5 Things to Know about the Founder of Bumble

by Margherita Concina
16 Mar, 2021
© Bumble Inc. | Kristen Kilpatrick

In 2014, Whitney Wolfe Herd set out to change the online dating game. She is now the youngest woman to take a company public in the United States. Her online dating app Bumble is not just a pain in Tinder’s neck, but also a female-centric space to build meaningful connections

1. She’s the world youngest self-made female billionaire

Just last month, Wolfe Herd finally pushed the button: with her baby son Bo perched on her lap, she finalized Bumble’s transition from unicorn to public company. If you’re thinking of investing in Bumble stocks, you’re not alone – just a couple of weeks after its stock market debut, the firm was valued at $15.69 billion. Herd is the majority shareholder, and at just 31 years old she has a whopping net worth of $1.6 million.

2. She’s passionate about women’s rights

From the very beginning, Whitney’s entrepreneurship has always been tinted with activism. At only 19 years old, she set up The Help Us Project, raising funds to contrast the effects of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Next came Tender Heart, a charitable company that aimed to raise awareness of fair trade and human trafficking. But her masterpiece is of course Bumble, which has been widely praised for its female-centric approach. Wolfe, who has been vocal about her experiences with discrimination and sexual harassment, wanted to create an empowering online space for women. And a safe one, too: in 2019, she helped push forward Texas State legislation that criminalized the distribution of unsolicited lewd pictures. In other words, no more nudes from your matches – unless you ask for them. 

3. She created the Tinder brand

With more than 100 million users, Bumble is Tinder’s fiercest competitor. But before launching her own dating titan, Wolfe cut her teeth as a co-founder of the world’s most popular dating app. The 22-year-old Whitney was hired by the start-up incubator Hatch as Tinder’s Vice President of Marketing, and she is even credited with coming up with the company’s name. Unfortunately, her experience with Tinder ended on an extremely sour note: after a bad breakup with her superior Justin Mateen, she was allegedly undermined, harassed and called offensive names on a regular basis. Despite her pivotal role in building Tinder’s brand, her colleagues reportedly threatened to fire her and tried to revoke her co-founder status, stating that having a young female founder “makes the company seem like a joke”.  Wolfe left the company and filed a lawsuit against them, which ended in a settlement.

4. Her app is not just for dating!

Wolfe’s distressing experience at Tinder informed her vision for Bumble. She initially envisioned the app as a female-focused network, a hive for women to make friends and form business partnerships. Today, Bumble is primarily known in for its dating mode, where women famously have to make the first move in heterosexual matches. However, the additional modes Bumble Bizz and Bumble BFF fulfil Wolfe’s original ambition, connecting women around the world.

5. She's open about her mental health struggles

Whitney is a self-described workaholic. Her day starts at 5am, when she jumps straight into emails; she used to wake up every couple of hours at night with the urge to check her inbox. She also struggles with anxiety, and during her Tinder lawsuit she suffered from depression as a result of a sudden surge of online hate. Today, Wolfe tries to keep her mental health in check, and encourages people to make time for self-care and spend time with their families, no matter how hectic life can get.

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