FORBES RUSSIA - Mar 6 - The founder of Mamba and Badoo, Andrey Andreev enters the global Forbes richest list with a fortune of $1.5B. Andrey Andreev (43) is not at all like a billionaire. "Such an eclectic, quirky, creative, that the industry needs very much. I hope he does not sell his company in the near future," says Brooks, senior consultant at Courtland Brooks. He recalls the first meeting with Andreev: the businessman appeared in his white T-shirt, asked the necessary questions and left without losing a minute. But on another occasion, after going to Brooks for a meeting of heads of dating Internet services, Andreev spent half a night in the kitchen, preparing his famous soup, which was served in a Michelin star London restaurant.
In 1999 Andreev launched the web analytics service SpyLog, and in 2002, the contextual ad service "Begun". Andreev created the Russian dating service "Mamba" a year later. The service made its first revenues through SMS. In Oct. 2005, with 4.5M members, Finam bought it for $20M, enough to launch Badoo in 2006, a service combining the dating and social networking. At the end of 2017 there were 370M members.
Andreev lived for many years in Spain, and his knowledge of the Spanish mentality helped him promote Badoo in Europe and Latin America. But to conquer more competitive markets in the US and English-speaking countries, this was not enough. In order to enter the American market, Andreev bought Hot Or Not in 2014. He then introduced swiping.
He now launches new companies only if there's a manager able to deal with operations, while he deals with the financing, product support and monetization. Andreev helped Huggle in exchange for a stake, and also in Chappy.
Bumble launched Dec. 2014 and had 100k downloads the first month. The idea of a dating service where women take the initiative turned out to be a godsend for the American market. He invested $10M for a 78.21% stake. Herd became CEO and took a 20% stake. $100M revenue is expected in 2017, and double this year.
"The service is significantly different from Badoo. Guys will go where there are a lot of girls, and are attracted to proactive girls who think in a modern way and are ready to take the first step," explains Mark Brooks about the secret of Bumble's success. Tinder has 50M active users and worth is estimated at $3B. Bumble has 23M users. This year, Herd refused to sell it for $450M to Match Group. In the autumn Match reportedly upped its offer to over $1B. In the past, Andreev was offered to sell Badoo for several hundred million dollars, says Mark Brooks, and now the company, "But it seems to me that Andreev is not ready to retire," the expert concludes.