Whitney Wolfe has built an incredible brand and reputation for Bumble, an online dating app that puts women in the driver’s seat of initiating a relationship. This app has been her pride and joy ever since she first developed the concept, and she recently sent a clear message to her closest competitors that she is not turning her back on the core principles of her company for any amount of money. A recent article published in Forbes details a buyout offer from Bumble’s major competition, the Match Group. This conglomerate owns many of the rival dating sites that are usually left in the dust by the time women discover the ease and convenience of using Bumble to meet their match.
Even though the initial offer came in at $450 million, this amount was widely believed to be far too low for the brand value that Bumble has earned over the past several years. Whitney Wolfe certainly agreed with that assessment and conveyed in no uncertain terms that she would remain at the helm of Bumble for many years to come. Other dating apps have failed so far to replicate the privacy settings and user controls that Bumble has been able to offer its users. For example, if a man and a woman both indicate that they are interested in each other romantically on the app, the woman must reach out to the man to begin a further conversation. This prevents women from being harassed on the app or receiving so many useless messages that they are too overwhelmed to make any meaningful connections with anyone else on Bumble.
Whitney Wolfe has stayed true to the concept of women taking the lead in the dating world and vows to maintain the controls she has worked so hard to implement in the app. While other apps may have a high volume of users, Bumble also continues to grow its user base and has been more successful at marketing specifically to female users. Any future buyout offer from competing brands would have to take these factors into consideration.
What makes this decision even more principled for Whitney Wolfe is that she originally worked for Tinder, one of the companies owned by the Match Group. Whitney Wolfe was behind the initial concept for Tinder and is credited with making the app legitimate at a time when many skeptics questioned whether the concept would take hold. She worked tirelessly for the company and was the driving force behind its success. Whitney Wolfe stood her ground when she was sexually harassed by Justin Mateen, the former CMO for Tinder. After prevailing in a settlement against Tinder and Mateen, Whitney Wolfe went her own way to found Bumble and has never looked back since.
This harrowing experience at a formative point in Whitney Wolfe’s career was a motivating factor behind her insistence that women should be able to exercise more control over their interactions with potential romantic partners. She set out to create a different kind of online dating experience and was wildly successful in developing Bumble. Even though Bumble has proven highly effective and easy to use, Whitney Wolfe has kept the fee for the app at a very affordable $9.99 per month.
In light of her resounding victory in launching an app that was specifically designed for women, Whitney Wolfe looked for ways to broaden her horizons and make the app an even more valuable asset for women. Bumble recently rolled out a new feature that allows women to meet other women who are looking to make friends in their geographic area. Whitney Wolfe relied on her own personal experience as a busy professional in identifying the challenge that many women have in finding friends outside of their initial social circle from college. She found that it is increasingly difficult to meet new people for social activities when moving around to new areas and exploring new cities.
The Bumble friend-finding component of the app can be used in conjunction with the matchmaking features or as a separate function. Women can choose whether they want their profile to be viewed only for friendly purposes or to meet a possible match. Whitney Wolfe expects that this feature will mostly be used by women because they often find themselves maxed out on time and energy for breaking into new social circles. She says that she is very excited about this new direction of the app and is looking forward to exceeding users’ expectations in the years to come.
When asked what users can look forward to next from Bumble, Whitney Wolfe responded that she hopes to launch a professional networking feature. This would be very similar to the friend-finding function of Bumble and would be specifically targeted to working women. While using the professional networking profile option, Bumble users will be able to search for other women within their industries and in their surrounding areas. They will also be able to identify women with similar educational and professional backgrounds. This could come in handy during a job search or for seeking out new business or sales opportunities. The possibilities are endless right now, but Whitney Wolfe remains confident that the expansion of Bumble into new forays of relationships for women will never come at the cost of user privacy or safety.
While many other apps and online businesses have been hit with cyber attacks and concerns over data privacy, Whitney Wolfe has been steadfast in her commitment to protecting the safety of users. Bumble has some of the most secure technology and systems in place to make sure that all users’ data is as safeguarded as possible from hackers. Whitney Wolfe realizes that users place their trust in the app when sharing some of the most personal details about themselves in the hopes of meeting their match. She takes her role as the leader of the company and her duties to her customers very seriously in constantly seeking out the most secure ways to store data and monitor the app.