Dating apps have formed an unlikely partnership: Tinder, Hinge, and Bumble are among the nine apps that have teamed up with the UK government to encourage their users to get vaccinated.
British app users will be able to add their vaccination status to their profiles, and will receive perks for doing so, according to a government press release published Monday.
The scheme is based on trust as there is no way of verifying users’ vaccine status, according to the BBC.
Tinder users will get a free “Super Like” – a feature allowing users to stand out on the platform – if they display the sticker. Relationship-focused app Hinge will give users a free “Rose” which puts their profiles to the top of a potential match’s feed.
Bumble will also give users discounts on premium features such as “Superswipes” if they add a “vaccinated” badge to the profile. Users will be able to share their COVID-19 dating preferences, such as whether they prefer to spend time indoors or outdoors, the press release said.
Dating platforms Badoo, Match, Muzmatch, OkCupid, OurTime, and Plenty of Fish have also joined the scheme. The partnership follows a similar campaign launched in the US last month.
“An important part of returning to normal is helping people feel safe as they connect in person,” Alexandre Lubot, CEO of Match Group said in a statement. “A unified push towards more vaccinations will allow people to once again meet in person and connect in meaningful ways.”
So far, just over 76% of UK adults have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, with more than 52% fully vaccinated, according to the latest government data.
A total of 31% of UK adults have said they would prefer to date someone who had received the jab, and 28% said they would not date an unvaccinated person, according to a YouGov poll in May.
OKCupid previously told Insider that its users who said they were willing to get the COVID-19 vaccine were more likely to receive “likes” from other users who said they would avoid the jab.
The advent of dating apps like Tinder and Bumble changed the dating game, introducing phrases like “swipe right” and “swipe left” into our lexicon and bringing the idea of speed dating to a new generation.
Later on, Bumble users asked the company for a service to help make friends instead of lovers – and in 2016 they got Bumble BFF, which allowed users to have two separate profiles for dating and friendship.
Since then, Bumble added another way to help people connect with one another in the digital age: Bumble Bizz.
What to know about Bumble Bizz
When you open up Bumble, you can decide what you’re swiping to find that day – if you go with your dating profile, you’ll be swiping for dates and potential partners. If you switch to Bumble BFF mode, which contains an entirely different version of your profile, you’ll be swiping to look for a new friend.
If you choose Bumble Bizz mode, you swap to yet another public profile – this one containing information about your work experience, education, professional goals, and passions. When you look through your swipe deck on this version of the app, you’re not looking for a partner or a friend – you’re networking.
Bumble Bizz lets you swipe through the names of professionals in your indicated industries and make connections with potential employers, experts in your field, recruiters, and fellow professionals.
The advantages of Bumble Bizz
Some people may hear about this new feature and wonder how it sets itself apart from other networking sites like LinkedIn. The benefit of Bumble is that it encourages connecting with new people, not just people you already work with.
On sites like LinkedIn, you’re often reliant on adding people you meet in real life to help you establish connections. Other than that, you can fill out your profile to the best of your ability and hope you get contacted by someone looking for a worker like you, but making those new connections isn’t the site’s primary function.
Bumble Bizz was created to help people form new connections – an ability that’s been severely impacted by the pandemic, disproportionately affecting young professionals who are too new to have large networks.
That’s not the only thing that sets Bumble Bizz apart, either. The central tenet behind Bumble is that it’s an app where women have to message men first, rather than the other way around.
Seeing how well this feature worked in the dating arena, Bumble decided to keep it when creating Bumble Bizz – in any male-female match, the woman always has to be the one to message first. In any same-sex pairing, the opportunity to speak first goes to whoever was the second person to swipe right.
Bumble hopes that this will cut down some of the sexual harassment that some women have reported on sites like LinkedIn.
A lot has changed since the early days of dating apps. New apps and features have arrived, giving people more options to help find their best match.
One of these apps is Bumble, which has become known in many circles as more of a true dating app – Tinder is often more associated with hookups – in large part because there’s a more even male-to-female ratio among its users, among dozens of other self-identifications.
In fact, Bumble has become so popular that it’s testing out new premium services. Bumble Boost is getting revamped to include even more features, and they’re also adding a higher tier, Bumble Premium.
What to know about Bumble Boost
Bumble Boost is the less expensive of the two paid options – in other words, sort of like halfway between Bumble and Bumble Premium. You don’t get some of the more exclusive features, but you get most of the important ones, and for a lot less.
