In mid-February, Whitney Wolfe Herd signed the IPO of Bumble with her son in her arms. At just 31 years old, the founder and CEO of this dating app has become a true benchmark for feminism and one of the wealthiest young women in the world. In fact, Forbes lists her among “the 100 richest self-made women.” Wolfe owns 11.6% of Bumble shares, and with the company’s debut on the stock market, his fortune has skyrocketed to $ 1.6 billion. But before creating this application in which women have to take the first step, he had already launched other organizations to save the ocean, claim fair trade or help any user find love.
Wolfe was born and raised in Salt Lake City, the capital of the State of Utah (United States). At the age of 11, he moved with his family to Paris and later returned to the United States to finish high school and go to university, according to The Washington Post newspaper. At that time this young woman was already an entrepreneurial woman. While studying International Relations at Southern Methodist University in the State of Texas, he launched two projects:
After the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, he founded a non-profit organization that sold bags of organic bamboo to support the Ocean Futures Society. Her bags attracted the attention of celebrities such as stylist Rachel Zoe or actresses Kate Bosworth and Denise Richards, according to the newspaper The Daily Campus of the Southern Methodist University.
A few months later, the young woman launched a line of clothes called Tender Heart. The garments were made in Nepal and their intention was to raise awareness about human trafficking and fair trade. For Wolfe, according to The Daily Campus, this project was born as “an experiment”. “We wanted to start with seven garments because we did not want to spend money if it was not going to respond well,” he said about the collection.
Those first two projects were the prelude to what was to come. Before creating Bumble, Wolfe co-founded another of the world’s most popular dating apps: Tinder. She was their vice president of marketing for two years. But his experience with this company came to a bitter end. In June 2014, he sued Tinder for sexual harassment. She alleged that her former boss and ex-partner, Justin Mateen, called her a “whore” and a “gold digger” and bombarded her with threatening and derogatory text messages, which she attached to her complaint, according to Forbes . The company denied wrongdoing, but Mateen was suspended and later resigned. The lawsuit resulted in the payment of a compensation of one million dollars.
Instead of leaving the sector, Wolfe created in 2014 with the Russian billionaire Andrey Andreev an application that would compete against Tinder and that, later, would lead him to be one of the richest women in the world. She had noticed that many of the smart women around her were still waiting for men to ask them out, ask for their phone numbers, or start the conversation on a dating app. “Despite all the advancements women had made in the workplace and spheres of power, the gender dynamics of dating and romance still seemed far too outdated,” says Wolfe in a letter posted on the Bumble website. .
It was then that he considered turning the situation around: “What if women took the first step and sent the first message?” Thus was born Bumble. If the application is characterized by something, it is because in heterosexual connections only girls can begin to speak. They have 24 hours to take the first step. If they don’t, the chat expires and it is only possible to speak to that person again if a subscription is paid. Tariq Shaukat, president of Bumble, explained in an interview with this newspaper that Wolfe “likes very much to say that the way a relationship begins is the way it will end.” “If you start with respect, there will continue to be respect. This is not only for women, it is also for men who want to be in that type of relationship and feel that this is what matters, “he explained. If there’s one thing Wolfe is convinced of, it’s that “when relationships are better for women, they’re better for everyone.”
Those social causes that Wolfe defended at the university, he continues to vindicate today. “I am more dedicated than ever to helping promote gender equality and ending the misogyny that still plagues society,” she says. In addition, Bumble has supported the Black Lives Matter movement with donations “to dismantle white supremacy and end the systemic racism that plagues the United States.”
Although Bumble was originally born to be a comfortable dating space for women, in the Today is much more than that. In addition to looking for a partner, the application also has a space to find new friends and even network . Users can connect with professionals from different sectors. After the company’s IPO, Wolfe shared on Instagram an image of the moment with which he encouraged his followers to never take no for an answer: “For anyone who is going through a setback, a low point or a losing streak. For anyone who feels powerless in their relationships, or who has had the courage to take the first step toward healthier ones. Today is for you. This is the result of starting over when it feels like the end. It is a testament to new beginnings, new paradigms, and new norms. Today has shown that barriers can be broken when we believe in a better way. ”