Bumble Founder Whitney Wolfe Herd Follows Her Own Course
In 2012, Whitney Wolfe Herd had just moved to Los Angeles and helped to co-found Tinder, but trouble behind the scenes soon brought that dream crashing down on her. Charges of sexual harassment and accusations of discrimination convinced Whitney that Tinder wasn’t the environment in which she wanted to work. She ended up leaving the company, but not her entrepreneurial spirit.Shortly after leaving her L.A. troubles behind, Whitney Wolfe Herd began developing Merci. Her idea was to create a female-only social media site that relied upon users complimenting one another and acting with kindness. Essentially, Ms. Wolfe Herd’s intent was to give women an opportunity to show that they can engage in good behavior with one another, away from adversarial influences.As fate would have it, Merci was the beginning of something even bigger for Whitney Wolfe Herd.
As she was developing the app, Whitney was approached by Andrey Andreev, Badoo CEO and founder, who wanted her to take the concept of Merci and develop it into a dating app. At first, Ms. Wolfe Herd resisted, disliking the idea of getting involved with another dating app business, but, after giving it some thought and discussing it with then-boyfriend Michael Herd, Whitney slowly changed her mind.In short, that’s how Bumble, the female-driven dating app, came into being. Bumble isn’t just Whitney’s baby. She owns just 20% of the company, while Badoo and Andreev hold 79% of the company’s ownership. The remaining 1% is shared by Christopher Gulczynski and Sarah Mick, who consulted on the development of the dating app and now work full-time with the company.Bumble is company run primarily by women and with a focus on the issues that concern women.
That was the dream that Whitney Wolfe Herd had for her social media site concept and it has been carried through to Bumble. As such, Bumble does things that most dating apps avoid, such as taking political stances. For instance, the Stoneman Douglas school shooting prompted Bumble to ban images of guns on the site. In speaking of that decision, Whitney says the dating app isn’t necessarily taking a stance on the issue of gun ownership, but just wants to provide a platform free of the intimidation and implications of violence that images of guns portray.That’s just one way that Whitney Wolfe Herd marches to her own beat. She will continue to do things her own way and, if the success of Bumble is any indication, people are okay with that. Whitney’s story empowers women and inspires everyone to connect on a deeper level, beyond gender roles. That’s all Whitney ever really wanted to provide in a dating app.