Bumble buys community building app Geneva to expand further into friendships

Dating app maker Bumble has acquired Geneva, an online platform built around forming real-world groups and clubs. The company said that the deal is designed to help it expand its focus from “one-to-one connections to groups and communities” — friendships, in other words.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but the announcement comes shortly after Bumble revealed that it would be pursuing acquisitions to drive growth, with CEO Lidiane Jones (who joined Bumble from Slack last year) noting on a recent earnings call that the company would consider the “value add” of an acquisition and how it might align with its own business goals.

“There’s certainly a lot of interesting technology businesses across the industry that we’re constantly looking at, but we immediately look at if it actually aligns and accelerates with our long-term mission here,” Jones said on the company’s Q1 earnings call this month.

To date, Bumble has flirted with M&A sparingly, snapping up French dating app Fruitz two years ago followed last year when it doled out $10 million for Official, an app for couples.

Friends will be friends

While Bumble is greatest known for its dating app, the company recently indicated that friendships could be a bigger focus for the company moving forward, due in part to a broader decline in dating apps which led Bumble to lay off 30% of its workforce this year off the back of weak earnings. Bumble already has a separate friends app built around meeting people locally, and Geneva builds on that concept.

Founded out of New York in 2019, Geneva is all about meeting like-minded people in a given area, whether that’s to form running clubs or meetups to discuss the latest books. The company had raised around $36 million from notable backers including Coatue; Instagram founders Mike Krieger and Kevin Systrom; Sequoia’s Michael Moritz; and Patreon co-founder Jack Conte.

In a LinkedIn post this morning, Jones said the plan moving forward will be to “accelerate our friendship product using Geneva’s powerful technology platform.” This sounds like Geneva will ultimately be incorporated into Bumble, with Geneva ceasing to operate as a standalone platform, but when asked by TechCrunch, the company wouldn’t confirm what would happen next. In a separate post, Geneva said that it will continue to support “your existing groups,” and it is temporarily making Geneva invite-only through the transition. But it’s not clear what will happen to Geneva once the acquisition closes, which is expected in Q3 2024.