Acquisitions / Business

Inside the acquisition of Brooklyn dating app Bae

Or: Why brothers Brian and Justin Gerrard are heading to San Francisco.

Cofounders Brian and Justin Gerrard, of Bae. (Photo by Tyler Woods)

When Bae announced earlier this month it was being acquired by a bigger firm in San Francisco, we wondered why. By all accounts, the mobile dating app focused on the African diaspora was doing well. But nonetheless, the app, founded by brothers Brian and Justin Gerrard, was moving from Bed-Stuy to San Francisco and folding into if(we), the parent company of the social networks Tagged and Hi5, among others.

We caught up with Brian Gerrard recently to find out more about the acquisition.

Technical.ly Brooklyn: Why did you guys decide to sell?

Brian Gerrard: Tagged is where we would aspire Bae to be in 10 years. They have tremendous technical talent and a time testing business. We are happy to bring our marketing and growth expertise to their business via the acqui-hire.

TB: How much did it sell for?

BG: The terms of the deal are currently undisclosed.

TB: How were you approached by if(we)?

BG: if(we) is chasing a similar user to Bae in the U.S. — Black singles. We had success with tapping into the Black millennial market, and so they saw an opportunity to bring us in and do so on a larger scale. With nearly 100 employees and strong earnings, if(we) has all of the resources for us to continue our mission of connecting Black people across the country.

TB: What will you guys be doing for them? Will it be in SF?

BG: I am heading up marketing and innovation at if(we) in San Fran. I am also continuing my startup consulting practice via brianjgerrard.co.

TB: And then more generally, what was the experience like of building up a product from nothing to be valuable enough to have an exit? What were the roadblocks? What kept you going?

BG: Building a product was a tremendous effort, an experience that I wouldn’t change for anything. I can say without question, I have learned more about business working on Bae then I have in my entire career. Fundamentally, you cannot understand what it takes to launch a new product, without having ever “launched a new product.” The tolerance for failure that startup founders require is a cornerstone of our success.

Series: Brooklyn

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