Bumble Boost varies in cost, depending on how long you sign up for it. You can subscribe on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis, in addition to three- and six-month subscriptions. Boost’s cost may change as Bumble continues to test its paid features, but you’re often getting a larger discount for longer subscriptions.
Bumble is a dating app that was launched in 2014 by a former Tinder executive. Like Tinder, Bumble uses a swipe right/swipe left model to let users sort through and match with potential partners.
While the app’s approach is conventional enough that it will feel familiar to users of other dating apps, Bumble has a few unique features. For example, if a man and woman both “swipe right” on each other’s profiles, only the woman can send the first message.
How Bumble differs from other dating apps
Not only does Bumble (iOS, Android) differ from many dating apps by putting women in the driver’s seat – this is to reduce the volume of toxic and unwanted messages from men that many women face on dating apps – but the app supports a diverse range of orientations.
While various dating apps specialize in heterosexual or non-hetero relationships, Bumble supports them all. When creating a relationship, you get to specify both your gender – man, woman, non-binary, or literally dozens of other self-identifications – as well as which gender you’re interested in finding.
Bumble also has several modes: You can choose dating, BFF (for finding platonic friends), and Bizz (for career networking).
How Bumble works
To create a Bumble account, you’re required to be at least 18 years of age. To get started, you can sign in with your Apple or Facebook credentials or use your mobile phone number.
After uploading at least one photo and creating a profile, you can swipe right to indicate interest in another person. If that person also swipes right in a heterosexual pairing, the woman must make the first move.
If she doesn’t, the match expires after 24 hours, though users are given a limited option of extending a match for an additional 24 hours. (For same-sex matches, either person may start the conversation.)
Getting a coronavirus vaccine is the hottest thing right now. At least, that’s the impression you might get from dating apps, where people are mentioning they’ve got their shot as a way to meet likeminded people.
“We have seen a 137% increase in mentions of “vaccine” on our profiles [globally] between November and January,” Michael Kaye, a spokesperson from dating app OKCupid, told Insider.
Tinder said it has seen a 258% increase in profile mentions of vaccines between September and December, Tyla reported.
Bumble, another dating app, told Insider it had seen an increase in the number of people with the word “vaccine” or “vaccinated” in their Bumble profiles but did not elaborate. Grindr, an online dating app for gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer people, told Insider it did not collect data about COVID-19 vaccines.
“Not only is the vaccine becoming the biggest talking point on dating apps, it’s actually becoming a huge deal-breaker,” Kaye added.
Sarah Kelly, a journalist who hadn’t had a COVID-19 vaccine yet, tweeted January 31 that a man wrote to her on a dating app: “Ur real cool however I found someone who is also Vaccinated!!”
OKCupid includes a set of “matching questions” that users can voluntarily answer. The questions ask whether they would get vaccinated and whether they would cancel a date if a match wouldn’t get a shot. This then appears on their profile for potential suitors to see. The questions have been answered more than 17 millions times.
Kaye said people who answered that they would get a COVID-19 shot got more “likes” than those who said no. He said 40% of Millennial and Gen Z-aged OKCupid users would cancel a date with someone who wouldn’t take a vaccine. The figure was 18% higher for women compared with men. Most OKCupid daters are straight, but LGBTQ + people use the platform too.
So far, more than 212 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been administered across 90 countries, according to Johns Hopkins University. Most countries have prioritized those at highest risk of severe COVID-19 disease, namely older people who are less likely to be using OKCupid, Tinder, or Bumble. But key workers like health professionals and those with certain medical conditions have also been top of the priority list in some countries.
Some younger people in the US have been able to get a shot by queuing up outside pharmacies for leftover doses. Vaccine trial participants are another group of younger people who have been able to get a shot before others.
‘Fraught with dangers’
Dr. Nilufar Ahmed, a lecturer in Social Sciences at the University of Bristol, told Insider in a statement that the area was “fraught with dangers.” Meeting someone who was vaccinated does not reduce the risk of catching coronavirus or stop you from passing it on, she said.
Dr. Veronica Lamarche, a relationships expert from the Department of Psychology at the University of Exeter, didn’t think that it would necessarily open the “floodgates” for risky behavior, because often people who were conscientious enough to engage in protective health practices, were also more likely to be conscientious in other ways too.
“It will probably increase the likelihood that people feel safe to interact with other people because they’ve been vaccinated,” she said. “And then it’s really a question of vaccine efficacy at that point, whether or not it’s increasing their risks.”
