TECH CRUNCH - Nov 9 - Andrey Andreev, the founder of Badoo, is selling his entire stake in MagicLab, the company that owned both Bumble and Badoo (and other dating apps), to Blackstone, which is one of the world's leading investment firms. He will step away from the business in the process, and Wolfe Herd, Bumble's founder, becomes the CEO of the whole company, retaining much of her stake in the business. That stake is at ~19%. The deal values MagicLab at $3B. Blackstone also will be making an investment in the company as part of the deal.
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BBC - Oct 23 - Entrepreneur Charly Lester launched a dating app for the over-50s. "Quite often I get asked why I am doing this when I am in my thirties, but you don't need to be in the target audience to understand what they need and launch a solution", she says.
DAILYMAIL.CO.UK - Oct 21 - Micro-dating is a trend that has become particularly popular with over-40s whose busy lives and multiple commitments leave conventional dating a near impossibility. Meet-ups are limited to 15 to 45 minutes only, and certainly never go over an hour. An ideal micro-date is going out for a coffee or a quick glass of wine after work. While it's a great concept for busy people, is micro-dating really the way to find a partner? Charly Lester, co-founder of Lumen, the dating app for over-50s, thinks not. "Over-50s who haven't dated for a while are often extremely nervous. It can take 30 minutes just to relax. So you don't get the full measure of someone on such a short date. Also, coffee is a rubbish first date! You don't have any distractions, and the face-to-face nature can feel really formal and awkward."
FORBES - Oct 14 - Lumen is a Tinder-like dating app aimed at the over-50 demographic. Lumen users are able to start a limited number of conversations every day, in order to cut down on spammy behavior. Messages also disappear after 72 hours if there is no reply. This puts the focus on quality conversation. Every user must have at least one image of themselves and upon sign-up every user is photo-verified. The minimum icebreaker message must be at least 50 characters. The average user age is 56. The gender ratio is ~50/50. There is also a premium version that allows for more conversations per day and seeing which members have saved the user as a favorite and enhanced search.
TELEGRAPH.CO.UK - Oct 6 - Bumble CEO & founder Whitney Wolfe Herd enjoyed a £4M dividend ahead of a possible float for the firm's parent company. Badoo is the UK-headquartered majority owner of Bumble, which also controls gay dating app Chappy and over 50s app Lumen. Wolfe Herd owns ~20% of Bumble. According to UK accounts for Badoo, Bumble now makes up 48% of the business, making it the crown jewel in Mr Andreev's dating empire. Andreev snapped up a 79%c stake in Bumble and has bankrolled founder Ms Wolfe Herd, creating a rival to Tinder. Badoo has been rumoured to be preparing for a US listing itself, with its Bumble asset valued on its own at north of $1B.
OPW - Sep 23 - With its latest ads, dating app Lumen wants to show the world that being over 50 doesn't mean people can't be sexy and have fun. The ad is featuring 8 British over 50s, living their best lives. Lumen is a dating platform for over 50s. It was launched in September 2018 and provides a safe and age-appropriate environment for older men and women.
POSTMEDIA NEWS - Aug 26 - Lumen, a dating app for the 50-plus crowd, is a runaway success. The app launched in the UK last fall by co-founders Antoine Argouges (ex-Bumble) and Charly Lester, and has 1.2M users worldwide. The app uses AI to ensure users are who they claim to be (promising 100% photo verification); the opening salvo has to be longer than 50 characters. "Working for Lumen has made me realize how 'old' people think 50 is, and how untrue that perception is," said Charly Lester. "When someone pictures a 50-year-old in their head, most of the time the image they are thinking of is a 70-year-old. We need to shake up these perceptions because they are wrong, and damaging."
One word that best describes how you work: Multi-tasker
What apps/software/tools can't you live without?
Slack, Trello, Whatsapp, Later, Strava and Audible.
What social network do you find the most useful?
Instagram, although not for Lumen; most over 50s predominantly use Facebook.
What were the most important lessons you learned while growing your business?
- Failure is personal. No one else knows you or your business the way you do. A failure only becomes a failure when you decide to treat it that way.
- You can't do everything yourself. Work out what you aren't as skilled at or what you don't enjoy, and outsource those tasks to someone else.
- Relationships are key. Always trying to use contractors who I know and trust.
What has been the most surprising part of your business journey?
Working in dating was certainly a surprise! I was originally working in banking and wrote a Facebook status which suggested spending the final three months of my twenties going on 30 blind dates. To my surprise, the blog went viral, and was picked up by The Guardian. I went on to become the Dating Editor of The Guardian, followed by global Head of Dating at Time Out.
