It was only a mere six years ago when Whitney Wolfe Herd reinvented the dating app structure by giving women the ability to “control the conversation.”
And even if you’ve never downloaded the little yellow beehive, it’s fairly likely you’d recognize the name as it has become one of America’s fastest-growing dating apps since hitting the app store, Forbes reported. In fact, in 2019 alone the app garnered more than 6.6 million downloads, according to data gathered by mobile research firm Sensor Tower.
Unlike its competitors, the app flips the typical social script by requiring that conversations be initiated by women. Its been dubbed by some as a Sadie Hawkins-style dating app.
“We empower women by giving them the ability to control the conversation when dating, finding friends, and networking online,” the website says. “Bumble has made it necessary, and therefore acceptable, for women to make the first move.”
The company touted that its rare structure “of putting women in charge and employing robust reporting” resulted in incomparably low reports of harassment and abuse.
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However, Wolfe Herd’s journey into the digital dating scene didn’t start with Bumble. In fact, prior to her start with the multibillion-dollar company, she co-founded its biggest competitor: Tinder.
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By 2012, after graduating from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas, Wolfe Herd co-founded and became the vice president of marketing for the California-based company, according to her LinkedIn account.
However, her stint at Tinder was short-lived. By 2014, Wolfe Herd left the company after a terrible breakup with her co-founder, Justin Mateen, Fast Company reported. She later filed a suit alleging sexual harassment. Tinder denied any wrongdoing and the suit was eventually settled, Forbes reported.
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Shortly after, she began to cultivate her own empire, which was originally intended to be a “women’s social platform” rather than a dating app, with the help of Andrey Andreev, a London-based entrepreneur who created the dating app Badoo in 2006, Forbes reported.
Andreev, who met Wolfe Herd in 2013 while she was working for Tinder, had reached out to her with a job offer after she left Tinder. However, she made it clear she wasn’t interested. She told him about her desire to create a women-centric social brand, according to the outlet.
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After cautioning her that she should stick within the dating sector, Andreev handed over $10 million for an initial investment as well as committing additional funds to fuel the company’s growth. This earned him a 79 percent stake in the company. Wolfe Herd would be named the founder and CEO and take 20 percent, Forbes reported.
By 2016, the company, which is still the only dating app where women make the first move, expanded its social network with Bumble BFF (Bumble For Friends) to help people establish friendships. One year later, the company developed Bumble Bizz, which caters to professional networking,
By 2018 Wolfe Herd had made Forbes coveted “30 under 30” list, which tracks trailblazing entrepreneurs throughout North America. That same year, Wolfe was also named amongst TIME’s list of the world’s most influential people.
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