‘Health disclosure nightmare’
Dating apps do not routinely verify whether someone has been immunized or not. In the US, dating apps would not be HIPAA-compliant if they shared health information.
Lamarche said daters could lie about their immunization status, and people might engage in dates that aren’t as safe as they expected. But she said that if health-based questions were compulsory and apps had to verify the details, you would get into a “health disclosure nightmare”.
“I think that is something that goes beyond just the simple question of the pandemic and something that needs to be considered in terms of the morality behind being forced to disclose these different types of health information,” she said.
Lawrence Young, a virologist and professor at Warwick University, told Insider that what it means to be “vaccinated” was unclear, and including all the relevant information in a short bio on a dating profile could be a challenge.
“There’s a whole issue about how many doses of the vaccine you get, because you do need two doses for most of these vaccines,” he said.
Young said that for him it was “a slippery slope.”
“Clearly people are at liberty to declare anything they wish to declare. But I do wonder about where you draw the line,” he said. “Do they say actually I’ve had a papilloma virus vaccine for instance, because that’s linked with cervical cancer and head and neck cancer.”
“Are you going to start mentioning other aspects of your health?” Young added. “Do you need to start doing DNA tests to see if you’re at increased susceptibility to various diseases?
‘Winning the war on the virus’
“I guess from a public health perspective, dating apps could help win the war on the virus, because people will go: if I want to date somebody, then I better be vaccinated,” Ivo Vlaev, professor of behavioural science at Warwick Business School, told Insider.
Young said most young people usually don’t get severe disease, but could end up with long-term complications of COVID-19 if they catch coronavirus, so it was important to protect as many people as possible with vaccinations.
Vlaev said all policy decisions impact our private lives. “The more governments and other organizations require vaccination status, the more we are going to require from each other,” he said.
“There aren’t any hard or written rules about how to date. So I think it’s interesting that we’re seeing that people put this information on their profile and that’s a way of signaling what the social norm is,” Lamarche said.
Kaye said a really positive impact of the pandemic was that people are talking more about important sexual health issues on their dating profiles, for example, whether they had been tested for sexually transmitted infections.
Lamarche said it could backfire, though, if some people say publicly that they haven’t been vaccinated or won’t get immunized.
“This could start to set a different set of norms and expectations, and disagreement on what is typical or what you should be doing if you want to get a partner,” Larmarche said. “You might see a counter-movement emerge.”
Lamarche said she generally thought it was probably a positive trend, especially to motivate younger groups who might feel disincentivized to get vaccines if they feel that COVID-19 is less of a factor in their lives.
“By and large, the benefits probably outweigh the negatives,” she said.
Bumble rose as much as 8.8% on Friday, extending gains after its massive post-IPO rally.
The dating app made its trading debut Thursday afternoon and quickly surged as investors rushed to the offering. Bumble stock gained as much as 85% at intraday highs and closed roughly 64% above the offering price of $43 a share.
The company raised $2.2 billion on Wednesday with its 50-million-share offering. Bumble’s offering price was upsized twice since filing for its IPO in January: once from its initial range of $28 to $30 a share, and again to $37 to $39 a share.
Bumble now trades on the Nasdaq with the ticker “BMBL.” It closed with a market cap of roughly $7.7 billion on Thursday.
The company reported having about 42 million monthly active users across its dating apps as of September 30. About 2.4 million of those users paid for premium features such as Bumble Boost or Bumble Premium, according to a regulatory filing. Apart from the app of the same name, Bumble also owns Badoo, another location-based social discovery app.
CEO Whitney Wolfe Herd told CNBC on Thursday that Bumble aims to convert more of its users to paying subscribers through investments in monetization features and new products. Wolfe Herd made history on Thursday by becoming the youngest female founder to take an American company public.
The market debut also brings a new option for investors looking to bet on online dating. Match Group – which owns Tinder, Hinge, Match, and other services – was previously the only major dating service to trade publicly. Match closed Thursday with a market cap of $45.8 billion.
Online dating can be messy. The companies that run online dating can be messier.
Match Group, which started as one lonely Stanford Business School graduate’s attempt to build a less embarrassing way to find love online in the ’90s, has turned into a titan that owns nearly every US dating site.
College campus mainstay Tinder, serious relationship finder OkCupid, and Christian teen dating site Upward all belong to Match Group. Billionaire Barry Diller’s holding group IAC founded Match Group before it spun out the dating conglomerate last year.
