Whitney Wolfe started Bumble, an app where women make the first move, after a difficult time in her own life.
After co-founding Tinder, Whitney left and brought a sexual harassment suit against the company. She faced backlash online that made her question what she should do next.
“I had experienced a lot of strangers on the internet, calling me a lot of names. It affected me so deeply and made me so sad. It made my confidence go to zero,” Whitney, now Bumble’s CEO, told CNNMoney.
“I really felt completely lost and scared, and I felt like I had lost a piece of my identity. I didn’t know who I was anymore and I was letting these strangers on the internet define that.”
Tinder did not admit liability, but Whitney eventually settled her suit and got an undisclosed settlement. And the comments she received gave her an idea about how to help women online.
“You have to start a business to solve something that’s a personal pain point. That’s where the best businesses come from,” Whitney said.
She set out to create a women-only app that could be a place where users could exchange compliments with each other — no negativity allowed.
At about this time she connected with Andrey Andreev, the CEO of social networking site Badoo.
“He believed in the values and in the direction, but he kind of looked at me like I was a little bit crazy and said, ‘Why are you not doing this in dating?'” Whitney said about Andreev, who would eventually become her Bumble co-founder.
Her fiance was also a huge support system for her when launching the app.
“He told me, ‘Don’t be scared to go back into the dating world. Those strangers on the internet, they’re not gonna get you and if they do, who cares? You’re bigger than that. You can have impact.'”
Whitney decided to keep the women-centric focus but create a dating app where women would have the power to initiate a connection.
“The idea was to give women the control to guide the conversation in the direction they wanted,” Whitney said. “To take the pressure off of the man from maybe thinking he needs to start with something aggressive or something really out there, and allowing the woman to say, ‘You know what, I’m going to be in the driver’s seat.'”
Whitney said she wanted to create a place where women didn’t have to wait around for a man to start things.
“The last however many decades it’s been all about he’s just not that into you, or how to keep a guy interested, or how to win the guy and why men love women that play hard to get, or whatever these antiquated archaic ideas are,” shew said. “I felt it was time to say, ‘Stop. This is not right.'”
Bumble now has about 20 million users worldwide with more than 50,000 new users joining every day.
The app also has a component for people looking for friends. A networking section for professionals will launch this fall.
“It is our hope and our wish, that as women join the app, they will find the confidence to go after what they want. If that’s making the first move on the app, or if that’s making the first move in business or friendship, go after the life you want.”