paperwork isn't yet available to be reviewed, but the company may be targeting a February IPO. 

As a result of the pandemic and the corresponding social distancing, a greater number of users than ever before have turned to dating apps to meet potential partners. Bumble, which is backed by The Blackstone Group (NYSE:BX), is seeking a valuation between $6 billion and $8 billion, making it the latest in a line of unicorns (companies worth more than $1 billion) to go public in recent months.

A hand holding a smartphone with hearts appearing above.

Image source: Getty Images.

Bumble was started in 2014 and is headed by founder and CEO Whitney Wolfe Herd, an industry veteran who also co-founded Tinder. Wolfe Herd left Tinder that same year, filing suit against co-founders Justin Mateen and Sean Rad alleging sexual harassment and discrimination, though the suit was ultimately settled. Tinder is now owned by online dating rival Match Group (NASDAQ:MTCH)

Earlier this year, Bumble reportedly topped 100 million users. The app's sibling, Badoo, is the world's largest dating app, and together the pair boast 600 million users worldwide. Bumble generated revenue of $240 million in 2019, according to reports, and has exceeded internal growth estimates in each of the past two years. Bumble has grown beyond its dating app roots, and now includes Bumble BFF, a feature for meeting new friends, and Bumble Bizz, a professional networking app.

Match Group has made numerous overtures to buy Bumble over the past several years, offering to acquire the company for between $500 million and $1 billion, but those advances have been rebuffed. 

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.