Bumble, however, is conspicuously absent from Match’s portfolio. Bumble’s CEO, ex-Tinder executive Whitney Wolfe Herd, has a toxic history with the online dating group.
Ahead of Bumble’s entrance into Nasdaq, here’s the decades-long history into how Match Group became the owner of practically every online dating space in the country.
Match Group was founded in February 2009 after the holding company IAC decided to bundle all dating sites it owned. IAC’s initial purchase of Match.com dates back to the 1990s.
Stanford Business School graduate Gary Kremen founded Match.com in 1995 to design a meeting place for older professionals looking for long-term relationships, SF Gate reported.
But Kremen left Match.com in 1996 after butting heads with the firm’s investors. He walked away with just $50,000, Insider reported.
Ticketmaster Inc., which had recently been bought out by USA Networks Inc. (later renamed IAC), bought Match.com in 1999 for $50 million. Cendant Corporation bought the matchmaking upstart a year earlier for $6 million, per SF Gate.
During the 2000s, IAC chairman Barry Diller turned Match.com into one of the most successful online dating companies in the US.
Jim Safka, a former ETrade and AT&T executive, took over as Match.com CEO in 2004 after years of stalled growth.
Match had grow its subscriber base by 10% just a few months after Safka joined, The Wall Street Journal reported in 2007, partially due to his emphasis on marketing to older demographics. Revenue increased 68% between 2003 and 2006, going from $185.3 million to $311.2 million, D Magazine reported.
During Safka’s leadership, Match became the one of best-performing companies in Diller’s portfolio, per D Magazine.
Barry Diller decided to form Match Group after breaking up IAC into five different companies in 2008.
Diller won a court battle to break up IAC into five companies: the Home Shopping Network; Ticketmaster; time-share company Interval; LendingTree; and IAC, which would include Match.com and Ask.com, per the NYT.
In February 2009, Match Group officially formed, as IAC set its sights on more dating platforms.
Diller acquired some of the hottest online dating sites in the years following his decision to splinter off Match Group.
IAC acquired People Media for $80 million in cash in July 2009, months after Match Group’s inception. Tech Crunch reported the deal included 27 targeted dating sites, including BlackPeopleMeet.com and SingleParentMeet.com, with a combined 255,000 subscribers.
In 2011, IAC’s Match Group announced another blockbuster acquisition of OkCupid for $50 million. OkCupid differed from other dating sites at the time by skipping the subscription-model and offering services free of charge. OkCupid, geared toward younger people, raised $6 million in funding prior to its acquisition, per TechCrunch.
Today, Match Group’s portfolio of apps includes:
Match, the company’s original app, which is available in 25 countries
Tinder, which lets users swipe through potential matches
Hinge, an app focused on finding relationships
POF (Plenty of Fish), one of the largest dating sites in Match’s portfolio and available in over 20 countries
OkCupid, which asks users multiple choice questions to determine compatibility
OurTime, a dating app for singles over 50
Meetic, which serves European countries
Pairs, which serves Asian countries
Upward, a Christian dating app for Gen Z and millennials
According to data from mobile analyst firm Sensor Tower, as of 2014, Match Group’s portfolio of apps saw an estimated 56 million installs globally. In the first three quarters of 2020, Match Group reached 82 million installs worldwide, an increase of roughly 46%.
The road to attaining what is essentially a monopoly on dating hasn’t been smooth, and it began with the birth of Tinder.
Match Group owns a sizable stake in the multibillion-dollar dating app industry, Vox reported, with a report from Apptopia estimating the company has cornered about 60% of the dating app market with its suite of apps.
Match Group has evaded antitrust investigation due in part to lax oversight by the Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission, Evan Gilbert wrote in the NYU Law Review in 2019.
Monopolies are also “hard to prove,” and the FTC may not view Match Group as a big threat, Christopher Sagers, a professor at the Cleveland-Marshall College of Law, told Yahoo Finance.
In January 2012, Hatch Labs, a startup “sandbox” launched by IAC to incubate mobile apps, hired entrepreneur Sean Rad as general manager. During a Hatch Labs hackathon that February, Rad, who had been considering creating a dating product, worked with developer Joe Muñoz to create the prototype for Tinder.
Jonathan Badeen and Chris Gulczynski were hired soon after to help with front-end and design, respectively. Whitney Wolfe Herd was hired by Hatch Labs in May of that year and Justin Mateen was brought in as a contractor. The app was originally called Match Box.
