7 ‘biohacks’ founders and execs have used to try to boost their energy at work, from wearing electrodes while they sleep to drinking bone-broth breakfasts

Brain
Transcranial Electrical Stimulation therapy uses electrodes to try to induce deep sleep

  • Some CEOs and founders use “biohacks” to boost workplace productivity and their overall health.
  • These range from enzyme injections to $300 sleep rings.
  • Many biohacks are based on limited scientific evidence.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Iterable CEO Justin Zhu was recently fired for “micro-dosing” LSD, a psychedelic drug, to improve his focus, he told Bloomberg last week. Micro-dosing, or taking small amounts of psychedelic substances, has gained popularity in recent years among entrepreneurs as a way to boost their creativity.

Plenty of other CEOs and founders who want to improve productivity and prevent burn out turn to so-called “biohacks,” a broad term that encompasses everything from enzyme injections to fasting days.

Here are seven biohacks executives have used, along with the science – or lack of it – that backs them up.

Injecting NAD+ coenzymes to boost energy

NAD+ injections
Hydros CEO Winston Ibrahim swears by NAD+ coenzyme injections

Winston Ibrahim, CEO of water filtration start-up Hydros, told Insider he has a “regenerative medicine specialist” inject him with NAD+ (nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide) to boost his energy and prevent burnout. NAD+ is involved in all fundamental biological processes, including DNA repair and energy conversion in our cells.

Some overworked professionals swear by NAD+ “brain reboot” injections, citing higher levels of energy, focus and a faster metabolism.

Ibrahim said the injections mimic the effect of prescription stimulants, but without the side effects of taking them in pill form.

“You are literally giving your body and brain the optimum, most bio-available fuel to power peak energy and performance,” he told Insider.

Some private clinics offer a single NAD+ injection for $400.

Winston Ibrahim
Hydros CEO Winston Ibrahim says he uses NAD+ injections to boost his energy

What does the science say?

The molecule helps regulate our sleep cycle, and low levels are associated with a higher risk of Alzheimer’s and Type 2 diabetes, The Washington Post reported.

NAD+ naturally declines as we age, so it’s not clear if low levels are the cause of age-related health conditions.

Other claims for NAD+’s health benefits, including that it can slow aging, are less strong. Studies in mice have shown elevated levels of NAD+ lead to small increases in lifespan, but the results can’t easily be applied to humans. Simply raising the amount of NAD+ in human blood cells does not necessarily mean it can confer health benefits, or slow down the aging process.

Wearing electrodes at night to artificially generate deep sleep

Dave Asprey
Bulletproof founder Dave Asprey said he tried transcranial electrical stimulation to induce deep sleep

Thriving on minimal sleep is the holy grail for many high-powered executives. Dave Asprey, founder of Bulletproof, a food startup famous for its butter-infused coffee, says he has spent $1 million trying to live to 180-years-old, including $200,000 on biohacking his sleep.

For Asprey, quality of sleep is more important than quantity.

“Wouldn’t it be cool if getting healthy got you more hours every day?,” Asprey told Men’s Health. “That’s the mindset that I’ve had. Because we don’t all want to sleep.”

Asprey has tried transcranial electrical stimulation (TES), where electrodes attached behind the ears pulse small electrical currents through the brain. It’s supposed to induce “delta sleep,” the deepest phase of sleep. Delta brain waves are associated with restorative sleep vital for the body’s immune system.

What does the science say?

Evidence on the benefits of sleep is well established. Getting enough sleep lowers a person’s risk of heart disease and diabetes, and helps fight infection. But whether TES can generate deep sleep is debatable.

Some studies into TES show limited impact on brain activity during sleep, while others have shown the therapy can extend the amount of time someone is in deep sleep.

In a study this year, participants receiving electrical stimulation stayed in deep sleep slightly longer than a placebo group.

“We’re excited by these results, and we’re moving to try to develop practical sleep therapy,” Dr. Don Tucker, neuroscience professor at the University of Oregon and the study’s co-author, told The Academic Times. “And this paper shows that it should be feasible.”

Creating small, ‘positive’ moments of stress

Shower
Taking cold showers has been linked to some health benefits

When a person’s stress-response system is activated, their adrenal glands release adrenaline and cortisol, increasing heart rate, blood pressure, and blood sugar. Over prolonged periods, elevated levels of these hormones can increase a person’s risk of heart disease and digestive problems.

