The dating app Bumble is continually increasing its influence, amassing more users and more sales revenue under the leadership of CEO Whitney Wolfe Herd. Herd, a graduate of Southern Methodist University, transformed online dating with her app in which only women can message first and must write within 24 hours, before matches expire. Bumble recently moved its headquarters from an apartment high-rise in Austin, Texas, to a colorful and expertly-designed office building farther north of downtown, a change indicative of the app’s growing ambitions. With more than 22 million users and more than 70% growth year-over-year, those ambitions seem justified.
A Mode Switching option on the app lets Bumble users navigate between Bumble’s original dating interface and newer modes Bumble BFF and Bumble Bizz. BFF and Bizz continue with the theme of women’s empowerment but change the focus from dating to friendship and networking. No matter what mode the user is in, a woman must make the first move. BFF is designed to help users find new friends, as opposed to romantic partners. Bizz aims to connect people of both sexes who are looking to expand their professional network. As Whitney Wolfe Heard explained to Time magazine, Bizz presents a less formal approach to mentoring and networking than existing online platforms like LinkedIn, since users match quickly with people geographically proximate and are encouraged to chat, not just recruit.
Heard, who married fellow entrepreneur Michael Heard in 2017, is proud that Bumble recently became Austin’s latest “unicorn”, or startup worth more than $1 billion. Match Group, which owns Tinder, OKCupid, Match.com, and similar companies, took note of Bumble’s success and presented a buyout offer of $450 million in the summer of 2017, which Heard turned down, declining to comment on the exact reasons for her decision. Bumble seems to be doing well on its own at the moment but will continue to tantalize Match Group for its reach of the demographic representing college-aged millennials. Heard’s vision for Bumble will continue to rely on principles of female agency, and her own successful profile will boost the app’s reputation; she will be featured on the cover of Forbes’ 30 under 30 issue in December of this year.
Learn more about her: https://www.crunchbase.com/person/whitney-wolfe