By August 2012, what had been renamed “Tinder” launched on Apple’s App Store. In a few months, Tinder had made a million matches, mainly as a result of marketing heavily to fraternities and sororities on college campuses.
By April 2013, Tinder officially incorporated, with Rad, Badeen, and Mateen considered the company’s cofounders. Rad served as CEO.
In 2014, Wolfe Herd, then Tinder’s vice president of marketing, sued Tinder and IAC for sexual harassment and discrimination. Wolfe Herd alleged that Mateen, her former boyfriend, harassed her while she worked for the company.
Wolfe Herd alleged that she had held the title of Tinder cofounder, which was later revoked. She also claimed in her suit that Mateen verbally harassed her following their breakup, and that Rad and Match.com CEO Sam Yagan did nothing about. Eventually, Wolfe Herd resigned.
After text messages between Wolfe Herd and Mateen were published as part of the suit, Mateen was suspended and ultimately resigned. In November 2014, the lawsuit was settled for an undisclosed sum, but reports from the time pegged it at “just over” $1 million.
Rad also decided to step down in the wake of the scandal and so IAC could find a more experienced CEO.
By 2015, Rad was back at the helm of Tinder, just as Match Group went public.
Match Group’s stock opened at $12 per share and the company raised roughly $400 million, on the low end of what it hoped to raise with the initial public offering.
The IPO came shortly after a bizarre interview with Rad in which he discussed his sex life. The article also mentioned Tinder’s number of users, which Rad wasn’t authorized to discuss on the eve of the IPO. (A quiet period prior to an IPO bars executives from publicly discussing certain matters.)
Match Group had to file an update with the Securities and Exchange Commission to clear up any confusion about Rad’s interview.
One year later, Rad became chairman of Tinder and Greg Blatt became Tinder’s CEO while simultaneously serving as CEO and chairman of Match Group. By 2017, Tinder had merged under the Match Group umbrella.
In 2018, Rad and nine other Tinder employees sued IAC, claiming IAC purposely undervalued the startup. The lawsuit sought $2 billion in damages.
When IAC merged Tinder with Match Group in 2017, the suit argued, Tinder employees’ options in the rapidly growing app were “stripped away,” leaving them with options in Match instead, which was less valuable.
The suit also argued that Blatt valued Tinder far lower than Tinder’s cofounders believed it to be worth. Additionally, Rosette Pambakian, Tinder’s vice president of marketing and communications, alleged that Blatt had groped her at a Tinder holiday party in 2016.
IAC sought to dismiss the suit, which a New York state appeals court rejected in 2019. IAC also counter-sued Rad for $400 million, alleging he had improperly recorded conversations with his superiors.
Starting in 2017, Match Group set its sights on another dating upstart: Hinge, an app focused on finding long-term connections.
Match took a share in the app that September, and in June 2018, acquired a 51% stake in the company.
From Match’s initial investment to the following year, Hinge saw a 400% increase in users, particularly on the East Coast of the US. Hinge, which had been described as the “anti-Tinder,” removed the swipe feature from its app and shifted to more fleshed-out user profiles with a goal of helping users find relationships.
By December 2019, IAC announced it was spinning off its stake in Match Group. “We’ve long said IAC is the ‘anti-conglomerate’ – we’re not empire builders,” Barry Diller, IAC’s chairman, said in a statement at the time.
“We’ve always separated out our businesses as they’ve grown in scale and maturity and soon Match Group, as the seventh spin-off, will join an impressive group of IAC progeny collectively worth $58 billion today,” Diller told CNBC in a statement.
By July 2020, IAC and Match Group completed their separation. IAC said that given Match’s market capitalization, it was the largest company IAC has separated in its history.
Match Group introduced four new board members, including actor Ryan Reynolds and Rupert Murdoch’s third wife, Wendi.
Match Group CEO of 14 years, Mandy Ginsberg, stepped down a year later.
Ginsberg said in a letter to employees she left for personal reasons, including undergoing a preventative double mastectomy and witnessing a tornado demolish her Dallas home.
Former Tinder COO Shar Dubey took over for Ginsberg, and became one of few women of color in chief executive roles at Fortune 500 firms.
Meanwhile, Wolfe Herd had been building a company of her own: Bumble, a dating app aiming to create a comfortable and empowering online dating space for women.