Some execs deliberately expose themselves to short bursts of stress to cope with their high-pressured jobs. Bayard Winthrop, CEO and founder of men’s clothing American Giant, has said he takes cold showers as way to introduce a small challenge into his mornings.

“There’s this undeniable endorphin rush, a good natural energy boost,” Winthrop told Inc. in 2018. “And I like the idea of starting the day by doing something challenging.”

What does the science say?

Neuroscientist Dr. Tara Swart, senior lecturer at MIT Sloan School of Management, argues that short intervals of stress can build resilience.

“Chronic stress is never good for you, even at low levels,” Swart said to Evening Standard. “But times of challenge like giving a talk or doing a sporting event, asking someone on a date, helping a friend go through a really tough time, for example, can elicit the acute stress response which is not fright/fight/flight but involves you rising to meet the challenge and fully recovering your resilience afterwards – things like this make us more resilient over time.”

Taking ice baths or cold showers have been associated with several health benefits, including improving circulation. Exposing parts of the body to a burst of cold water stimulates the supply of newly oxygenated blood to that area. Many athletes use ice baths for recovery.

However, Dr. Joon Yun, a physician and president of hedge fund Palo Alto Investors, and advocate of low-intensity stress to improve health, told CNBC that exposure to extreme temperatures is risky for some people.

Drinking bone broth, a slow-cooked form of stock, for breakfast

Bone broth
Flight Ventures partner, Nancy Fechnay, said she eats bone broth for breakfast.

Nancy Fechnay, partner at Flight Ventures, says she drinks homemade bone broth for breakfast, or nothing at all.

“My approach is a tailored version of intermittent fasting,” Fechnay told Forbes. “This is the rave in the Bay Area, backed by studies showing the benefits to the mind and body.”

Fechnay said bone broth – a protein-rich liquid made by boiling animal bones and connective tissue – helps the immune system, maintains healthy skin and hair, and elevates collagen levels to fight aging.

“Bone broth is the most nutrient rich liquid you can drink,” Fechnay said.

What does the science say?

There is a lot of evidence that bone broth, which is packed with vitamins and minerals, is healthy.

Animal bones contain calcium, magnesium, and other minerals important for bone health, while bone marrow provides vitamins A, K2 and immune-boosting mineral selenium.

However, it is easy to overstate bone broth’s benefits. For example, there is no evidence to suggest it gives you better skin or fights aging, Harvard Medical School found after a review in 2015.

Bone broth may have surged in popularity in recent years, but it is not new: It has been a staple of different cultures’ diets for centuries.

Bone broth is very similar to stock, except the bones are left to simmer for much longer.

Going for days without food to improve concentration

Jack Dorsey
Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey speaking at CES tech conference in 2019

Intermittent fasting (IF) involves going hours or even days with little to no food. In 2019, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey told fitness writer Ben Greenfield that he ate just one meal a day, and fasted for the whole weekend.

For weekday dinners, he usually ate a protein – fish, chicken or steak – with vegetables, and a pudding of mixed berries and dark chocolate, he told Greenfield on his podcast.

Dorsey said this routine improved his focus and helped him sleep better.

“It really has increased my appreciation for food and taste because I’m deprived of it for so long during the day,” Dorsey told Greenfield.

Other tech execs swear by it, too. Dan Zigmond, director of special projects at Apple, previously told Insider that he fasts for 15 hours a day, and Evernote co-founder Phil Libin doesn’t eat for between two to eight days in a row.

What does the science say?

Popular IF patterns include the 5:2 plan, which involves eating normally for five days and then dramatically cutting calorie intake for two, and the 16:8 regime, where people fast for 16 hours and only eat within an eight-hour window.

Several studies in both humans and animals have shown that IF can result in health benefits for those with obesity and diabetes. Still, more research is needed to determine whether IF is healthy, or even feasible, if people do it for a long time.

Some nutrition experts say Dorsey’s version of the diet is extreme and more closely resembles an eating disorder, and that any feelings of mental alertness associated with extreme IF are because the body is in survival mode.

“When people undercut their need for food with radical under-eating, the body doesn’t care about the reasoning. It is just going react to save your life,” Dr. Jennifer Gaudiani, a doctor who specializes in eating disorders, previously told Insider.

Gaudiani said that animals in starvation “should feel concerned and focused. They may interpret that initially as productive, but it’s the brain saying, ‘I don’t have enough food.'”