What everyday thing are you better at than anyone else?
Time management and work-life balance.
YAHOO LIFESTYLE - July 12 - On Lumen, only those who are 50 or older are allowed to join. It also requires users to upload a selfie in order to verify their identity - a unique feature that reduces the risk of catfishing. Users have to upload at least three photos. There's also a minimum character length for the messages and a limit to how many matches users can contact, so people can't just spam hundreds of users without reading their profiles. They only have 72 hours to respond to someone's message.
CMO.COM.AU - July 4 - Gaining brand synonymity with anti-ageism is the big ambition for co-founder and CMO of Lumen, a dating app for the over 50s market. This week, Lumen launched its first TV commercial in Australia, featuring the over 50s Atlanta-based dance troupe, Silver Classix Crew, performing a Tron dance in LED suits. Prior to the TVC, Lumen has been investing largely in billboard advertising, Facebook advertising and PR, taking both a risqué and humour-based approach in its messaging.
TECH CRUNCH - June 29 - The feature is double opt-in, meaning users won't get a video call from some rando the second that they match with them. Instead, users will see an icon inside their chat that they can tap on to enable the features that move beyond text. Bumble parent company MagicLab plans to bring voice and video calls to its other dating apps (Badoo, Chappy, Lumen) as well.
B&T MAGAZINE - June 28 - Lumen, the dating app exclusively for over 50s, has launched its first TV commercial in Australia. The 30-second TVC, created in-house, features over 50s dance troupe, Silver Classix Crew, performing Tron dance wearing LED suits. The finale of the energetic performance is signalled with a flood of light and the removal of LED hats, revealing the faces and ages of the eight dancers.
WALL STREET JOURNAL - June 14 - "We're looking for the big, big monsters who can partner with me", said Andrey Andreev, the Russian billionaire behind Bumble. He plans to spend $100M creating an array of new dating apps, part of an expansion and revamp of the privately held holding company that also owns Lumen, a dating app for over 50s, and gay-dating app Chappy. Last year, Match offered to acquire Mr. Andreev's group of companies, but Mr. Andreev declined, according to people familiar with the matter. The deal talks valued the umbrella group at ~$1B.
CAMPAIGNLIVE - June 12 - Lumen, the dating app for those 50 years and older, has unveiled an international campaign to tell consumers: "50 is Just the Start." For the effort, Lumen partnered with The Silver Classix Crew, Atlanta's official 50+ dance team, which has performed at professional sports events, on TV and in commercials and music videos.
YAHOO NEWS - June 6 - Lumen co-founder Charly Lester talks about her dating app for singles who are over 50 years old. The app uses AI to check new users' age and identity. They are also required to take a selfie. Charly Lester was inspired to launch Lumen because many people were asking her what dating app their divorced parents could use and she did not have the answer.
THE NEXT WEB - May 9 - Bumble has recently introduced AI to automatically censor unsolicited dick pics to make online dating for women a safer and friendlier space. Starting in June, users of dating apps including Bumble, Badoo, Chappy, and Lumen will have access to the AI-based tool "Private Detector." The tool, which allegedly has a 98% accuracy in spotting nudes, will warn users of an image it deems as "lewd" or offensive. "Putting women's safety first is out top priority," says Louise Troen, Bumble's VP of Internal Marketing and Communications in the UK. "We have 1000s of moderators, all around the world, looking for it. AI is built into Bumble that can monitor and find images like this."
TECH GUIDE - May 6 - Lumen is a dating platform for over 50s. It was launched in September 2018 and provides a safe and age-appropriate environment for older men and women. The app's new feature - Lumen Social - allows members to join groups based in interests in travel, sports, home and garden, TV and film, food and drink and meet and greets. This feature is designed to connect users via group chats with new friends who share their interests.
TECH CRUNCH - Apr 25 - "Private Detector" feature will identify inappropriate photos and label them as such in chat, giving users the option to view the photo or report the user. Badoo CEO Andrey Andreev opted to have his team build the tech in-house. The company claims 98% accuracy. This feature fits into something Bumble CEO Whitney Wolfe Herd has been promoting - safe online dating for women with less harassment. Wolfe Herd has started approaching the issue of unsolicited illicit photos from a legislative track as well. She has been working with the Texas state legislature to pass a bill that makes it illegal to send clearly unsolicited lewd photos. The "Private Detector" functionality goes live in June on Bumble as well as on Badoo, Chappy and Lumen.