Wolfe Herd was reluctant to build another dating app after her experience at Tinder, but Andrey Andreev, the cofounder of dating app Badoo, convinced her. Along with two former Tinder employees — cofounder Chris Gulzcynski and former vice president of design Sarah Mick — they launched Bumble in December 2014.
Andreev made an initial investment of $10 million and became the majority owner with a 79% stake. Wolfe Herd became CEO with a 20% stake in Bumble, according to Forbes.
Bumble’s basic mechanisms worked like Tinder’s: Users could swipe right on someone they were interested in and swipe left on someone they weren’t, with one catch — only women had the ability to make contact first.
Wolfe Herd told Insider in 2015 that she wanted the app to empower women and feel more modern overall.
By the end of 2017, two years after launching, Bumble had amassed more than 22 million users. Match Group came calling.
According to a report from Forbes’ Clare O’Connor, Match Group offered $450 million for the startup sometime around June 2017, but Bumble rejected the offer.
The talks reportedly continued after that: in November of that year, both Forbes and TechCrunch reported that Match Group was still trying to buy Bumble at a $1 billion valuation.
But the spurned acquisition offer was the beginning of a soured relationship between Match Group and Tinder. In 2018, the companies sued each other, launching a heated legal battle that lasted for over two years.
In March 2018, Match Group filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Bumble, accusing the startup of copying Tinder’s technology, particularly its design and the process for matching users. The suit also alleged that Gulzcynski and Mick stole confidential information from Tinder.
Bumble claimed in its suit that Match Group used the acquisition talks to improperly obtain proprietary information about the company and used the lawsuit to make Bumble look less attractive to other potential buyers.
The two companies reportedly tried, unsuccessfully, to settle. In September of that year, Bumble announced it was taking Match Group to court as well as preparing for an initial public offering.
In June 2020, Match Group and Bumble announced that they had settled all litigation between them. Details of the settlement weren’t disclosed, but both companies said they were “pleased with the amicable resolution.”
But Bumble has remained Match Group’s biggest competitor and has become a multibillion-dollar behemoth in its own right.
In late 2019, after reports of Badoo’s history of drug-fueled parties and sexist behavior, Badoo founder Andreev sold his entire stake in MagicLab, the umbrella company for Badoo and Bumble, to the Blackstone Group. The deal valued the company at $3 billion.
By July 2020, MagicLab was renamed Bumble and Wolfe Herd was named CEO of the whole company, overseeing 750 employees worldwide. Wolfe Herd has retained a 19% stake in the company.
Now, as the pandemic continues to keep much of the world locked down, singles are flocking to dating apps, helping fuel the growth of both Bumble and Match Group’s suite of apps.
Match Group reported better-than-expected third-quarter earnings last November, particularly when it came to Tinder: the company saw revenue growth and an increase in subscribers in the third quarter, despite the pandemic.
“Tinder remains the highest grossing app in the Lifestyle category in ~100 countries and has grown direct revenue from essentially zero in 2014 to an expected nearly $1.4 billion this year,” the company wrote in its letter to shareholders.
Match Group also reported in its third-quarter earnings that Hinge subscriptions were up 82% last year and revenue had grown more than 200% year-over-year.
For Bumble’s part, Wolfe Herd told CNN’s Poppy Harlow on the “Boss Files” podcast that there have been some advantages to dating app users during the pandemic.
“More genuine connections are forming out of this, and people are really, you know, being secure in who they’re meeting before that eventual physical meet-up ever begins,” Wolfe Herd said.
Perhaps that’s why on the dating app she cofounded, women make the first move in heterosexual relationships. And Wolfe Herd’s next move may be among her boldest – Bumble publicly filed for an IPO on Friday.
The dating company filed a form S-1 for its IPO with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for an offering size of up to $100 million. But that figure is likely a placeholder: Bumble could seek a valuation as high as $8 billion, Bloomberg reported.
The company is looking to trade under the symbol “BMBL” on the Nasdaq. Bumble confidentially filed IPO paperwork with the SEC in 2020, and Bloomberg reported it planned on going public in February, possibly around Valentine’s Day, of this year.
A representative for Wolfe Herd at Bumble did not respond to Business Insider’s request for comment on Wolfe Herd’s career, net worth, or personal life.
Keep reading to learn more about Bumble CEO Whitney Wolfe Herd.
Whitney Wolfe Herd, 31, is a Utah native.
Wolfe Herd was born and raised in Salt Lake City, Utah, The Times of London reported. Her father is a property developer and her mother is a homemaker, per The Times.