Wearing a $299 ring that tells you how to improve sleep

Prince Harry Oura   Scott Barbour:Getty Images
Prince Harry wearing a Oura ring with his wife Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, in 2018

The Oura ring tracks a person’s sleep, collecting data on heart rate and body temperature. It then tells you how to sleep better. The $299 ring also works during the day, monitoring activity levels. Prince Harry, who recently took a Silicon-Valley job, has even been spotted wearing the band.

Jack Dorsey helped finance the start-up and shared his Oura dashboard with his Twitter followers in 2018. Jay Livingston, CMO of Shake Shack, and Jeremy Liew, partner at Lightspeed Venture Partners, both previously told Insider they wear the ring.

“It’s been meaningfully improving my deep sleep and REM, and making me feel more rested each morning,” Liew told Insider.

What does the science say?

Some research has shown the Oura ring can detect when the body is in different phases of sleep. Other studies have suggested the device can give early warning signs for illness.

And one study by the Rockefeller Neuroscience Institute last year found the gadget to be accurate in early detection of COVID-19.

The NBA announced last June that all players in Orlando would be offered an Oura Ring to help them identify asymptomatic cases of the disease. Oura’s role in helping contain the pandemic helped it win Time’s coveted “Best Invention of 2020” title.

Sleeping with your curtains wide open

Whitney Wolfe Herd
Whitney Wolfe Herd speaking at an event in New York City in 2019

Whitney Wolfe Herd, CEO and founder of dating app Bumble, sleeps with her curtains open to let the morning sunlight wake her up, she said in an interview with Entrepreneur.

“I think that’s a healthy thing to do because even if you don’t like to wake up early, your body does adjust,” Herd said.

In February, Herd became the world’s youngest self-made female billionaire when she took her company public. Bumble raised $2.2 billion in its IPO.

What does the science say?

Exposure to natural light in the mornings is a good way to tell your body it’s time to get up.

Light-sensitive receptors in the eyes signal to the suprachiasmatic nucleus – the part of the brain regulating the sleep-wake cycle – to wake the body up. Melatonin, the hormone responsible for sleep, also decreases with sunlight exposure.

“Opening your eyes to a burst of bright sunlight can pull you out of your sleep grogginess before your alarm alerts you it’s time to start your day,” Dr Kasey Nichols, an expert in sleep disorders, told Bustle.

Many people choose to sleep with a sunrise alarm clock that mimics natural light.

Read the original article on Business Insider

How Tinder and Hinge owner Match Group grew to have the country’s biggest monopoly on online dating – but let Bumble get away

match group explainer dating apps 2x1
  • Match Group owns Tinder, OkCupid, and every other big online dating site in the US — except Bumble. 
  • Bumble’s CEO, an ex-Tinder executive, sued Match Group’s parent company for discrimination in 2014.
  • Here’s how Match Group went from a failing dating site for Boomers to the country’s largest online dating conglomerate. 
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

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.

Read more: The HR chief of a $10 billion holding company with brands like Vimeo and Care.com shares 3 crucial pieces of advice for recruiting new talent during the pandemic

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.

gary kremen match.com founder
Match.com founder Gary Kremen walked away from Match.com with just $50,000.

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
Jim Safka.

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.

Expedia chairman Barry Diller.
Expedia chairman Barry Diller.

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.

okcupid

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.

tinder headquarters
Tinder Headquarters on the Sunset Strip on August 28, 2020 in West Hollywood, California.

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’s acquisition of Tinder fueled its online dating dominance. In 2017, The Wall Street Journal reported Tinder saw a 90% spike in average subscribers year-over-year. A year later, the company doubled its revenue to $805 million.

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.

Sean Rad
Tinder cofounder Sean Rad.

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. 

IAC later purchased another chunk of Tinder for a reported $50 million from early Facebook employee and venture capitalist Chamath Palihapitiya.

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.

Bumble CEO Whitney Wolfe

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 IPO
Greg Blatt, left, chairman of Match Group, and Sam Yagan, CEO of Match Group and cofounder and CEO of OkCupid, celebrate Match Group’s initial public offering at the NASDAQ stock exchange on November 20, 2015.

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.

Rosette Pambakian
Rosette Pambakian, Tinder’s former vice president of marketing and communications.

The group, which included Badeen and Mateen, filed suit against both IAC and Match Group alleging that a lowball valuation was used to reduce the value of early employees’ and founders’ stock options. 

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. 

Read more: Tinder and Match Group were a poor match from the beginning, according to the $2 billion lawsuit filed by the dating app’s founders

Starting in 2017, Match Group set its sights on another dating upstart: Hinge, an app focused on finding long-term connections.

