“Bumble really sets the stage for an empowered and modern way to connect, which educated and forward-thinking groups of people have really gravitated to.” – Whitney Wolfe Herd
When I moved to Denver earlier this year, I didn’t know a single person. I was relying on pure faith that everything would work out. I haven’t really felt like I’ve had a solid social support system since I left college, so when I moved to Denver, it was something that was really important for me to find. The problem is, it’s hard making friends as an adult. It requires a lot more vulnerability than it did when we were younger. So, when I heard that the dating app, Bumble, had a feature called Bumble BFF, it gave me a lot of hope in terms of meeting other women I could connect with in the city. Now, I have finally found the beautiful support system I was looking for, thanks to Bumble BFF. The founder of Bumble, Whitney Wolfe Herd, has redefined the way women are able to date, make friends, and do business, and it is a valuable resource in helping women propel many aspects of their lives.
This past December, Wolfe Herd was featured on the cover of Forbes’ “30 Under 30” issue, making it the second consecutive time she made an appearance on the list (McBee). She was also featured in Time 100, “World’s Most Influential People of 2018 (McBee).” This success, however, was not a smooth ascent. One of her earlier ventures was co-founding the popular dating app, Tinder. Wolfe Herd would eventually file a lawsuit for sexual harassment, discrimination, and wrongful termination against another one of Tinder’s co-founders (McBee). This lawsuit lead to numerous hateful and misogynistic online attacks on Wolfe Herd. In an interview with the founders of Skimm, another popular startup created by women, she talked about the time period following the lawsuit saying, “It hurt me, and it made me feel really bad about myself (Zakin & Weisberg).” When asked how she made the transition from Tinder to Bumble, Wolfe Herd replied, “I would say the wheels started turning quite quickly, but not in a ‘how can I turn this into a business?’ That was not the direction. It was more of, I don’t like how I feel, there’s something broken here, there’s a bigger problem than just me, this affects people around the world, how can I solve this (Zakin & Weisberg)?” This experience propelled Wolfe Herd to create the app Merci, a social networking site that only allowed compliments and kindness to be exchanged between women.
Wolfe Herd was approached by Andrey Adreev, founder and CEO of Badoo, the largest dating platform in the world (Tepper). Adreev liked the idea of Merci, but encouraged Wolfe Herd to bring it into the dating sphere, by offering funding and tech assistance (Tepper). Wolfe Herd was understandably reluctant to give dating apps another go after her experience with Tinder, but she eventually decided it was an opportunity she couldn’t pass up. Components of Merci would make it to the dating app that would eventually come to be known as Bumble (Tepper). Making women feel safe and in control was an important aspect for Wolfe Herd. She also sought to disrupt the gender imbalance of women typically having to wait for men to make the first move. She incorporated this idea by designing the app so that women must start the conversation with men. “When you think about it, women are making the first move, which is empowering,” Wolfe Herd says in an interview with SMU Magazine. “We tolerate zero abusive behavior, so that kindness piece is there, too (McBee).”
Bumble eventually added “Bumble BFF” and “Bumble Bizz” as an extension to the dating platform. Bumble BFF allows users to expand their social circle by connecting them with other user’s profiles in similar locations. Bumble’s website explains by saying, “Building a strong community is key to a happy, healthy life, no matter your romantic relationship status. Think about it: The people who surround you, in a platonic sense, are the ones who support you through life’s up and downs. Whether recovering from a job loss or breakup — or, on the flip side, celebrating a promotion or marriage — it’s your friends who’ll be cheering you along and offering their encouragement (Beehive)”. Bumble Bizz uses that same geolocation technology to allow networking between professionals. Bumble Bizz saw that other professional networking sites were lacking in the ability to connect users with people in their area. It was also too easy for men to send inappropriate messages (Bizz requires women to make the first move also, just like the dating platform.) This eliminates any suspicious messages saying “Hey there, congrats on the promotion. Can I buy you a celebratory drink?” from strangers named William who work in real estate when your experience lies in fashion merchandising.
Whitney Wolfe Herd hopes all three of these features will encourage women to make the first move in every aspect of their lives. Bumble is an important competitor in the dating realm. By creating a positive experience for women, who can often feel unsafe in the dating world, Bumble challenges other dating apps to follow suit, resulting in a more respectful environment where women are the ones in control. Bumble not only creates this environment for women in dating, but also in business and platonic friendships, two of the most important aspects of a person’s life. Wolfe Herd has been making huge strives to cultivate beneficial and respectful relationships for women that lead to opportunities that enhance so many aspects of our lives. I see these wonderful relationships forming all around me. I’ve made deep connections through Bumble BFF with women who are some of the most supportive people in my life, I have friends who just moved in with significant others they met on Bumble Date, and I have seen valuable business connections made on Bumble Bizz. Whitney Wolfe Herd is causing a widespread, positive impact on the way women are able to make connections in their lives.
Tepper, Fitz. “Whitney Wolfe Herd Doesn’t Care What She’s Supposed to Do.” TechCrunch, TechCrunch, 13 May 2018, techcrunch.com/2018/05/13/whitney-wolfe-herd-bumbles-founder-doesnt-care-what-shes-supposed-to-do/
McBee, Meredith. “Whitney Wolfe Herd ’11: Empowering Women to Make the First Move.” SMU Magazine, blog.smu.edu/smumagazine/2018/10/whitney-wolfe-herd-11-empowering-women-to-make-the-first-move/.
Zakin, Carly & Weisberg, Danielle, narrators. “Whitney Wolfe Herd: Founder and CEO of Bumble” Skimm’d from The Couch. Cadence13, Season 1, Episode 001, 2018. https://blog.theskimm.com
“Bumble, But for Besties? Yes! Here’s How to Use Bumble BFF — The BeeHive.” The BeeHive. Web. <http://thebeehive.bumble.com/bumbleblog/what-exactly-is-bumble-bff>.
Featured Image: Jerod Harris/Getty Images North America
Image 1: LeAnn Mueller
Image 2: Kristen Kilpatrick
Image 3: Jamel Toppin/Forbes