The CEO has been a feminist from an early age, telling The Times that she disliked how Utah’s dating culture was dominated by men — women were expected to wait for them to make the first move.
Wolfe Herd went on to attend Southern Methodist University in Texas, and was a member of Kappa Kappa Gamma, per Fast Company. She’s still close with many of her sorority sisters and even employs a few at Bumble.
Wolfe Herd also launched her first business at 19 while still in college, per Money Inc. After the Deepwater Horizon oil spill pumped crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico for five months in 2010, Wolfe Herd enlisted celebrity stylist Patrick Aufdenkamp to design tote bags that could be sold to help fund relief efforts. The resulting nonprofit, called the Help Us Get Cleaned Up Project, became nationally known after Nicole Richie and Rachel Zoe were spotted with Wolfe Herd’s bags.
After earning a degree in International Studies, Wolfe Herd did a brief stint in Southeast Asia.
Wolfe Herd spent her time in Asia volunteering at local orphanages, per Money Inc.
While Wolfe Herd is currently at the head of Bumble, it isn’t the first dating app she cofounded.
At 22, Wolfe Herd was hired to work at startup incubator Hatch Labs in Los Angeles, according to The Times of London. After hours, she starting collaborating with a group that was looking to build a dating app.
That app, which is now known as Tinder, quickly grew into a global phenomenon with Wolfe Herd’s help. She even came up with the name Tinder, per The Telegraph. She is credited as a cofounder and spent two years as the company’s vice president of marketing, per The Times.
Wolfe Herd didn’t leave Tinder on good terms.
During her tenure at Tinder, Wolfe Herd dated fellow cofounder and her then-boss Justin Mateen, per The Times of London. She left the company shortly after they split, and filed a lawsuit alleging that she had experienced sexual harassment and discrimination.
The legal dispute was settled privately outside of court, with neither party admitting to wrongdoing.
Following the legal battle, Wolfe Herd also faced online harassment.
“I was inundated with hatred online, lots of aggressive behavior, people calling me names, really painful things that I’d never experienced,” Wolfe Herd told The Times in 2018. “I felt like my entire self-worth, any confidence that I had, had been sucked away. There were dark times when I thought, ‘Well, this is it. I won’t have a career ever again. I’m 24, coming out of one of the world’s hottest tech companies, but the internet hates me.’ It was a horrible time. Then I woke up one morning and thought, ‘I’m going to rebuild myself.'”
Wolfe Herd launched Bumble in 2014, originally planning to build a female-focused social network instead of a dating app.
Wolfe Herd was persuaded to forgo her original plan for the app by former business partner and Russian billionaire Andrey Andreev, according to CNN Business.
The app’s women-led model was initially inspired by Sadie Hawkins school dances, where women ask men to be their date, Wolfe Herd told Business Insider in 2015.
“We’re definitely not trying to be sexist, that’s not the goal,” Wolfe Herd said. “I know guys get sick of making the first move all the time. Why does a girl feel like she should sit and wait around? Why is there this standard that, as a woman, you can get your dream job but you can’t talk to a guy first? Let’s make dating feel more modern.”
Wolfe Herd has since expanded the app with additional services to help women meet new friends and expand their professional networks, called Bumble BFF and Bumble Bizz respectively. Bumble has also invested in other apps, including gay dating app Chappy, TechCrunch reported.
Bumble now says it has 75 million users in 150 countries, making it second only to Tinder in popularity.
Wolfe Herd also reorganized and took the helm of Bumble’s former parent company, Magic Lab, after its owner was ousted amid accusations of racism and sexism.
After the allegations of racism and sexism against Andreev were published by Forbes in 2019, Wolfe Herd released a statement saying she had had “nothing but positive and respectful” experiences with Andreev but “would never challenge someone’s feelings or experiences.”
“All of us at Bumble are mortified by the allegations about Badoo (Bumble’s majority owner) from the years before Bumble was born, as chronicled in the Forbes story,” Wolfe Herd said in the statement. “I am saddened and sickened to hear that anyone, of any gender, would ever be made to feel marginalized or mistreated in any capacity at their workplace.”
Even before she took on her expanded role, Wolfe Herd was already a workaholic.
Wolfe Herd typically wakes up every morning at 5:15 a.m. and immediately starts responding to emails, she told The Times of London.