In this undated photo provided by Hinge is a page from the dating app. Justin McLeod, who launched Hinge in 2011, thinks that dating apps should be focused on getting people offline. Hinge's tag line is "the app that's designed to be deleted." (Hinge via AP)
Hinge’s tagline is “the app that’s designed to be deleted.”

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. 

Read more: The CEO of Hinge reveals the 3 biggest changes to online dating that could be here to stay after the pandemic

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.

Barry Diller
IAC Chairman Barry Diller.

“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.

Mandy Ginsberg

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.

Bumble

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.

Whitney Wolfe Herd, Founder and CEO of Bumble

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.

whitney wolfe herd 2018
Whitney Wolfe Herd in 2018.

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.

A few weeks later, Bumble filed a $400 million lawsuit of its own, accusing Tinder of copying its core feature that required women to make the first move, which Match Group CEO Mandy Ginsberg had previously said Tinder was planning to introduce.  

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.

Andrey Andreev whitney wolfe herd
Andreev and Wolfe Herd.

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.

In January 2021, Bumble filed to go public, revealing that it now has 42 million monthly users. Bloomberg reported that the company could seek a valuation of $6 billion to $8 billion

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.

Woman texting mask

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. 

Read the original article on Business Insider

Meet Whitney Wolfe Herd, the 31-year-old CEO of the female-led dating app Bumble that just publicly filed for an IPO

Whitney Wolfe Bumble
Bumble CEO Whitney Wolfe Herd.

  • Once a victim of online harassment, Whitney Wolfe Herd is working to make the internet a kinder place for women with female-led dating app Bumble.
  • Before Bumble, Wolfe Herd cofounded rival dating app Tinder, but left the company two years later and filed a sexual harassment and discrimination lawsuit that was later settled.
  • Bumble publicly filed a form S-1 for an IPO with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Friday for an offering size of up to $100 million.
  • Wolfe Herd has an estimated net worth of $575 million, is married to a Texas oil heir, and splits her time between two homes in Texas.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Whitney Wolfe Herd is used to making bold moves. 

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.

Whitney Wolfe Bumble
Whitney Wolfe Herd.

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.

whitney wolfe bumble
Whitney Wolfe Herd.

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.

tinder headquarters
Tinder Headquarters on the Sunset Strip on August 28, 2020 in West Hollywood, California.

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.

justin mateen sean rad tinder
Wolfe Herd’s fellow Tinder cofounders, Justin Mateen and Sean Rad.

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.

Whitney Wolfe Bumble
Whitney Wolfe Herd.

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.

Andrey Andreev whitney wolfe herd
Andrey Andreev and Whitney Wolfe Herd.

In addition to being Wolfe Herd’s close friend and business partner who she said she was “incredibly in sync” with and called “two to five times a day,” Andreev owned a 79% stake in Bumble, according to Fast Company.

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.

Whitney Wolfe Herd
Whitney Wolfe Herd.

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.

whitney wolfe
Whitney Wolfe Herd.

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.”

 

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.

Whitney Wolfe Herd and husband Michael Herd
Whitney Wolfe Herd and husband Michael Herd in 2018.

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 Sep 8, 2017 at 12:09pm PDT

 

The pair have a nine-month-old son named Bobby after Michael’s late grandfather, and he makes frequent appearances on Wolfe Herd’s Instagram account.

Happiness 🌼

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.

whitney wolfe herd 2018
Whitney Wolfe Herd in 2018.

“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.

Austin Texas Capitol Congress Ave Skyline
Austin, Texas.

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.

Whitney Wolfe Herd
Bumble CEO Whitney Wolfe Herd.

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.

This is 30 🤰🍝🎈

A post shared by Whitney Wolfe Herd (@whitney) on Jul 5, 2019 at 3:07am PDT

 

Wolfe Herd has an estimated net worth of $575 million, but she may soon be much richer.

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Bumble CEO Whitney Wolfe Herd is seen outside Good Morning America on January 31, 2019 in New York City.

Wolfe Herd’s multimillion-dollar fortune landed her at No. 39 on Forbes’ list of the wealthiest self-made women in America in 2020. If Bumble’s IPO performs well, her fortune could grow exponentially thanks to her 19% stake in the company.

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.

The company could appear on public markets as soon as 2021, Insider previously reported.

“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.”

Read the original article on Business Insider