She has even been known to wake up every two hours during the night to check her inbox. “I’m trying to stop that,” Wolfe Herd told The Times in 2017. “I get no downtime. I don’t get a weekend, I haven’t lived like a twenty-something since I started Bumble in 2014.”
Wolfe Herd is also politically active, helping outlaw digital sexual harassment in Texas.
Sending unsolicited nude photos — a phenomenon that has plagued dating apps and even AirDrop — is punishable under a new law championed by Wolfe Herd, Inc. reported. She is now advocating for a similar law in California and hopes it will soon be federal law, too.
“It is time that our laws mirror this way we lead double lives, in the physical and the digital,” Wolfe Herd told Inc. shortly after the Texas law was passed in August 2019. “You look at government right now, it only protects the physical world. But our youth are spending a lot more time in the digital world than they are in the physical.”
A post shared by Whitney Wolfe Herd (@whitney) on Mar 26, 2019 at 4:22pm PDT
The CEO says she doesn’t have political aspirations of her own, however. “I could never run for [office],” Wolfe Herd told The Times of London, saying that she is frequently asked if she’s considered it. “There are people so much smarter than me.”
Wolfe Herd is also a mom.
Wolfe Herd married Texas oil heir Michael Herd in an elegant three-day ceremony on Italy’s Amalfi Coast in 2017, per Vogue.
The couple first met while skiing in Aspen in 2013, but Wolfe Herd first saw him on a dating app. “He has the kind of face you remember,” she told The Telegraph.
He is now the president of the oil and gas field operator founded by his late grandfather, Herd Producing Company, and also owns a high-end farm to table restaurant called the Grove Kitchen + Gardens.
A post shared by Whitney Wolfe Herd (@whitney) on Jul 16, 2020 at 10:29am PDT
The couple also has a Great Dane named Duke and a yellow lab named Jett, per The New York Times.
“[Duke] is a kind animal but does not understand how big he is,” Wolfe Herd told The Times in 2019, while describing her daily after work routine. “At 175 pounds, he could quite literally kill me. I have to lock myself in the car while I wait for my husband to come home and get him away from me.”
Wolfe Herd has been open about her struggles with anxiety.
“I haven’t gone through the testing, but I should,” Wolfe Herd told The Times of London. “It’s anxiety about everything. I worry about awful things happening to people I love. They say phones are a strong catalyst for making anxiety worse, so I have this interesting balance — how do I make sure I’m on top of everything, but also preserve my mental health?”
The Herd family splits time between their two Texas houses.
The Herds have one home along the Colorado River in Austin near Bumble’s headquarters and another further north in Tyler, near Michael Herd’s office, per The New York Times. They also own a vacation home in Aspen, Bumble’s chief brand officer Alex Williamson told Aspen Magazine.
The couple also owns Michael’s 6.5-acre family estate on Lake Austin, according to Mansion Global. The waterfront compound boasts a movie theater, helipad, putting green, 10 garages, multiple boat docks, and a guest house, as well as a 5,000 square foot cabana designed for entertaining. That property is currently listed for sale for $28.5 million.
They also travel a lot.
Wolfe Herd takes frequent trips for both work and pleasure. Wolfe Herd told Travel +Leisure in 2017 that her all-time favorite trips include a sailing expedition through Myanmar and Thailand and a family trip to India.
For their honeymoon, Wolfe Herd and her husband stayed at Four Seasons resorts in both Bora Bora and Maui after leaving the site of their destination wedding in Italy, according to a blog post by the Indagare, the group that planned the trip.
Wolfe Herd told Indagare that she wanted a beach-heavy honeymoon because she and Herd were “looking for the ideal place to unwind, where we could take in the sun and swim. Our favorite moments were just relaxing and appreciating each other in such beautiful locations.”
In July 2019, she celebrated her 30th birthday with a multi-day party on a yacht off the coast of Capri, Italy, per Guest of a Guest.
Bumble’s public filing with the SEC revealed the company generated $488.9 million in revenue in 2019, representing 35.8% year-over-year growth. The firm generated $376.6 million in revenue between January 29, 2020, and September 30, 2020. Bumble has 42 million monthly average users and 2.4 million paying users, per the filing.
“I feel like what I’m doing is quite important,” Wolfe Herd told The Times of London in 2018. “A lot of people are, like, ‘What do you mean it’s important? It’s a dating app.’ But it’s important because connections are at the root everything we do. Human connection defines our happiness and our health. This company feels like a piece of me. I know this sounds cheesy and weird, but I really feel like it’s my mission.”